1 9 9 4 – 1 9 9 7 (Australia)
78 x 25 minute episodes
This Australian children’s TV series told the story of Neri (Marzena Godecki), a young girl discovered swimming on the Great Barrier reef with a humpback whale.
Many years ago she and her father (who has since died) came to Earth by space ship from their home world, the Planet of the Oceans, to save the Earth’s oceans – a responsibility that has since fallen on her shoulders. Neri can breathe under water and communicate with whales (she has befriended one she calls Charley)
Neri lives alone on an otherwise deserted island, although she befriends two Australian brothers, Jason (David Hoflin) and Brett (Jeffrey Walker) who live in an elaborate underwater research and environmental protection facility called ORCA (the Oceanic Research Centre of Australia).
Their single mother, Dr Dianne Bates (Liz Burch) has been assigned to ORCA to study whale song in the hopes of facilitating cross-species communication. .
Neri seeks Diane’s help in protecting the oceans and Dianne requires Neri’s help in furthering her knowledge of the sea and whales while battling with an unethical rival research organisation called UBRI, headed by the corrupt Dr Hellegren (Nicholas Bell).
Dr Winston Seth (Alex Pinder) is Dianne’s research partner and Vanessa (Jacalyn Prince), Zoe (Cassandra Magrath) and Froggy (Joel de Carteret) are interns at the centre.
The series later introduced Neri’s sister, Mera (Lauren Hewett)
Ocean Girl was filmed in and around Port Douglas, including the Daintree rainforest. The underwater sets (the habitat for the whale) were done in Melbourne. A 700-kilogram fibreglass and aluminium prop was used for close-ups of Charley, Neri’s humpback whale friend. The series was shot on 16mm but post-produced on C Pal 1-inch videotape.
An animated version was produced in 2000 with an entirely different concept. Now Neri was a princess (daughter of King Nemon) and lived on a planet of water called Oceana. A series of crystal keys maintained the planet’s balance and they were guarded by the sacred whales. Galiel, an evil space wizard, was seeking the crystals to gain absolute power. Australian actress Sigrid Thornton narrated.
Dr Dianne Bates
Dr Winston Seth
Jake ‘Froggy’ Reilly
Joel de Carteret