A much-awaited special episode of the multi-award-winning detective series 'Y Gwyll/Hinterland' on New Year’s Day on S4C wil be among the highlights of a star-studded Christmas schedule that will feature stellar performances by some of Wales’ most famous performers.
Richard Harrington, the actor behind DCI Mathias in the detective series, is one of many world-renowned artists on the channel this Christmas, with Rhys Ifans, Charlotte Church, Bryn Terfel, Wynne Evans, Only Men Aloud, Karl Jenkins and Catrin Finch among the other big names in the festive line-up.
Some of Wales’ brightest stars will make S4C viewers’ Christmas brighter than ever, with Rhys Ifans, Charlotte Church, Bryn Terfel, Wynne Evans, Richard Harrington, Only Men Aloud, Karl Jenkins and Catrin Finch among the celebrities in the channel’s festive schedule.
S4C unveils its Christmas schedule today (15 December) – gift-wrapped with must-watch drama, stellar performances in entertainment and music shows, inspirational documentaries about exceptional people, festive sport and hours of quality programming for children and young people. Some of Wales' biggest stars feature on the channel this Christmas, and many have honed their craft on S4C before making their mark on the world stage.
"Christmas is a competitive time of year on television, but we know that we have a schedule that can rival the best, staging the best talents of our exciting, creative nation,” says Dafydd Rhys, S4C Director of Content.
"One of the many highlights is the one-off special episode of 'Y Gwyll/Hinterland' being premiered on the first evening of 2015. It’s a series that has put S4C and Wales on the map, and with S4C now available on such a wide range of platforms, you will be able to watch it wherever they are in the UK on 1 January.
“Leading up to the special episode of 'Y Gwyll/Hinterland' on New Year's Day, our Christmas schedule offers entertainment, sport and factual programmes to remember. With so many stars decorating the airwaves, it will be a bright Christmas on S4C."
And to guide you through the festivities will be Robin Goch S4C, the now iconic animation red-breasted robin, who will flag up the dynamic schedule of programmes. Follow his lead in the on-screen campaign and on Twitter, @RobinGochS4C and Facebook. And if you see a robin in your garden, or out and about, add a mark on our interactive map and fill Wales to the brim with robins!
DCI Tom Mathias and the team return in 'Y Gwyll/Hinterland', a series shot on location in Ceredigion, to investigate a suspected arson attack and as a story of heartbreak and loss unfolds we learn more about the detective’s life and past. Months have passed since DCI Tom Mathias walked away from his duties in tragic circumstances.
The final case saw Mathias pushed to the edge. With his lover dead and with blood on his hands, the series came to a dramatic climax with Mathias' future hanging in the balance. Mathias' career seems to be in tatters, but Chief Superintendent Prosser has other ideas, and calls for his return.
The S4C drama feast also includes the first film version of Dylan Thomas’ 'Under Milk Wood' in over 50 year as the channel premieres T James Jones’ lyrical Welsh-language adaptation 'Dan y Wenallt' on 27 December. Starring Rhys Ifans as First Voice and Captain Cat and Charlotte Church as Polly Garter, Kevin Allen’s new surreal and erotic film version will shine a new light on Thomas’ radio drama masterpiece.
Special festive editions of S4C’s daily drama 'Pobol y Cwm' and 'Rownd a Rownd' will also get the tongues wagging.
Wales’ musical excellence makes the world listen – and we will appreciate why in Christmas specials with tenor Wynne Evans, noted for far more than Gio Compario, in 'Nadolig Wynne' on 20 December, and legendary bass-baritone Bryn Terfel whose Christmas show on Christmas Night was filmed at the National History Museum, St Fagans and features traditional Welsh folk carols.
S4C also has a double helping of the world-famous but much-changed choir Only Men Aloud! as we follow the singers on a pilgrimage to Bardsey Island in the programme 'Only Men Aloud: Y Bois ar Enlli' on Christmas Eve and then on their show 'Only Men Aloud: Y Sioe' on Christmas night.
There will be two classical firsts too as S4C premieres the first performance of one of Karl Jenkins’ new work and Catrin Finch’s concerto in a tribute to those who lost their lives during The First World War in the programme 'Catrin Finch: Concerto Hedd Wyn'.
The season of goodwill doesn’t stretch to the football and rugby fields as we will see with live broadcasts of the two Pro 12 derby matches between rivals Ospreys and Scarlets in 'Clwb Rygbi' and Welsh Premier League football action in 'Clwb'.
Sport and life stories combine in the beguiling documentary portrayal of legendary rugby commentator and broadcaster Huw Llywelyn Davies while in another gripping real-life story in the series about Welsh correspondents Gohebwyr John Stevenson looks at the life and death of press photographer Ian Parry. And there’s a natural twist too as naturalist Iolo Williams uncovers the wild nature of Yuletide in 'Natur Nadolig Iolo'.