A special tribute programme to Ray Gravell will be shown on S4C on Tuesday, 13 November at 9.00pm produced by his colleagues at the BBC Wales Sports Department.
From his childhood in Mynydd y Garreg near Kidwelly to his career on the rugby field and later as a commentator, presenter and actor, Grav looks at the life of the much-loved Welshman through the eyes of friends, fellow players and colleagues.
Ray became a household name in the 70s playing for Llanelli and went on to win 23 caps for Wales. He was famously a member of the 1972 Llanelli side which beat the All Blacks and was President of Llanelli RFC and the Llanelli Scarlets until his death.
His career as a broadcaster began in 1985 with BBC Wales and Ray went on to become a popular phenomenon on both television and radio. He commentated on the first-ever Welsh language TV broadcast of an international rugby match on S4C - Wales v England- in February 1983, alongside Huw Llywelyn Davies. Ray was also famous as a pitchside reporter. His warmth, empathy and humour brought out the best in the rugby players he interviewed.
He made numerous guest appearances in a range of TV dramas on BBC Wales and S4C and broadcast to BBC Radio Cymru listeners in West Wales on his morning programme. He was also an accomplished actor and had played his all-time hero, Owain Glyn Dŵr.
Earlier this year, Ray appeared in the S4C choral competition Codi Canu, as a captain for a choir of supporters from the Scarlets, the rugby team he loved. His boundless enthusiasm and energy inspired the choir – and everyone who met him.
Geraint Rowlands, S4C’s Content Editor Sport and a close friend of Ray Gravell said: “Ray succeeded in uniting the whole of Wales – North, South and West – on and off the rugby pitch. He made time for everyone, no matter who they were, and there has never been a rugby player with so much passion for his beloved Welsh nation.
“He played an important role in S4C’s programmes over the past 25 years – as a commentator, presenter and actor – and he will be greatly missed.”
Nigel Walker, Head of Sport at BBC Wales also paid tribute to his friend and colleague:
“A more genuine, caring, loving and passionate man you could not wish to meet and it was typical of him that he used the misfortune of losing his lower leg to comfort and inspire others similarly affected. This act of selflessness was not a one-off act but epitomises the way Ray lived his entire life. I, and many others, will miss Ray’s hug, smile and warmth.
Ray broadcast for BBC Wales for over two decades. He was adored by audience and staff alike.”
Tuesday, 13 November, 9.00pm, S4C
English subtitles available
A BBC Cymru Wales production for S4C