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Noah and Saskia (2004 - current)

Children's series
13 episodes x 30 minutes

Series synopsis:

Noah and Saskia is an innovative series mixing animation and visual effects with actors in a story about two teenagers from opposite sides of the world who find each other on the internet and change each other’s lives – without ever meeting in real life.

Australian Saskia (Hannah Greenwood) goes into an internet chat room seeking revenge on Max Hammer (Cameron Nugent) who stole her music to use on his website. But when they meet online, as their avatars, they quickly become good friends. Saskia’s online alter ego, Indy, is everything Saskia isn’t – cool, gorgeous and carefree. And Saskia thinks that if Max found out who she really is, the most fantastic friendship of her life would be all over in an instant. What Saskia doesn’t know is that Max is really a 14-year-old geeky Londoner named Noah (Jack Blumenau), who transforms each night into ‘Max Hammer’ the hero in Noah’s online comic. Noah knows that if Indy ever learned the truth about him, she would run screaming.

Through their avatars 'Max’ and 'Indy’, Noah and Saskia make a great team publishing Noah’s online comic strip. The animated Max and Indy interact with each other in a number of internet environments, but they also appear as ‘real’ people in the imagined projections of their characters. When Saskia imagines Max, she sees a muscular, good-looking, charismatic guy who accepts her for who she is, while Noah’s image of Indy (Maria Papas) is of a gorgeous, strong, charming and wise girl.

Gradually Noah and Saskia learn to trust each other and reveal more truthful details about themselves, such as where they live, and their real selves start to come through. This is the story of how by projecting their ideal selves in a virtual world, Noah and Saskia get a little closer to reaching their ideals in the real one.

Curator’s Notes:

This is a complex, quality coproduction between the ACTF and the BBC. The live action is set in Australia and the UK. Some of the action in each episode is also animated with the avatars 'Indy’ and 'Max’ in different online environments. It helps that each of the various live action and animated environments has a distinctive look, so that shifts in perspective throughout the story are clear to the audience.

This level of complexity led to the unusual series format with episodes alternating between the Australian Saskia and Noah in the UK. The English cast includes Noah, his family, school friends (and enemies), teachers, and his imagined version of Indy. The Australian cast includes Saskia, her family, friends, teachers, and her fantasised projection of Max.

A script writer was allocated to each of the two main characters, with Chris Anastassiades writing the Noah scripts and Sam Carroll writing most of the Saskia scripts. The Noah character was based on the young Australian actor, Noah Taylor, in the John Duigan film The Year My Voice Broke (1987). The actor Jack Blumenau certainly captures that look.

Dr Patricia Edgar, series producer and former director of the ACTF, initiated this program to produce a series that focused more on what kids think and what shapes their thinking, rather than what happens to them. Influenced by Dennis Potter’s unusual television series, The Singing Detective (1986), where the audience has to gradually piece the information together, Edgar took a creative challenge to try and create something like it for kids. It works well.

Production commenced in May 2003 in Melbourne for seven weeks and then the UK in August 2003 for six weeks. Collectively over 200 Australian and UK-based cast and crew worked on the series.

Titles in this series

Noah and Saskia – Tomorrow Never Knows 2004

Feisty Saskia (Hannah Greenwood) seeks revenge when a faceless geek somewhere in cyber world steals her music. This opening episode of a 13-part series shows the start of the online relationship between two teenagers – the uncool but quick-tongued Saskia ...