One of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by BBC Studios Natural History Unit, Kingdom is a dramatic 6x60’ series for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, filmed in one spectacular location over four years.
It chronicles the real-life sagas of four African animal families, all vying for dominance in a remote and fertile river valley in Zambia, one of the most stunning landscapes on Earth.
With more time in the field than any previous NHU production, never has a BBC landmark followed a group of characters so intensely over such a long period or spent so much time embedded in a single habitat.
The audience will witness for the first time how the lives and fates of our four groups - leopards, hyenas, wild dogs and lions - are inextricably linked as they battle for supremacy over the valley, and wrestle for power within their own family units.
These gripping real-life storylines, spread across five hours of television, will be more dramatic than any work of fiction. As well as the intense power struggles between these top predators we’ll see how a colourful supporting cast - from huge elephant herds to the dung beetles beneath them - impact our central characters in surprising and diverse ways.
Working in close partnership with scientists, whose research stretches back over 20 years, we can reveal our characters’ true life stories with scrupulous accuracy.
Records of ancient rivalries, internal battles for hierarchy and status, and epic shifts in seasons will allow our filming to uncover secrets of these animals’ lives that have never been seen before.
These discoveries – and how they may lead to further protecting these vulnerable species – will be showcased in a sixth episode, dedicated to science and conservation. What does the future hold for our cast of creatures, and for the conservation of wildlife across the African continent?
The NHU will also be working closely with locally-based talent, both employing already established local crew and developing the next generation of Zambian wildlife filmmakers to chronicle this truly cinematic saga.
Kingdom, a 6x60’ series for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, is made by BBC Studios Natural History Unit, co-produced by BBC America.