S4C viewers from Anglesey to Cardiff will be united in laughter when they watch new comedy series Anita, which starts on Sunday, 13 March.
Popular all-round entertainer Caryl Parry Jones plays unlucky-in-love Anita. The character first appeared in Caryl’s popular sketch show Caryl a’r Lleill, and in her own one-off programme last year. But Anita now has her own series, a spin-off which will certainly lighten that end of weekend feeling on Sunday nights.
Anita is learning Welsh and speaks a mixture of Welsh and English. She supports the Welsh language and encourages others to speak it to her – but most of all, Anita brings a smile to your face.
“Anita is a real gem and loves looking after people,” says Caryl who lives in Cowbridge. “She’s a single mother from Cardiff and has raised her daughter Jools on her own so they’re very close. Anita is a proud Cardiffian; she’s always lived in the Welsh capital and can’t imagine herself living anywhere else. She works in an old people’s home and all the residents love her, especially Arthur, who speaks Welsh.”
But there are changes afoot for Jools and Anita, when Anita meets Bedwyr, played by the singer and actor from Dyffryn Nantlle, Gwynedd, Bryn Fôn. After meeting on a dating site, they have fallen madly in love. Although Bryn and Caryl have sung together on stage and also co-presented, the Anita productions were their first experience of acting together. “Bedwyr is so kind and Bryn plays him so well,” says Caryl.
But Bedwyr isn’t perfect; he’s a North Walian and that, for Anita, creates a bit of a language barrier. Anita chats to Bedwyr in a Cardiff accent with plenty of Wenglish and she doesn’t understand everything Bedwyr says. And to make matters more complicated, Bedwyr has to return to North Wales because his mother is ill.
Will Anita follow Bedwyr to Anglesey? Is she ready to leave the conveniences of her beloved city for Moelfre – a quiet seaside town on Anglesey? Anita is having kittens about leaving the River Taff, the Stadium, the castle, the shops, her Welsh class, traffic jams and her beloved Arthur.
“Anita has only ever lived in Cardiff and she’d be like a fish out of water on Anglesey. Moelfre is the total opposite of Cardiff’s buzzing Canton suburb. But then again, Bedwyr and Anita have really hit it off – so who knows?” laughs Caryl, who’s originally from Ffynnongroyw, in Flintshire.
Anita is a real family production as Caryl’s daughter, Miriam Isaac, plays Jools; and Caryl penned the series with her cousin, Non Parry, a former member of Welsh pop group Eden.
“With Miriam, the chemistry between us was already there, and that’s lovely. The story is seen through Jools’ eyes and Miriam plays Jools brilliantly! I’ve loved developing the character with Non, from Anita’s first days on the sketch series Caryl a’r Lleill. Non and I have the same background; we sent our children to schools in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan and we both went to Ysgol Glan Clwyd in St Asaph. We’ve lived in North and South Wales and we know a few mums like Anita!”