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S4C announces names of celebrities to learn Welsh in live show

04/07/2011

S4C has today announced the identity of eight celebrities who are set to spend an intense week learning Welsh in an eco-friendly chic campsite in Pembrokeshire in the S4C series cariad@iaith:love4language.

The eight learners who’ll spend the week-long linguistic challenge at the striking fforest Camp in Cilgerran, Pembrokeshire are:

• Lembit Öpik, former Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire

• Melanie Walters, actress originally from Swansea, best known for her role as Gwen in the comedy series “Gavin & Stacey”

• Helen Lederer, comedy actress and author, originally from Llandovery

• Rhys Hutchings, from Newport and a member of hip hop group Goldie Lookin’ chain

• Sophie Evans, singer from Tonypandy, who is sharing the role of Dorothy in the West End’s “Wizard of Oz”

• Matt Johnson, presenter of “OK TV” and weekly contributor on “This Morning” TV programme

• Colin Charvis, former Wales rugby captain and British and Irish Lions player

• Josie d’Arby, TV presenter and actress from Newport

They’ll be arriving at the camp on Saturday 9 July.

Cameras will follow the Welsh language novices as they study four hours of Welsh per day under the tutorship of TV presenter and Welsh-language tutor Nia Parry and leading Welsh-language tutor Ioan Talfryn.

The week-long show, anchored by broadcaster Gareth Roberts, will follow the celebrities in nightly hour-long shows. The week, which begins with a programme to launch the series on S4C on Friday, 8 July, comes to a climax with a special awards ceremony and farewell evening on Friday, 15 July.

The show will coincide with S4C’s Welsh Learners’ Week when the Channel will work alongside organisations, newspapers and companies to generate even more interest in the growing Welsh language. A number of events will be held from 4-8 July.

Bubbly presenter and language tutor Nia Parry can’t wait to get started on the cariad@iaith:love4language challenge.

Nia Parry says, "The celebrity line-up is a very colourful, dynamic mix of well-known personalities. They all have their own personal reasons for learning Welsh but I can assure you they will be keen and highly competitive which should make for interesting viewing. I can’t wait to get started."

Nia and Ioan will use an innovative language learning technique called 'TPR storytelling', a method developed in the USA which uses physical activities with the initial emphasis on developing understanding.

"I suppose some will say that the celebrities are a story in themselves, but it’s a serious, innovative way to learn languages that will also be interesting to watch. Of course there’s a serious message here – that it’s possible for anyone to learn Welsh and to have some fun doing so at the same time," says mother-of-one Nia, who now lives near Caernarfon, Gwynedd.

The fforest camp centre – which provides camping and outdoor experience with a chic twist - will be a great backdrop for all the challenges.

The celebrities will have limited contact with the outside world during filming throughout the week but the celebrities will be allowed to twitter, blog and use Facebook, which should make for very interesting reading

Viewers at home will be able to follow the celebrities receiving their lessons via web broadcasts at s4c.co.uk.

Production company Fflic, part of the Boomerang Plus group, will be responsible for producing the series with live, highlights and web transmissions.

A previous series of celebrity cariad@iaith:love4language saw the likes of Tanni Grey-Thompson, Janet Street-Porter, Ruth Madoc, Steve Strange, Jamie Shaw, Bernard Latham and Amy Wadge come together for a dramatic week’s stay at the Nant Gwrtheyrn Language Centre in the Llŷn Peninsula.

cariad@iaith:love4language

Starts Friday 8 July 20:25, S4C and continues nightly from Sunday 10 to Friday 15 July

English subtitles

Website: s4c.co.uk/love4lang

On demand: s4c.co.uk/clic

A Fflic, part of the Boomerang+ group, for S4C

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