November 2012 marks a special milestone in the history of Welsh language broadcasting as S4C celebrates its 30th anniversary.
At the forefront of this autumn's schedule are several programmes to mark the occasion. We will look back at the history of the Channel and reminisce about favourite programmes over the decades.
One of the programmes is a drama documentary about the political and nationalist leader Gwynfor Evans who threatened to fast to death in the campaign for a Welsh language channel.
Gwynfor, written by the Archdruid T James Jones, recreates a critical year in the life of Gwynfor Evans, with actor Aneirin Hughes portraying Gwynfor.
In September 1979, the new Conservative Government under Margaret Thatcher took a U-turn by announcing that they would not establish a Welsh language television channel despite promising to do so in their manifesto.
That led to Gwynfor Evans announcing his protest to fast to death and within 12 months, the Government announced another U-turn and decided to establish S4C after all.
Producer Lona Llewelyn Davies said, "It is a warm and sensitive portrait of a brave , man who made a shocking decision that could have led to his death. The drama documentary is firmly grounded on the history but also allows the imagination of author T James Jones to explore the psyche of Gwynfor Evans at the time."
Among those taking part are prominent members of Plaid Cymru at the time, Lord Wigley and Peter Hughes Griffiths, the media commentator, Euryn Ogwen, former chief executive of the Eisteddfod, Emyr Jenkins, son of Gwynfor Evans, Guto Prys ap Gwynfor, his daughter Meinir Ffransis, and her husband, the prominent language activist Fred Ffransis.
The special anniversary show S4C yn 30 brings together viewers' memories and clips from the archive. It is presented by Sian Thomas, one of the on-screen announcers on S4C's first night in 1982.
Plant y Sianel is a programme which catches up with a generation of Welsh people born 30 years ago, in the same year as S4C.
Dafydd Rhys, S4C Director of Content, said, "I'm extremely proud to announce our schedule for the autumn. It's an important period in the history of the Channel as we celebrate our 30th birthday so it's fitting that programmes to celebrate the milestone are at the forefront of the schedule.
"The viewers' wishes are the most important element as we consider the content of our service from day to day, month to month and year to year. Adapting our services and programmes in response to our viewers' wishes is an ongoing process and the schedule announced today is a part of this process as we strive to provide something for everybody."
Alys is back. The uncompromising girl who challenged the audience in the first series of Siwan Jones’ no holds barred drama is back to challenge us once more.
Happiness, security and satisfaction do not sit easily on Alys’ lap. Life is as complicated as ever for this young single mum who is played by Sara Gregory. She’ll do anything to secure a better life for her son, Daniel.
Several new characters have come into her life. Phil has just been released from prison, and is played by Gareth Jewell (Baker Boys, The Indian Doctor). Simon is an estate agent and property developer and is played by Richard Harrington (Pen Talar, Bleak House, Lark Rise to Candleford). Alys has also moved out of her shabby flat and is now living in a council house. Life seems to be on the up for her.
“Once again, author Siwan Jones is experimenting in this series,” says producer of Alys, Paul Jones. “The first series gradually exposed the various layers that exist within our society. This second series is more of a thriller, with a strong supernatural element. The audience will certainly be shaken whilst watching it.”
Dark secrets are revealed in Pobol y Cwm which explain the tension between Gethin and his father Moc, but is there any truth in the accusations? Also, on the birth of Ffion's baby, is anyone any wiser who the father is, including the mother herself? Jinx is bursting with pride and is desperate to be proven as the baby's father while Gaynor demands a DNA test to rule Hywel out of the picture, once and for all. But is there another candidate waiting in the wings?
There's plenty of fun to be had on the paper round with the young Rownd a Rownd crew, but trouble is never far away. We'll get to know a couple of new faces between now and the end of the year, and some of them will bring new troubles and raise questions on a number of subjects, including fostering children, a homeless family and the complications of affairs.
Two entertainment programmes will present two very different battles this autumn. The first is the latest series of Fferm Ffactor who once again will put farmers through their paces in a quest to find the best in Wales.
The second battle takes place in the kitchen, as the new series Brwydr y Fwydlen sets amateur chefs a challenge. In each programme the three amateur chefs will compete at a local top restaurant. Each programme will visit a different area and a different restaurant where the competitors will have to impress the head chef, and included in the prize for the winner is a place for their meal on the restaurant menu.
The Noson Lawen tradition is flourishing with a new series of programmes which will be a lively mix of the old and new, presented by veterans of the series as well as new faces such as Ifan Jones Evans, Elen Pencwm, Sam Jones and Euron and Wil. There’ll also be some specials during the series, including a special night to celebrate the 90th birthday of youth movement, Urdd Gobaith Cymru.
There’ll be a lot of fun in the company of the popular comedian from Anglesey, Tudur Owen, as he returns in a new series of Sioe Tudur Owen. Among the guests who’ll be sitting on Tudur’s sofa are Caryl Parry Jones, Owain Arthur, Sharon Morgan and John Ogwen. There’ll also be an opportunity for members of the audience to win £1,000 in the quiz Iawn Mêt? And who will be the Seren Wib (Shooting Star) who’ll be keeping Tudur company on stage each week?
Unique is an apt description of the magazine series Y Lle. It’s different, it’s lively, a mixture of music and mania. This is the place to be if you’re interested in films, fashion, music, events, bands and gigs. Series presenters Griff Lynch and Leni Hatcher are seemingly in control of things. But are they? Not always, it seems ...
The series 3Lle returns as more familiar faces take us on a journey to three places of significant personal interest, giving us further insight into their experiences and personalities.
Catch up with the latest in Welsh culture with Nia Roberts and Rhun ap Iorwerth in Pethe. Join the Heno team every Monday to Friday night for the latest stories from our communities as the roving reporters travel across Wales, and there are interesting guests in the studio as well. The afternoon magazine Prynhawn Da is packed with interesting items, features and contributors too.
Hwb offers help and encouragement to learn more Welsh with a varied programme of features, sketches and interviews every Sunday afternoon and extra material online. Joining Matt Johnson to present is Siân Jones whilst Nia Parry is on maternity leave.
Comedy drama Gwlad yr Astra Gwyn, which started life as a three minute sketch on Ddoe am Ddeg, has now ventured alone with a new series. Join Trefor, Wales’ most innocent taxi driver, as he drives his mad customers around in his little white Astra cab.
Ddoe am Ddeg also returns in November. And instead of presenting from the studio Lisa Angharad and Emyr Prys Davies will travel across Wales to present sketches, spoofs and a large dose of humour. Along the way they’ll meet new characters including Glyn Ffidich and Merfyn Wyn the DJ, as well as old friends like Sarjant Puw.
And once again Dim Byd will take control of your television sets taking us from channel to channel, jumping from one spoof programme to another.
Among documentaries on S4C this autumn will be heart-rending programmes about some very special children, about heroes of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Second World War and about a very private enterprise – the funeral business.
The series O’r Galon tells the story of two sisters from Bryn, Llanelli, Catherine and Kirstie Field, the only two people in the world to suffer from an illness which has already paralysed them and robbed them of their power of speech. The series will also include a revealing programme on men abused by women. Another programme in the series entitled Adar Brith will look at the work of John Islwyn Jones who runs a hawking centre in Betws Gwerful Goch.
Each of the seven programmes in Lleisiau’r Ail Ryfel Byd will focus on a year in the Second World War from 1939 to 1945 and stories from the more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be featured in Coffau’r Cymry.
Funeral directors run their business with discretion and confidentiality. The series Traed Lan about family funerals takes us behind the scenes of the family funeral and reveals some of the secrets of the business. Iddewes Llandysul traces the story of a rich 18th century lady buried in the graveyard of Llandysul parish church. A relative, actor and impressionist, Andrew Jones is the family detective. In Mil o Flynyddoedd Maesglasau, we learn something of the history of a unique family who’ve farmed the mountainous acres of Ty’n y Braich, Dinas Mawddwy, for a thousand years.
Following Bois y Caca, which was recently broadcast about the environmental waste industry, Bois y Bins and Bois y Ffair take us to two contrasting worlds – the waste processing business and the world of the fairground and the Studt family – one of Wales’ best-known families in the amusement industry.
Mr Mysls features weightlifter, Mark Humphreys of Amlwch, Anglesey, while Cyw Iâr, Ffrwythau, Llysiau a Phrotein Shakes is the story of Beth Workman from Cardiff as she travels to compete in the International Bodyforming Championships in Madrid. Tân Gwyllt combines the history of fireworks in Wales with fireworks traditions around the world.
Y Glas has further insights into the work of South Wales Police in the Swansea area, Ambiwlans Awyr Cymru follows the pilots and paramedics of the Wales Air Ambulance, and Ysbyty Gwynedd lets us look in on the work of a busy hospital serving patients from all over north west Wales. In another series of Ar Lafar Ifor ap Glyn digs deeper into the history and the unique nature of Welsh dialects.
Aled Jones returns in a new series which explores musical influences in Aled Jones: Fy Nhaith Glasurol. His journey takes him to Hamburg and Vienna and he’ll also travel to Sydney, Melbourne, Norway, Finland and England.
Rhys Meirion, Luned Aaron and Alwyn Humphreys will lead us to religious and sacred locations across the country in the new series of Dechrau Canu Dechrau Canmol and The Stiwt Theatre at Rhosllannerchrugog will be the location for this year’s Urdd Gobaith Cymru Bryn Terfel Scholarship. The cameras will be there to bring this important evening into your home.
Another important national event is the Gŵyl Cerdd Dant festival. This year’s festival is being held in Llandudno and those living in Conwy county have been busy preparing for this major event. You'll be able to enjoy the excitement and enthusiasm of the competing as some of Wales’ best singers and musicians come together to celebrate this unique tradition.
For the best of the adrenaline, tension and excitement from the 2012 Wales Rally GB, tune in to daily highlights from the event with Ralïo+. Adrenaline junkies Lowri Morgan, Emyr Penlan, Howard Davies and Wyn Gruffydd will present coverage of the latest stage of the World Rally Championship between 13 and 16 September.
Every Saturday throughout the season, S4C will broadcast the latest sporting events in Wales with live Corbett Sport Welsh Premier League football games in Sgorio (3.00pm) and RaboDirect PRO12 rugby fixtures in Y Clwb Rygbi (6.00pm). Both offer English language commentary on live games via the red button service.
With each live Welsh Premier League match on Sgorio is an on-screen up-to-the-minute results service featuring games from England and Wales.
Highlights of Spain’s La Liga, Wrexham and Newport home matches in the Blue Square Bet Premier and the best of the weekend’s Welsh Premier League action will be packaged every Monday evening on Sgorio.
Live coverage of the LV Cup and Amlin Cup will also be included in the channel’s rugby provision during the season and S4C rugby fans can enjoy extensive highlights of Europe’s main rugby competition – the Heineken Cup.
Viewers can also follow the international squad live on S4C during the autumn series when Wales will face tests against Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia.
And rugby stars of the future will shine as Welsh college rugby matches are streamed live on the S4C website. The games will be shown on TV later in the evening.
In October Marathon Eryri will test the stamina, strength and speed of the participants during the 26.2mile challenge, highlights of which will be on S4C.
Documentaries on some of Wales’ most prominent sporting figures will also feature in the new schedule this autumn.
Jonathan Davies is about to turn 50 and to celebrate this milestone he’s cycling across California to raise money for Velindre Hospital in Cardiff and Jonathan yn 50 will follow him every step of the way. The journey will allow the Trimsaran-born former rugby player the opportunity to look back on his life – he lost his father at a young age and later battled to reach the glory heights of the rugby world before establishing himself as one of Britain’s most popular rugby commentators.
Later this year, a revealing portrait of Gary Speed by his close friend, former Wales striker John Hartson, will also be broadcast. The documentary film will shed new light on the late Wales captain-turned-manager’s life and glittering career. It will also look at Gary Speed’s contribution to football, Wales and the world through John Hartson’s unique perspective. The programme is the first detailed portrait to be broadcast on television with the full co-operation of his family.
Following his recent success in the London Paralympic Games, there is also a special programme about the gold medal athlete Aled Davies of Bridgend.
For the first time in children’s broadcasting in Britain, young people will be able to watch a quiz show on the television whilst also playing along with the challenges on a second screen in their homes.
Y Lifft is the groundbreaking new series on Stwnsh and viewers will be encouraged to play along at home at the same time as the competitors in the studio by visiting the website – www.ylifft.com – or by downloading the brand new app, currently available for free on phone and tablet devices.
Other programmes coming up on Stwnsh include a trip back in time with Ditectifs Hanes, bedroom makeover show Hip neu Sgip and the talented Tîm Talent is out and about once again, offering help to put a shine to your local productions – from drama productions to school radio programmes.
Cyw, the programme for younger children, also offers a second screen experience, but this time for parents. On 1 September the @TifiaCyw service was launched to encourage parents who do not speak Welsh to enjoy the programmes and learn a little of the lingo as they watch with the kids. By using your phone, computer or tablet, the Twitter account, Facebook page and Cyw website offers vocabulary and explanations for what's happening on screen.