BEFORE watching any documentary on creatures great and small the squeamish animal lover has to steel themselves. Take Dynasties (BBC1, Sunday, 8.30pm), the latest awesome offering from Sir David Attenborough.

A sensitive sort looks forward to an hour of magnificently filmed footage of animals in their natural environment, accompanied by elegant commentary from Sir D. But the same bunny hugger also knows that there is a high chance of some poor creature, usually a wildebeest, buying the farm at some point.

This series, said Attenborough, would explore the family, “one of the most powerful forces in nature”, so there was a fighting chance it would feature less bloodshed than usual. But who were we kidding? All the best fights are in families.

The first of five clans to fall under the Attenborough gaze was a group of chimpanzees in Senegal. At its head was an alpha male “known as David”. Why he was known as David was not divulged. An homage to Attenborough? Some resemblance to Michelangelo’s sculpture? We were left none the wiser.

Life was good for David (one would never call him Dave). He had his pick of the food and females, but he had been leader now for three years, and young bucks were after his job. David did not get where he was today without being smart, however. Knowing his physical power was not what it used to be, he recruited a wartime consigliere, an older but still imposing chimp, to watch his back.

This kept the peace for a while but it was not to last long. Matters duly “kicked off” as they say in EastEnders. We did not see the worst attack, but whether that was because it happened during the night, or the footage was too graphic to show, was not clear. The results were certainly plain to see as we saw David lying badly mauled, bleeding, and unconscious.

The story continued, with the viewer, as ever, asked to accept the narrator’s interpretation of events and motives. Every now and then one did wonder how they could possibly be so certain. I mean, it is Attenborough and all that, but still. The makers of wildlife documentaries seem to be catching on to viewers’ scepticism, which is why this film, and an increasing number of others, included a section about the making of the documentary. The last ten minutes looked at the crew who had spent two years filming the chimpanzees, and the scientists on whose two decades’ worth of work they had drawn. It’s a smart move, the kind of thing one would expect from a David (Attenborough and ape).

Dynasties boasted one of the cutest sights known to woman, and man, in baby chimps. Not to be outdone, Running Wild with Bear Grylls (STV, Monday, 9pm) had Roger Federer as the explorer’s guest. The tennis player set off with Bear on a seven mile hike through the Swiss Alps. As ever with such shows, the danger was talked up, rather unconvincingly, to the max.

The greatest risk was to the viewer, who had to listen to Bear’s cliches about life being a journey, etc, and resist the temptation to nut the television. Federer came across as a nice sort, but then he always does, and it turned out the two men had lots in common, like a belief in urinating on fires as the best way to extinguish them. One wondered how Andy Murray would have got on in the same wilderness challenge. Or Andy verus Roger. Bear might have hit on a franchise for ageing tennis players here.

Curiously enough, Inside the Foreign Office (BBC2, Thursday, 9pm) had a wildlife aspect to it. We did not find out, alas, that Siberian tigers roamed the corridors in King Charles Street or, like Hogwarts, owls were used to distribute memos instead of emails. There was, however, the sight of a lesser spotted Boris, he being Foreign Secretary when Michael Waldman began filming. Enthralling as it was, the documentary rather fell victim to events. If one wanted exciting political viewing this week the place to be was the news bulletins.

I have loved all four series of the comedy People Just Do Nothing (BBC2, Monday, 10pm), though on paper the story of a group of hopeless losers running a pirate radio station in West London should not really be my cup of Darjeeling. But funny is funny, and the strength of this comedy, as ever, lies in its characters.

This is to be the gang’s final outing, and going by this first episode, I fear another Still Game-style stagger to the finish line is in the offing.

I will keep the faith and carry on watching, though. Unless a herd of wildebeest, pursued by lions, invades Hammersmith, then all bets are off.