Everyone’s favourite documentation, David Attenborough, hit our screens last week with his new show, Dynasties, which detailed the heartbreaking story of David the chimp.

This week, it was the turn of the penguin, as the most recent episode focused on a colony of emperor penguins braving the cruel Antarctic winter.

Now, as all Attenborough fans will know, David is strongly against interfering in the lives of the animals being filmed, as he prefers to see them left in their natural habitat without interaction from people.

Unfortunately, though, when the crew saw a group of penguins – including their babies – become trapped, the crew was forced to step in so the animals could survive.

After observing the penguins struggle for a while, the crew – including director Will Lawson, camera operator Lindsay McCrae and assistant Stefan Christmann – decided to take drastic action and dig a shallow ramp to help save some of the penguins.

Lawson said:

 “We opted to intervene passively.

“Once we’d dug that little ramp, which took very little time, we left it to the birds. We were elated when they decided to use it.

“There’s no rule book in those situations. You can only respond to the facts that are right there in front of you.

“As you can imagine, we only show a fraction of the real trauma and difficulty that the animals go through – it was a very hard thing to see.”

He added: “What was unique with this was that the only other animal there was us – nothing else would directly benefit from this.

“I’m sure some people will have an opinion in the other direction but in my heart of hearts I think we made the right decision.”

Fans of the show were thankful to the crew for stepping in:

Speaking on interfering during filming, producer Mike Gunton said: 

We have a rule that interfering is a very dangerous thing to do. But these penguins were going to die through a freak act of nature if nothing happened.

“How would this conversation be going if you said you saw them there and did nothing? I think you have to do it.”

Good work all round, we say.

Images via BBC/Twitter