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Monkey Magic is back: Cult TV show gets remade for the ABC and Netflix

Children of the 1970s and 1980s rejoice: a cult favourite is getting a revamp.

Monkey Magic is heading back to the screen and will air as 10 half-hour episodes on ABC, TVNZ and on Netflix next year. 

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The kitsch Japanese show with the captivating production values and martial arts feats centred around the character of Monkey, the crack fighter born from an egg on a mountain top, and a group of fallen gods. 

Named Saiyuki but given the English title of Monkey, it's more commonly known as Monkey Magic thanks to its memorable theme tune. 

The new outing, The Legend of Monkey, is being pitched as a "big budget fantasy drama" 

Filming is now under way in Auckland with a cast that includes Chai Hansen (Mako Mermaids, The 100) as Monkey, Luciane Buchanan (Filthy Rich, Blue Rose), Josh Thomson (Terry Teo, 7 Days, The Project) and Emilie Cocquerel (Lion, An Accidental Soldier).

"The mythical tale of the Monkey King is a story that continues to captivate global audiences," said Michael Carrington, head of Children's at ABC Television. "Our production partner See-Saw Films is bringing The Legend of Monkey to life through incredible locations and sets, an acclaimed production team and an exciting diverse young cast. We can't wait for fans to see this new series that features the heroes they love and we are just as excited to introduce this reimagined magical and exciting world to a whole new generation of viewers."

See-Saw Films is the Oscar-winning home of high quality fare including The King's Speech, Lion and Jane Campion's Top of the Lake series.

The new series is being written by Jacquelin Perske (Seven Types of Ambiguity) and directed by Gerard Johnstone (Housebound, The Jaquie Brown Diaries).