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Ten Facts About Disney's the Little Mermaid*

*Seven confirmed by the woman who provided her voice.

But first, the plot...

It's not easy being 16, especially when you're half-girl, half-fish. Yet despite her mutant appearance, flame-haired mermaid princess Ariel realises that a sub-aquatic life is also rather sub-standard.

The upwardly mobile protagonist, along with best fish friend Flounder, ignores her father King Triton's warnings that contact between fish folk and humans is forbidden.

Try telling that to any girl, especially when she sets eyes on dashing Prince Eric.

Following a storm, he shows up, splashing around; she saved his life, he nearly drowned... (er, isn't this a John Travolta movie?).

Ariel, like a wannabe X Factor star warbling in Simon Cowell's ear, dazzles said nobleman with boot camp-worthy voice, and when dazed Eric recovers, he's desperate to find the owner of those melodious tonsils.

Cue Cinderella-style quest; foot-tapping show tunes; a deal with Ursula the sea witch (see below) and countless kids (and Broadway fans) wide-eyed with wonder.

So, exactly how Hans Christian Andersen envisioned it in 1837... only with jazz hand/fins; show tunes; a doe-eyed heroine, and comical sidekicks.

Oh, and the added bonus of Under the Sea, a feel good tune which has become a staple of many a Disney ride/cruise/game/gadget since the film premiered in 1989.

Ursula at Disneyland Paris. Photo: Rachel Crow

Enough preamble. Here's the facts.

1: The eponymous demi-fish was voiced by Jodi Benson.

2: Jodi landed the job after working on the Broadway musical Smile with Howard Ashman and Marvin Hamlisch.

3: It was her first voice over job. She created a reel-to-reel audition, and 18 months later got the call that her tape had been selected.

4: Unlike many animated films where the dialogue is recorded in isolation by individual actors, TLM was approached more like a Broadway musical.

The cast spent the first day together reading through the script, then recorded together for a day.

5: Jodi recorded her dialogue in 14 days... over two-and-a-half years.

6: Ms Benson was also the voice of Barbie in the Toy Story films.

7: She spent her first day on Toy Story 2 playing with a box of Barbies with director John Lasseter.

8: Now in her fifties, Jodi lives in Atlanta and is a home school mum to her two children, aged 12 and 14. They travel on weekends for concerts and appearances.

9: She has never been to Disneyland Paris.

10: According to Box Office Mojo, it grossed $111,543,479 (£71,980,000) in the US and $99,800,000 (£64,393,000) in the rest of the world.

Thanks to Jodi Benson for assistance with this article.

The Little Mermaid is out on Blu-Ray from September 2.

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