I can remember seeing the video on the Talyllyn Railway’s YouTube channel, where the announcement for Dreigiau Cadi (Cadi’s Dragons) was made, and we were introduced to Bledd and Cef for the first time ahead of their television debut. I found them both quite endearing and fun, the way the puppeteers were able to improvise their answers to the questions was amusing and it seemed like a fun premise.
I watched the first episode when it was released, purely out of morbid curiosity. After that, it became regular Wednesday morning viewing “for fun and adventure” before I left for work.
For those who haven’t been aware of the series, Dreigiau Cadi is a Welsh language preschool television series which was shot and set on the Talyllyn Railway. It follows the hijinks and antics of two little red dragons, Bledd and Cef, who become friends with one of the Drivers, Cadi, after she finds them in one of her carriages. The stories revolve around the two little dragons learning about life on the railway, and helping Cadi, when they’re not getting themselves into some kind of scrape!
It is heartening to see the stories drawing directly from things which draw upon things that happen on the railway. We have had stories based around Cadi training for Race the Train, how flag signalling works, jammed points affected by the heat, as well as anecdotes regarding the railway’s history of slate mining when Cadi explains how the incline at Nant Gwernol used to work, and the way the water columns worked in the old days. The stories are simple and fun, but also explain aspects of the railway (some unique to the Talyllyn) and its operations in a way, which is interesting and easy for children to understand.
It’s great to see traditional puppetry still being used in the modern era in a time when CGI makes anything possible. The puppet dragons are a very fun watch. Bledd and Cef are learning about the world around them as children will, have silly arguments and enjoy frequent fart jokes (I’m unfamiliar with the anatomy of dragons, however, I’m guessing the fire they breathe is created from some form of gas!), as well as working with Cadi, who acts as a surrogate mother / favourite auntie figure. The puppet designs capture how endearing, friendly and fun the characters are, and there’s a charm about them that other mediums couldn’t capture quite as well.
As the series was filmed with Welsh language, non-Welsh speakers (like myself) have had to resort to the use of subtitles to follow the story properly. However, given how fun and enjoyable the series is, I’d love to see it getting an English dub to reach a wider audience who would enjoy getting to know Bledd, Cef and Cadi the way we have.
Twelve episodes of the series were filmed on the Talyllyn Railway during the summer of 2023. As yet there is no official word on a second series, however, given that episodes listed on BBC iPlayer are preceded with Cyfres 1 (Series 1), it may be that the little dragons will be around on the Talyllyn Railway for more “fun and adventure” in the future.