Over the coming months, S4C will air three documentaries profiling three of Wales’ most prominent figures.
At today’s launch at the National Eisteddfod in the Vale of Glamorgan, it was revealed that one of the programmes will be a revealing portrait of the late Gary Speed by his close friend, the former footballer and sports commentator John Hartson.
S4C has also commissioned a film portrayal of the inspirational and enigmatic writer Gerallt Lloyd Owen.
In addition, the Channel will broadcast singer Gruff Rhys’ gripping docu-film set in Patagonia, Separado! Gruff is currently in America filming a sequel to the docu-film which is partly funded by S4C.
The documentaries about Gary Speed and Gerallt Lloyd Owen are among the first commissioned by Llion Iwan, who is responsible for S4C’s factual and current affairs programmes.
The documentary about the late Wales captain-turned-manager, Gary Speed, is the first detailed portrait to be broadcast on television with the full co-operation of his family.
Gary Speed – who played for Leeds, Everton and Newcastle among other big clubs – died in tragic circumstances last November.
The film is produced by Rondo, the company responsible for popular flagship series Sgorio, where John Hartson is a regular commentator and analyst.
Llion Iwan explains, “The docu-film will shed new light on Gary Speed’s life and glittering career. It is groundbreaking in the sense that the iconic footballer’s friends and family will contribute. This will also be the first time for John Hartson, who played alongside the former Wales manager, to front a documentary on television and we’ll look at Gary Speed’s contribution to football, Wales and the world through his unique perspective.”
The intention is to broadcast the documentary about the poet Gerallt Lloyd Owen on St David’s Day 2013.
Cwmni Da’s production team have been filming with the poet from Gwynedd in recent months. The film is a revealing portrait of a man considered to be very private. We’ll discover what inspired poems like Cilmeri, which have been described as some of the Welsh language’s greatest modern-day poems.
The television premiere of docu-film Separado! is to be among the highlights of S4C’s Christmas schedule.
The film, produced by ie ie production company, follows Super Furry Animals’ singer Gruff Rhys’ quest to find a long lost relative, the colourful Patagonian musician and Welsh gaucho René Griffiths.
The film, which was shot mostly on location in Argentina and directed by Dylan Goch and Gruff Rhys, will offer a unique insight into the different aspects of history and lives of those living in Patagonia.
Llion Iwan adds, “The documentaries each focus on iconic characters from very different worlds. But what brings the three together is that they had a great impact on popular culture here in Wales.”