Animal lovers were left open-mouthed as a giraffe dealt out a savage kicking to a desert lion on this week's dramatic episode of Planet Earth II.

UK fans of Sir David Attenborough's BBC series have been eagerly tuning in every Sunday for their latest dose of natural wonder and animal action and tonight, they were not left disappointed.

The series' fourth episode focused on the deserts of Africa, the American west and South America, and viewers were made to wait less than five minutes before they were taken on a brutal hunt.

However, an unexpected hero was to emerge from the battle for life and death.

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A pride were seen stalking across a dry driver bed in the NamibRand desert in Namibia, with a lone grazing giraffe in their sights.

The lionesses had spent three days on a hunt that had taken them across 300miles of barren desert and were desperate for a kill.

The demise of the giraffe looked inevitable, but much to the shock of viewers - an unexpected twist was to be thrown into the mix.

Suspense grew as the lionesses sprang into action and sprinted across the river bed, closing in on the giraffe.

As it was chased towards open ground it ran into the leader of the pride, who had been waiting patiently to strike.

The pride stalked a lone giraffe as it grazed on plants along a dry river bed. Photo / BBC
The pride stalked a lone giraffe as it grazed on plants along a dry river bed. Photo / BBC

The big cat leapt ferociously onto its prey and it looked like dinner was about to be served. But surprisingly, this was not to be the case.

Instead of being dragged to the ground, the giraffe simply shrugged off its attacker and brutally stamped on the lion's body before galloping away.

Delighted fans were driven into a frenzy by the sequence and took to Twitter to express their shock and joy that the giraffe had managed to escape.

David Marsh posted: "That giraffe was 'avin none of it #PlanetEarth2"

A poster by the name of Andrew, shared a picture of All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu, with the caption: "That giraffe running through the lion like..."

While a tweeter called Lo, posted: "That giraffe round housing a lion was something to live for."

As the pride chased the giraffe across the river bed it seemed inevitable that they would catch their prey. Photo / BBC
As the pride chased the giraffe across the river bed it seemed inevitable that they would catch their prey. Photo / BBC

Tweeter SajidKhan02 wrote: "The next time somebody calls me a giraffe for being tall I'm pulling out that chase."

Neil Holland tweeted: "The giraffe v lions chase was brutal #planetearth2."

Tweeter Maria could not get enough of the action and when the show focused on a plague of locusts in Peru, she told Sir David to return to the hunt.

She posted: "Can we please forget about the locusts and go back to the giraffe kicking the lion in the noggin thank you please. #PlanetEarth2"

Planet Earth has been a massive success since it returned to our screens earlier this month, with its debut episode garnering over 12 million viewers.

The show has delighted fans with its various dramatic sequences and alongside tonight's great escape, they have endured a lizard's nerve-shredding chase with a pack of snakes, a female snow leopard being raped on a mountainside and jaguar hunting a caiman in the jungle.