Friends and Heroes
|Friends and Heroes|
|Genre||Children's television series|
|Created by||Brian D. Brown
Eric J. Danenberg
|Starring||Austin Di lulio
|Theme music composer||Mark Topham|
|Ending theme||"Looking for a Hero"
by Lauren Waterworth
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||39|
|Executive producer(s)||Alison Dorricott
|Producer(s)||Gary Kurtz (series 1)
Naomi Jones (series 2 & 3)
|Location(s)||Ancient Alexandria, Jerusalem and Rome|
|Running time||25 minutes (per episode)|
|Original network||CBBC & TBN|
|Original release||March 12, 2007|
Friends and Heroes is a Christian children's program that airs on TBN, Smile of a Child TV, and was also shown on BBC TV. The show is both traditionally animated (for the adventure story) and computer animated (for the Bible stories). It takes place from 69 - 71 AD. There are three series each of 13 Episodes: Series 1 is set in Alexandria, Egypt; Series 2 in Jerusalem and Series 3 in Rome. The series was created by Brian D. Brown and Eric J. Danenberg, who also worked on The Storykeepers.
The show starts with a recap of last week's episode, relevant or not. Then the theme song plays. Act 1 begins with the name of the episode. There's usually about ten minutes of story and then a Bible story, followed by Act 2. There's more story and then another Bible story. Unless it is a two-part episode, the problem is resolved after the second Bible story. There are, however, three bible stories in one episode.
Series 1 - Alexandria, AD 69
The time is 69 AD. The place is Alexandria. There is a rebellion going in nearby Judea by the Jews and Christians. In response, the Governor, Tiberius, orders his men, led by Brutacus and Tobias, to crack down on the Jews and Christians.
In the first episode, we are introduced to the family of Samuel, Diana, their son Macky, and their rarely seen parrot, Pontius, who live in Delta Quarter on the port of Alexandria. They are rebels who hide other rebels in their house. Samuel's friend, a commander for the rebels in Judea, sends his daughters, Leah and Rebecca, to live with Samuel's family.
In episode two, Macky and Rebecca have an encounter with a girl named Portia while riding horses. after talking, they find out that she is the Governor's niece. She becomes fast friends with Samuel's family, but they never tell her that they are rebels.
In episode three, we are introduced to Miriam and Nathan, Samuel and Diana's friends, as well as fellow rebels. We are also introduced to their adopted African son, Sollie.
The entire first season is one journey after another of trying to protect rebels without the Governor or his cronies find out. In the third-to-last episode, however, Tobias finds out the truth and they are all forced to flee Alexandria.
Series 2 - Jerusalem, AD 70
Macky and Portia arrive in Jerusalem during the Roman siege. The people inside are starving, whilst the Romans grow desperate to break through the city walls.
Outside the city, Macky makes several key acquaintances. One is Isaac, who pretends to be senile most of the time, but he’s actually an active member of the rebel underground. His house, filled with hidden rooms and secret passages, is a safe house for the oppressed. Here Macky links up with the rebels (zealots) who live inside Jerusalem and soon becomes a courier between Jerusalem and the outside world.
Inside Jerusalem, Macky meets a girl, Sarah. Macky is drawn to Sarah’s idealism, and this puts a strain on his relationship with Portia. He also meets a Roman officer named Lucius, widowed father of two young children and secretly a Friend of Jesus – he was one of Paul’s guards, many years earlier in Rome.
Macky learns to trust Lucius and he becomes a valued secret ally as Macky faces his two old adversaries from Alexandria: Tobias and Brutacus. Towards the end of the siege, Macky takes greater and greater risks and is finally captured by the Romans.
Portia tries to intervene, but can’t get him released. Instead she ensures that Macky is sent to Rome, her next destination, and his only hope.
Series 3 - Rome, AD 71
Arriving in Rome, the centre of power, culture, civilization and also a snake pit of intrigue and treachery, Macky finds himself in gladiator school for Circus Maximus, where the only rule is kill or be killed. Macky wants to do neither, so Portia intervenes with a Senator, Antonius, who takes Macky as a slave.
Macky discovers that Antonius is a secret Friend of Jesus and that at night, he dons a mask and goes out and rescues fellow Friends of Jesus from jail or helps them escape from slave-masters. Soon Macky in a disguise of his own starts helping the Senator.
Antonius has an enemy in the Senate - Marcus, who blames all the Empire’s woes on the Friends of Jesus. Marcus would like to prove the notorious masked rebel is actually his enemy, Antonius. But Antonius is too clever for him. Marcus enlists the help of Tiberius, Brutacus, Tobias and Tobias’ mother Luciana, an expert manipulator and political in-fighter with friends in high places.
Marcus’s noose begins to tighten around Macky and Antonius and Macky’s and Portia’s relationship deepens and matures through the difficult choices they have to make. Portia will be forced to make the most difficult decision of all: wealth, power and comfort or love and faith?
|First aired||Last aired|
Series 1 (2007)
|Title||Original air date|
|Macky and his family risk the wrath of the Romans by taking two refugee girls into their home. Through their exploits and retelling of their people’s stories – Daniel and the lions’ den (Daniel: 6) and Jesus and the miraculous catch of fish (Luke: 5) – we learn the importance of being courageous and helping others.|
|2||2||"A Friend in High Places"||2007|
|Macky rescues an aristocratic Roman girl, Portia. With help from Portia, Macky and the gang foil a money-making scheme run by the evil Tobias and Brutacus. Through their experiences and retelling of the dramatic stories of Samson and Delilah (Judges: 16) and Peter's Dream and his friendship with Cornelius (Acts: 10), we discover how important it is to listen to God and love others.|
|A giant warship docks in Alexandria harbour and Macky learns from Portia that the ship’s mission is to attack the rebels resisting the Romans in Galilee. Macky inspires his friend, Sollie, to come up with a plan to sink the ship. Through their experiences and retelling of their people’s stories – the adventure of David and Goliath (1 Samuel: 16 and 17) and the story of how God releases Peter from prison (Acts: 12) – children will learn the importance of feeling God’s protection, not being afraid, and never giving up hope.|
|Macky and the family take a risk and give shelter to two men they think are fugitive rebels. Through their experiences and retelling of their people’s stories – Rahab and the spies (Joshua: 2) and Peter heals Aeneas and raises Tabitha (Acts: 9) – we learn the importance of caring for others and remaining hopeful.|
|After intelligence reports of rebels entering the city by sea, Tiberius orders the famous lighthouse extinguished. Through the exploits of Macky and the gang and retelling the stories of Gideon and the Midianites (Judges: 7) and Jesus’ Birth and the Revelation to the Shepherds (Luke: 2), we discover how important it is to make a difference and value everyone.|
|Macky and the gang plan to rescue some slaves forced to work in the Roman granaries. Through their experiences and retelling of their people’s stories - Moses and the Egyptian Slavemaster (Exodus: 2) and Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts: 9) – we learn the importance of taking a stand and choosing the right path.|
|7||7||"Lost in Alexandria"||2007|
|Little Leah goes missing in the back streets of the city and is tricked into enslavement in a sweatshop run by Toadie. With help from Portia, Macky works to foil the scheme, and the retelling of the stories of Ruth and Naomi (Ruth: 1 and 2), and the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke: 10) help us to discover how important it is to accept others and be a true friend.|
|8||8||"The One That Got Away"||2007|
|While Macky and the girls are minding the shop, a petty thief steals a silver fish with vital information to the rebel movement engraved on it. Can the gang get the fish back? Through their adventures and retelling of their people’s stories – Peter and John heal a lame man (Acts: 3, 4 and 5) and Shadrach and the Furnace (Daniel: 3) – we learn the importance of doing right and keeping true.|
|9||9||"Doing Our Part"||2007|
|It’s Purim time, and while Macky, Sollie and the kids act out the story of brave Queen Esther (Esther: 2-6), Diana too shows courage as she tries to lead destitute refugees through the dangerous streets, and recounts the tale of Joseph of Cyprus (Barnabas) (Acts: 4) to her Roman jailor. Through our friends’ exploits and the retelling of these stories, we understand how important it is to be brave, and to be generous.|
|Leah is out on Macky’s horse without permission and easily outrides a spoiled Roman boy, who then challenges her to a horse race so he can salvage his damaged pride. The stories of Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37, 41, 42-44 and 45) and Philip and Simon the Sorcerer (Acts: 8) help explain to Leah and the others how important it is to show forgiveness and have true values.|
|As Macky’s family and guests celebrate Passover, Portia brings her Roman tutor with her to dinner but Leah recalls Lydia from a previous encounter. As a result Lydia gets Toadie to intimidate the whole family but after retelling the stories of Moses and the Exodus (Exodus 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8-14) and The Last Supper (Matthew: 26) the family are inspired to overcome their fear and accept they must move on.|
|12||12||"No Way Out"||2007|
|Macky and his family have left Alexandria and sought safety out in the desert, but news from Sollie takes our heroes back to the city where they encounter an old adversary who has learnt some important lessons. The story of Jonah and the big fish (Jonah 1 & 2 and 3) and the parable of The Prodigal Son (Luke: 15) show our friends how important it is to be obedient, and to strive to make positive choices.|
|13||13||"No Turning Back"||2007|
|With Samuel imprisoned and Caleb injured, Macky, Portia and the gang devise a scheme to use storm rainwater to flood the palace jail, hoping to force the guards to open the jail doors. Portia is given worrying news by Tiberius, and Macky reaches one of the most important decisions of his life. Our friends retell the stories of Elijah and the Prophets of Baal (1 Kings 17 and 18) and The First Pentecost (Acts: 2), which help them understand the true value of steadfastness and of God’s inspiration.|
Series 2 (2008)
|Title||Original air date|
|14||1||"One of Us"||2008|
|Macky arrives in Jerusalem disguised as a member of Portia’s entourage, and soon comes across old adversaries and several new friends. Awed by the sight of the besieged city, he tells Portia the story of Jesus in the Temple as a boy (Luke: 2), and a mysterious Roman soldier tells Macky how King David captured Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5 and 1 Chronicles 11), reminding him that great obstacles may be overcome.|
|Macky is now a dependable courier between Jerusalem and the outside world. But he’s soon given a job by Sarah, the zealot girl, which might be too much, even for him. Our friends retell the stories of Jacob and Esau (Genesis: 25, 27, 32 and 33), and how Paul escapes in a basket (2 Corinthians: 11), which help them learn the true value of trust.|
|The Romans are bringing in a huge battering ram to use against the walled city of Jerusalem, The zealots in the city draw strength from the story of Elijah, Ahab and Naboth’s Vineyard (1 Kings: 21), and Macky receives help from Lucius who is inspired by the story of Paul and the Shipwreck (Acts: 27), to help those who may seem to be enemies.|
|It seems Macky may be getting a little full of himself. Isaac retells the story of Paul and Barnabas (Acts: 14) who objected to being treated as gods in Lystra but, later, when a stranger named Tamar urges him to attempt a risky mission, Macky readily agrees. Portia is angry with him for rejecting her advice and choosing a stranger’s, and Isaac recounts the story of Michal’s rescue of David from King Saul (1 Samuel: 18) in order to motiviate Portia to action.|
|18||5||"Prince for a Day"||2008|
|Macky sets out to rescue the real Daniel, this time disguised as a Roman noble. Isaac retells the story of Paul and Elymas (Acts: 13) to underscore the danger of trying to be something you’re not, while Macky contrasts the Romans’ over-abundance and lack of gratitude with his own people’s tribulations when he tells Portia the story of Moses and the Miracle Water (Exodus: 15, 16 and 17).|
|Toadie convinces General Tiberius to allow him to take hostages from the nearby villages, to be executed if Macky doesn’t turn himself in. Macky must go into the heart of the Roman camp once again, to try and stop the executions. Our friends retell the stories of how David spared Saul’s life (1 Samuel: 26) and Paul, Silas and the earthquake (Acts: 16), and learn the importance of mercy and doing right.|
|20||7||"Aid and Comfort"||2008|
|Toadie has a fever and only Macky can get the medicine that will save him, but will he? After hearing the retelling of the story of Elisha and Naaman (2 Kings: 5), Macky accepts that even an enemy should be helped. While Toadie suffers crazy dreams during a fever on his sickbed, Macky makes the perilous trip to the Roman camp, only to find that little Antonius is now ill too. Lucius tells how Jesus cured a sick woman (Mark: 5) to bring hope to them all. Macky hands over the precious medicine – and hopes he is in time to cure both Toadie and Antonius.|
|After hearing Macky’s retelling of the story of Herod and the Wise Men (Matthew: 2), Portia hatches a plan which could force her uncle and the Romans to allow Jerusalem’s children to escape the besieged city. Despite her efforts, the children don’t want to leave the city. As Tiberius and the Roman army prepare to attack, Macky tells the children about the Boy Samuel and Eli (1 Samuel: 1 and 3), to help them make this difficult decision.|
|22||9||"The Big Lift"||2008|
|As the people in Jerusalem starve, Macky finds a store of grain which Toadie has stolen and hidden in the Roman camp. With the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand in mind (Mark: 6), Macky must work out how to take the grain into the besieged city. As a befuddled Toadie realises he has outsmarted himself, Macky and his friends hear the story of Elisha and the woman with olive oil (2 Kings: 4) in which the widow’s oil increased beyond all expectation.|
|The Romans are tearing down homes outside Jerusalem and using them for building material. To calm Rachel’s fears, Isaac tells her the story of how Jethro the Midianite welcomed Moses the stranger (Exodus: 2). Now Isaac must collapse the tunnels beneath their home to prevent Toadie discovering the trail to other rebel safe houses, and our friends retell the story of how Paul escaped from the mob (Acts: 17) to underline the value of helping others and overcoming difficulties.|
|The zealots decide to kidnap General Tiberius. Through the stories of Solomon’s wisdom with a baby (1 Kings: 3) and Paul’s Appeal to Caesar (Acts: 24 and 25), our friends learn the importance of wisdom and finding a different way.|
|25||12||"Toadie on Trial"||2008|
|Toadie accuses Portia of being a rebel sympathiser. The stories of Paul’s disappearance (Acts: 28) and Moses and the Manna from Heaven (Exodus: 16) remind us how important it is to be brave, and that God protects and provides.|
|With Macky still imprisoned, Tiberius launches the final assault on Jerusalem. Our friends recall the story of Noah and the Ark (Genesis: 7, 8 and 9) and its message of hope and hear of Paul speaking to Agrippa (Acts: 25 and 26), reminding us to trust in God.|
Series 3 (2009)
|Title||Original air date|
|Macky and Portia finally arrive in Rome, but under very different conditions: Portia is welcomed as the niece of Rome’s famous General Tiberius, while Macky has arrived in chains... and that’s just the beginning of his problems. He has been sold to a school for gladiators! Macky tells the story of Amos speaking out (Amos: 7), and recalls the preaching of John the Baptist (Luke: 3), to remind us of brave men who spoke out against corruption.|
|When Macky refuses to kill another trainee during practice, the gladiator school manager decides to send him to the arena the next day. Because he won’t kill, he will almost certainly be killed. Portia goes to Senator Antonius, who has spoken out on behalf of the Friends of Jesus in the Senate. But Antonius seems unwilling to help. We hear the story of King David and Three Soldiers (2 Samuel: 23) and Antonius tells Portia about Jesus speaking in Nazareth (Luke: 4).|
|29||3||"Friends, Romans and Mystery Men"||2009|
|Macky is now a slave in Senator Antonius’s home. After telling the story of Jesus calming the storm (Mark: 4) to the Senator’s two children, to help them get to sleep during a dramatic storm, Macky discovers something extraordinary about their father. We hear of the trust between David and Jonathan (1 Samuel: 18 and 20), while Macky succeeds in foiling a trap laid by Brutacus and the mysterious Masked Rebel considers acquiring a daring young partner.|
|30||4||"Sowing the Seeds"||2009|
|Toadie has a new job: he’s managing a gladiator, and finds he must resort to his usual cheating habits. Macky tells the story of David and Mephibosheth (2 Samuel: 4, 5 and 9) to explain the importance of helping others, and Antonius retells the Parable of the Sower (Matthew: 13), and the story of the House built on Rock (Matthew: 7) to underline the need for solid foundations in life.|
|Marcus has an evil plan in the works, and he’s enlisted Toadie to help him. Meanwhile, Antonius tells Macky about Abraham and three strangers (Genesis: 18 and 21) and recalls the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus the tax collector (Luke: 19), and how Zacchaeus soon changed his dishonest ways. Determined to find out what’s going on, Portia sets out to do some detective work at a mysterious warehouse where she runs into Macky, who then gets into serious trouble.|
|Macky escapes from the warehouse with Portia, but he is badly injured. Trying to keep Macky conscious on the way home, Portia gets him to focus on the story of Joseph and Pharaoh’s Dreams (Genesis: 40 and 41). Later Portia finds she must take the lead in foiling Marcus’s plot, while Macky remains on his sickbed and Sophia tells a frightened Felix how Jesus brought Jairus’s daughter back to life (Luke: 8).|
|Convinced he knows who the Masked Rebel is, Marcus orders Toadie to spy on Antonius. Felix hears the story of Jesus healing blind Bartimaeus (Mark: 10) and learns the importance of having faith. Meanwhile, Absolom encourages Macky by retelling the story of Samuel anointing Saul (1 Samuel: 9 and 10). Toadie sneaks into Antonius’s house believing no-one is home, but has a surprise coming when he discovers someone is in after all!|
|34||8||"Give and Take"||2009|
|Macky and the Masked Rebel rescue some slaves from certain death in the Circus Maximus, and as the scared slaves hide from their pursuers, Absolom reassures them with the story of Elijah and the Poor Widow (1 Kings: 17). An angry Marcus orders Aemelia to be jailed, planning to use Babatunji as bait. Later, Babatunji hears the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Matthew: 18) and helps Antonius in a daring prisoner swap, understanding now that God cares for each of us.|
|35||9||"Spies and Lies"||2009|
|Macky urges Antonius to speak out against Marcus in the Senate, but Antonius is reluctant to openly confront Marcus, reminding Macky of the importance of doing right when he tells the story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem (Mark: 11). Macky responds with the story of Jesus and the Moneylenders in the Temple (Mark: 11). Later Antonius is wrongly arrested after accusations by Marcus. To give Macky and Portia encouragement, Felix and Sophia tell the story of Jesus healing a Paralysed Man (Mark: 2).|
|Hoping to gain approval and payment, Toadie informs Antonius that Marcus is planning to rob Rome’s treasury. Antonius tells The Parable of the Tenants in the Vineyard (Mark: 12) to remind Macky that things can be seen differently. When Toadie appears asking to be rewarded, Macky tells him the story of Jesus and the Widow’s Offering (Mark: 12) to explain how the poor woman quietly donated all she had. Later Macky and the Masked Rebel confront Marcus and his men inside the treasury and Antonius tells Macky the story of Jesus and the Roman Tax (Mark: 12).|
|News arrives that Felix is in trouble and later Antonius is arrested. Through the stories of Jesus washing the Disciples’ feet (John: 13), Jesus and the Lepers (Luke: 17) and the Last Supper and Jesus’ Arrest (Mark: 14) we learn the importance of humility.|
|38||12||"Trials and Tribulations"||2009|
|Portia seeks the Emperor’s help to get Antonius released, but the Emperor decides not to intervene. Our friends recall how Jesus appeared before Pilate, Jesus' Flogged, Mocking and the events which took place as Jesus carried his cross, and at The Crucifixion (Mark: 15).|
|39||13||"The Road Ahead"||2009|
|Macky finally decides he must leave Rome. Now Portia must decide what she wants her future to be! We hear the stories of Jesus being seen on the road to Emmaus (Luke: 24), the Rich Young Man (Mark: 10) and the Ten Commandments (Exodus: 20) reminding us to make good choices in life.|
- Len Carlson - Narrator
- Austin Di Iulio - Macky
- Sarah Gadon - Portia
- Cedric Smith - Tiberius
- Tony Daniels - Tobias
- Howard Jerome - Brutacus
- Jamie Watson - Pontius
- Benedict Campbell - Samuel
- Alyson Court - Diana
- Bailey Stocker - Rebecca
- Emma Pustil - Leah
- A.J. Saudin - Sollie
- Diane Fabian - Miriam
- John Stocker - Nathan
- Aaryn Doyle - Flore
- Scott Beaudin - Anthony
- John Ralston - Lucius/Elijah/Jonah
- Philip Akin - Isaac/ John Ralston
- Martha MacIsaac - Sarah
- Alison Sealy-Smith - Devorah
- Tim Hamaguchi - Abe
- Vanessa Thompson - Rachel
- Robert Bockstael - Senator Antonius/Masked Rebel
- Elizabeth Hanna - Luciana
- Scott McCord - Dudemus
- Paul O'Sullivan - Marcus
- Lyon Smith - Absolom
- Jordan Todosey - Sophia
- David Keeley - Amikam
- Juan Chioran - Peter/Pompano/2nd Judean Rebel/Fisherman #2
- Martin Roach - Jesus/God/1st Judean Rebel
- Robert Norman Smith - Aischros/2nd Guard/Judah/Pharaoh/King Xerxes
- Shauna MacDonald - Jezebel/Lydia/Naomi
- Lawrence Bayne - Caleb
- Stephen Bogaert - Aaron
- Tony Fleury - Courtier/Thomas
- Adrian Truss - Courtier 1+2/Joseph/Supervisor
- John Neville - Claxus
- Ruth Marshall - Delilah/Eza
- Mitchell Eisner - Caius
- Kristina Nicoll - Esther/Ruth
- Marty Moreau - Spy 2
- Ron Rubin - Soldier
- Olive French - King David
- Peter Oldring - Young David
- Larry Byrne - Ahab
- Starting with the second season, the show is produced in HD.
- All three series have now been translated and dubbed into
- Chinese (Mandarin, Taiwan Mandarin)
- Portuguese (Brazil)
- Spanish (American)
- There is currently a Manx Gaelic translation of Friends and Heroes in production by P. E. Rogers and R. C. Carswell funded by the Manx Heritage Foundation.
- Naomi Jones, producer for Series 2 & 3, also produced The Miracle Maker and Testament.
- Brian D. Brown and Eric J. Danenberg, creators of the show, were both writers for another animated series that takes place in Biblical times, The Storykeepers.
- Gary Kurtz, the producer for season one, has produced many hit films such as American Graffiti, Star Wars, and The Empire Strikes Back.