S4C’s Director of Content has welcomed the success of the channel’s programmes which have derived from joint plans with other companies and organisations.
According to Dafydd Rhys, programmes like Llefydd Sanctaidd, and Y Tywydd: O Ddrwg i Waeth?, as well as plans for detective series Mathias Hinterland, show that coproduction is an effective way of bringing ambitious plans to a Welsh speaking audience.
Llefydd Sanctaidd/Holy Places is a co-production by Cwmni Da and Western Front Films for S4C and BBC4. The series tells the stories of sacred places around the UK – looking at their religious significance and the mark they’ve made in history. Both series are presented by Ifor ap Glyn with the filming working carried out by Cwmni Da and the post production completed at the companies Felinheli base. Y Tywydd: o Ddrwg i Waeth? was produced by Pioneer Productions from London and Tinopolis in Llanelli. Erin Roberts presented the Welsh language version on S4C, and an English language version, Is our Weather getting worse?, was broadcast on Channel 4.
S4C has a Co-production fund which is administered on a commercial basis. Up to £1m per year is invested to help fund more such projects. While inviting a wide range of applications, the intention is to invest mainly in content for children, as well as animations and factual and drama series which have the potential to be sold to other territories.
One of the projects which has received investment from the fund, Anialwch, will be shown over the coming weeks. The series which features deserts of the world is being distributed globally by Sky Vision (English version entitled Deserts). This is the latest series by Green Bay to benefit from the co-production scheme, following the successful Afonydd/Rivers and Life and Ynysoedd/Islands.
Another co-production, Trysor y Royal Charter/Royal Wreck of Gold, tells the story of an attempt to discover the full extraordinary details of the sinking of the Royal Charter off the coast of Anglesey in 1859. This co-production alongside ITV and Foxtel from Australia, which is being made by Welsh company TiFiNi, will appear on S4C later this year.
S4C is also in discussions over the number of new co-productions – including children’s projects following the success of titles such as Sam Tan/Fireman Sam and Abadas.
S4C’s Director of Content, Dafydd Rhys said:
“The success we’re seeing with co-productions at the moment is strengthening our confidence in our decision to ensure that projects of this kind are a key element of our future plans.
“In suitable cases, working together with producers or other organisations can open doors to projects S4C would not otherwise be able to achieve on our own. Pooling our funds with others we can target projects which are particularly ambitious and produce programmes that will have particular significance for their contribution to culture, academia or entertainment.
“S4C is discussing with a number of possible partners at the moment, including NHK of Japan, ZDF from Germany and France 5, with a view to agreeing on further co-productions. We’re confident that we can bring about more significant gains for our audiences by pressing ahead with this policy.
“We’re always keen to ensure that Wales’ economy gains from the work S4C does. Attracting co-productions is a big boost to the creative industries here – creating and safeguarding jobs. After all, by taking part in partnerships of this kind, S4C is bringing in money from international companies into communities in Wales.”
In 2013, S4C will be the first broadcaster to show its co-production Mathias Hinterland – a detective series which is being made in both Welsh and English, and has already been sold to be shown on the BBC in Wales and across the UK, and in Denmark by DR Denmark, one of the producers of The Killing.
More information about the S4C Co-production Fund, including investment guidelines and the relevant application form, is available through S4C’s website: