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Eight celebrities to eat, drink, sleep and live the Welsh language on hit reality show Cariad@Iaith

26/05/2015

Eight celebrities to eat, drink, sleep and live the Welsh language on hit reality show Cariad@Iaith

Seven days, eight contestants, two presenters, and one language. Over the course of a week, eight Welsh celebrities will try to learn as much Cymraeg as possible and this year, the Centre for Alternative Technology near Machynlleth will be turned into a classroom fit for the stars.

And S4C can reveal that this year's brave crew of celebrities who will eat, drink, sleep and live the Welsh language are Derek Brockway, Rebecca Keatley, Chris Corcoran, Jamie Baulch, Nicola Reynolds, Steve Spears, Caroline Sheen and Tom Shanklin.

Cariad@Iaith, which is presented this year for the first time by opera star Wynne Evans along with the darling of all Welsh learners, Nia Parry, will start with a special preview programme on Sunday 14 June at 8.00 on S4C with daily programmes to follow every weekday night at 8.25 and 9.30 with the final on Saturday 20 June.

Derek Brockway is one of the most familiar faces on Welsh television, having presented the weather on BBC Wales Today for 18 years. Derek is originally from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan and lives near Cardiff and is also the presenter of TV series Weatherman Walking.

Rebecca Keatley will be well known to younger viewers as a presenter on children's television service, CBeebies. Originally from Port Talbot, Rebecca now lives in London where she presents programmes such as Let's Play on the channel.

Chris Corcoran is a comedian and radio presenter who currently presents his own radio show on BBC Radio Wales on Saturday afternoons. Chris has supported Rob Brydon on tour and has featured on many comedy shows on TV and radio. Before turning to comedy, he was a teacher at Barry Comprehensive School.

For 15 years, Jamie Baulch was a poster boy for Welsh athletics, having won a total of 11 medals at events such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and the IAAF World Athletics Championships. He recently appeared on BBC Wales programme Jamie Baulch: Looking for my Birth Mum where he traced his birth mother.

Pontypridd actress Nicola Reynolds first appeared on our screens in cult film Human Traffic, set in Cardiff. Since then she has had roles in Coronation Street, High Hopes and Clocking Off but may be more familiar as the face of Meg as part of BBC Wales sitcom Scrum 4.

Merthyr-born actor Steve Speirs has appeared in series such as Doctor Who, NCIS and Jonathan Creek as well as films such as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Pirates of the Caribbean. He is also a writer for Ruth Jones' hit sitcom Stella.

Caroline Sheen is a West End actress originally from Port Talbot who has appeared in an array of musicals including Grease, Mamma Mia and Les Miserables and has also appeared in popular TV series Torchwood and Hotel Babylon.

Ex-Cardiff Blues and Wales international rugby player Tom Shanklin is Wales' fifth highest-scoring rugby player on record. He earned 70 caps for the Welsh team and has also played for the British and Irish Lions squad.

Now in its seventh series, Cariad@Iaith has featured Ian 'H' Watkins, Gareth Thomas, Steve Strange and Janet Street-Porter amongst others as previous contestants and this year's line-up is no less impressive.

Co-presenter and tutor Nia Parry added, "I love everything about the Cariad@Iaith experience – the fun, the activities, meeting new people and working with a wonderful crew but above all I love teaching Welsh in the classroom again and welcoming another set of various stars is great."

With the help of tutors Ioan Talfryn and Nia Parry, the eight brave contestants will have their knowledge of Welsh put to the test with formal lessons and by using the language during physical challenges and the unique teaching method of desuggestipedia, which encourages language immersion through songs and games.

But after a whole week of lessons, only one can be crowned winner of the series, with the week's best learner announced on the Saturday final.

Another addition to the series this year is the new presenter, Wynne Evans who was a contestant on the show in a previous series. "I'm very excited about presenting the show. I can't quite believe that I've gone from being a contestant to being a presenter," says Wynne who has also presented the seres Am Ddrama on S4C. "I'm not quite sure if I'm ready but I'm definitely looking forward to the challenge."

This year's series is sponsored by the Welsh Government. First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "As a government we are committed to giving people of all ages the opportunity to learn Welsh and are keen to encourage them to use the language in their day to day lives.

"The Welsh for Adults programme is key to ensuring that adults have opportunities to learn Welsh and I am pleased that we are working with S4C to support Cariad@Iaith to encourage more adults to learn Welsh or improve their skills."

Kim Bryan, a spokesperson for the Centre for Alternative Technology added, "It is a fantastic opportunity for CAT and Machynlleth to showcase the wide range of activities there are to do in the area and the friendliness of the local community. The Welsh language is a vitally important part of our culture and hosting the Cariad@Iaith programme here at CAT is a tremendous way to support it."

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