Hey, hey, it's the monkeys

"So, we pretty much threw the scripts out the window and sat back and watched the monkeys.

"Fortunately, their natural behaviour was far more exciting than anything we scripted."

The images were then brought back to Dowling St, where visual effects artists integrated a series of backdrops with the wildlife footage.

Dunedin-based executive producer Lawrence Cumbo says it was an "intriguing" project.

"It's simply without precedent.

"Of all the projects I've worked on, Dark Days is one of the most intriguing," he said.

"Initially, it was daunting trying to imagine how our team would be able to capture animal behaviour, combine it with 3D CGI [computer-generated imagery] and great story-telling and then bring all those elements together to produce a compelling story to captivate audiences.

"One of the biggest challenges was the continuing nature of the story that unfolded.

Across all 13 episodes, Dark Days follows the lowliest female character, Portia, as she rises to dominance within the troop," he said.

"It's a style of programming that had never been produced before.

"We were pioneering a new form of storytelling, in many ways, but one thing's for sure: audiences are going to be seeing a lot more of this style of television series in the future."

The series also examines the behaviour of the animals and translates their motivations with macaque expert Dr Wolfgang Dittus, director of the Smithsonian Primate Biology Programme in Sri Lanka.

Dark Days in Monkey City was created by Emmy Award-winning writer Ian McGee in collaboration with comic writers Joe Kelley and Joe Casey (Uncanny X-Men, Justice League of America and The Adventures of Superman).

The series is narrated by Welsh actor John Rhys-Davies (Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings).