Fraochy Bay is a Scottish Gaelic Cartoon created by Neillydubh Animation Limited and produced by Moja TV for BBC Alba and funded by MG Alba. The series is set in the fictional town of Fraochy Bay, notionally located somewhere off the west coast of Scotland, with no central theme other than an exploration of the slightly odd characters and surreal events that take place in and around the town.
The show was conceived by Neil Stewart (Neillydubh) with the Stornoway based television production company Moja, in October 2008. A pilot programme was developed and submitted to BBC Alba during their November 2008 round of submissions. The first series of 20 cartoons was commissioned by them in late November 2008. The show first aired on 21st December 2009.
As of May 2012, three series have been created with two series aired. A fourth series has been commissioned, production of series 4 begins in June 2012.
Scripting, animation and final production all take place in the Highlands of Scotland. The scriptwriting is all done by Neil Stewart with David R. Maclennan assisting. Voices are recorded on the Island of Lewis with the same dozen or so voice artists providing voices for all the characters.
Main character creation and animation is done by Neil Stewart, with backgrounds, background characters and animation assistance by Richard Stewart, both working as he puts it 'at 110 miles per hour' to create the cartoons over a 26 week period for a series of 10.
Final rendering of the cartoons and editing is by Moja and takes place in Stornoway using their full online Avid edit suite mastering onto Digibeta. Sound dubbing is done at the Obh Obh studio in Stornoway. Subtitles for series 1 and 2 were added at Studio Alba, with series 3 subtitles being added at MacTV in Stornoway.
The cartoon is almost entirely in Scottish Gaelic but like almost all BBC Alba programmes is subtitled making it available to a wider audience. Viewing figures are not known but it regularly appears in the list of BBC Alba top 5 most popular programmes on their BBC iPlayer channel. The show has a Facebook Page, started on January 3rd 2010 shortly after the show first aired, with a significant proportion of fans in England and also some abroad, most being non-Gaelic speakers, which indicates a fairly wide appeal outside the Gaelic speaking world.
Humour and Storytelling
There is no set pattern for the content or direction of the stories which range from very small and compact (a plumber getting his head stuck down the toilet) to huge epics (the town gets attacked by a giant blob). The show has created a format that is random but appears structured and where outcomes, however unlikely they may turn out to be, seem to be logical given the progression of the storyline.
Additional humour is drawn from background characters and things going on behind the main action. A particular favourite of the animators is the use of posters or images in the background which are not necessarily related to the story. These have taken the form of random nonsense, cultural references, latin translation, images of friends and family amongst others.
There is no attempt made to be controversial in the stories, offensive or risqué humour is avoided completely and no bad language has been used in any of the episodes. Generally if something can go wrong it will go wrong and if a thing can be done badly it will be done badly. The majority of stories revolve around some such occurence and the subsequent efforts of the characters to either resolve whatever problem has arisen or to remove themselves from the direct consequences.
Each episode ends in a punchline that always takes the form of a very bad pun. This pun is built up during the progress of the cartoon but it may sometimes be linked to a single event within the animation or at the very end.
In the region of 130 individual characters have been introduced to the storyline, all with speaking parts, this does not include the characters that make up crowds or bystanders. Over the course of the series, several individuals have started to appear regularly as their characters present additional storyline opportunities.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 http://www.fraochybay.com
- ↑ http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/tv/bbc_alba
- ↑ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fraochy-Bay/231444109483
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