The crew of Sir David Attenborough suffered two and a half years of jungle torture when he shot his new BBC show, which dealt with snakes, scorpions, bloodsucking flies and swarms of bees.
New Series Dynasties deals with the family life of Emperor Penguins, Lions, Wolves and Tigers in dwindling habitats – Episode 1, which focuses on male male chimpanzee David trying to defend his position from younger rivals.
But it was the scary creepy-crawlies that pushed the team to its limits in the steaming West African jungles of the Kedougou region in southeastern Senegal.
The crew woke up regularly at 3:30 am and walked 15 miles to find the troupe of endangered chimpanzees.
Each carried more than 80 kg kit and five liters of water per day to prevent dehydration and heat stroke.
Then they sat immobile for nine hours, filming in the 40 ° F heat – unless they were attacked by beetles and bees.
Producer and director Rosie Thomas said: "The number of things we faced every day was ridiculous – like bloodsucking mosquitoes and tsetse flies.
"They are bad – but the sweat bees were terrible.
"The little stingless bees swarm around you, trying to reach everything that's wet.
"They go into your mouth, into your nose, into your eyes, into your hair – these are the most irritating things. Then there are the stinging bees – honey bees. If the chimpanzees raided a bee nest, we would have to walk in the opposite direction as fast as possible, as the bees would track you for miles to sting you. It was terrible. "
The crew also had to avoid snakes and scorpions as they wandered through the jungle.
Rosie, 38, said: "It's incredibly hot, you have to carry incredibly long stretches with everything – it's tough.
"Both the cameraman and I all got sick with various diseases, although we do not know what they were.
"We are fine now, but we all ended up in the hospital after one or the other shooting."
Rosie insists, however, that film audits will pay off if viewers see the final results tomorrow evening.
She hopes dynasties will be aware of the difficulties of nature – and her diminishing habitats – just as much as Sir David's 92-year-old former Blue Planet II series.
The series last year has led to a campaign to clean the oceans out of plastic.
"If you realize that these animals get through, that's pretty extraordinary," Rosie said.
"In West Africa, mineral mining has increased in recent years and has not only put pressure on David's group, but also on chimpanzees across West Africa.
"We are trying to raise awareness that there is a competition for space and it will be increasingly difficult for them to adapt.
"Hopefully, people will study these issues and feel what these animals have been through."
- Dynasties start on Sunday evening at 8:30 pm on BBC One.