Unseen Ocean Vet episode to be aired online
An unseen episode of a Bermudian-based marine wildlife programme with the late veterinarian Neil Burnie's narration will be broadcast next week.
The Ocean Vet Turtles episode, starring Dr Burnie and conservationist Choy Aming, was filmed before Dr Burnie's tragic death in a swimming accident in November 2014.
Andy Smith and Dan Radford of British-based gassProductions, the company behind the series, said the original version of the episode was shelved after Dr Burnie's death.
Mr Smith, the series producer, said: “We held the episode back because, for many, releasing it too soon would have been too emotional.
“It's a very powerful experience to hear him like this again. I think it needed time to pass.
“It really does make a huge difference to the episode and, when you're watching, it feels special because you know it's how he wanted it.”
Mr Smith added: “While the global pandemic of Covid-19 takes hold, and as Bermuda heads into 14 days of lockdown, Dan and I thought it was the perfect time for Neil to say hello again and comfort us with the wonder of Bermuda's natural world. Now is the perfect time to release this special episode as it will hopefully bring everyone a little joy during these dark and difficult days.”
The Ocean Vet series followed Dr Burnie, a well-known veterinarian and fisherman, as he highlighted Bermuda's marine life.
Several episodes of the documentary series were filmed, but the project took a tragic turn when Dr Burnie died after he ran into difficulties diving at Horseshoe Bay.
Mr Radford, the co-director of the series, said it was planned that Dr Burnie would narrate the series, but he only recorded the voiceover for one episode before his death.
Hollywood superstar Michael Douglas, whose mother was Bermudian, stepped in to provide narration for the rest of the episodes and Alister McGowan, a British TV impressionist, was hired to imitate Dr Burnie's voice for underwater segments where he spoke to camera.
Mr Radford said: “One of the biggest challenges we faced was reworking each episode so they were suitable for a narrator to deliver a third-person point of view.
“The series was filmed to carry Neil's first-person narration. Everyone that knew Neil would know that his energy and passion meant his narration was set to take the series to new heights.
“Neil had a certain way of delivering, and it made all the difference. After all, it was his story.”
The unreleased episode features Dr Burnie and Mr Aming working alongside the Bermuda Turtle Project.