Friends and Heroes / Caarjyn as Fenee cartoon series.

The last few years have seen some fantastic developments on the Manx language front but one which deserves special praise is the launch this week of the Manx Gaelic version of Friends and Heroes / Caarjyn as Fenee cartoon series.

First show on the BBC in 2007 and already available in eleven languages the Manx Gaelic version is illustrative of what a vibrant and exciting time it is for the Manx Language. Friends and Heroes, or Caarjyn as Fenee, as they’d say in Manx Gaelic (Gaelg) is set in the first century AD and follows the adventures of two children, Macky and Portia. As they engage in countless escapades and fight for justice across the Roman world, they share the timeless stories of the Bible and learn lessons that help them through many trials and tribulations. Each episode uses a combination of traditional hand-drawn and stunning computer generated animation to bring the stories to life.
These fun Biblical stories are set in the first century AD and follow the adventures of two children, Macky and Portia, as they engage in countless escapades and fight for justice across the Roman world.
The project has been made possible by the generosity of Friends and heroes Production LTD, which produced the animated series, and which is part of the AFD group based in Ramsey. At a special presentation to mark the launch of the Manx translation, complete sets were given to the heads of two schools on the Isle of Man – Julie Matthews, Headteacher of Bunscoill and Anthony Robinson, Headteacher of Michael School. Over the coming days every Primary and Secondary school on the Island will receive a free complete Series 1 set of DVDs. The gift to schools is being made possible by Friends and Heroes Productions Ltd who produced the animated programmes, which is part of the AFD Group (including AFD Software Ltd,based in Ramsey on the Isle of Man.
“We are very excited to be getting a copy of Friends and Heroes in Manx,” said Julie Matthews, Headteacher at The Bunscoill. “It sends a message to the children that Manx is for us today, not just something from the past. To have such a high quality resource as this is brilliant!”
First shown on BBC TV in 2007, Friends and Heroes is already available in 11 language versions including: Arabic; Chinese (Mandarin); English; French; German; Hindi/Urdu; Italian; Korean; Portuguese (Brazilian); Russian and Spanish (South American) and has now been translated into Manx with the help of the Manx Heritage Foundation. The complete series with nearly 5½ hours of animated excitement is available in a  4-DVD set retailing at a subsidised price of just £20.

“This is ‘Yindyssagh erskyn towse’- (Fantastic above all measure) and is a real breakthrough for Manx Gaelic (Gaelg).” said Adrian Cain, Manx Language Officer for the Manx Heritage Foundation.“Each programme features a full Manx soundtrack as well as English and Manx sub-titles, making a fantastic teaching and learning resource and helping give Manx Gaelic a much higher profile both on the island and internationally.”
David Dorricott, MD of the production company said, “The AFD group has thrived since moving to Ramsey, Isle of Man in 1997 – and our staff have enjoyed the superb quality of life here. The Celtic roots of this Island Nation go back many centuries, and they are interwoven with the Celtic Christianity of the Irish and Scottish Celtic saints. When the opportunity arose to make a Manx translation of the Friends and Heroes Children’s animation series, which we first produced for the BBC, we were simply delighted. Not only will this provide the very first children’s animation series in the Manx Language; the entertaining adventures of Macky and Portia and their friends also bring the Bible stories, so important to Celtic culture, into 21st Century life.”

To see the first half episode of Friends and Heroes in Manx and to purchase a copy go to

The DVD box set consists of 13, 25 minutes episodes, in Manx – nearly 5½ hours of animated material in total – and comes with subtitle options in both Manx and English. The DVD is available to buy here
Alison Dorricott, Executive Producer, of Friends and Heroes came up with the idea of translating the series into Manx whilst attending a language course ran by Adrian Cain, the Manx Language Development Officer, for the Manx Heritage Foundation. Bob Carswell RBV was responsible for the translations whilst Paul Rogers recorded and edited the material.

The whole project was made possible due to fantastic support from the Manx Language community, who provided the voices for the characters, as well as the Manx Heritage Foundation, The Gaelic Broadcasting Committee andManx Radio.

The release of this Box set closely follows the release of The Gruffalo in Manx – The Gruffalo’s Child will be released later this year –  and the development of a fantasticLearnmanx app for Android and iphones. It’s definitely a great and exciting time to be involved with the Manx language.