Tag Archives: welsh

Review, Creisis, S4C, by Gareth Williams

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

I can think of many television dramas which feature mental health as a theme or part of a storyline. But to have it at its core makes Creisis a rarity. The facts which appear at the end suggest that it’s grounded in real-world evidence. The complexity of the protagonist Jamie’s journey over the course of six episodes points to a verisimilitude that takes no shortcuts. This is public service broadcasting at its most powerful and important: informing and educating through entertainment to shed light on an experience in an authentic and engaging way.

Gwydion Rhys embodies his leading role with a stereotypical form of masculinity in which cracks are slowly exposed and the façade gradually crumbles. He confidently addresses the camera in a gracious nod to Anfamol in the opening episodes. But these become few and far between as he turns from explanatory narrator into observed patient. The subtlety with which the audience gaze changes to focus more intensely on his own mind forms part of the potency which gives Creisis its cutting edge. And as it does, the line between imagination and reality, truth and fiction, becomes cleverly blurred. Before this, there is a gradual but increasingly noticeable descent, with clear effects on his family, neighbours and colleagues. The glass shards which disseminate his body in the title sequence come to be prescient in more ways than one. This really is an examination of the ailing mind.

Wife Janette is clearly long-suffering but also devoted. Sara Gregory plays her with strong will entwined with compassion. Line manager Huw (Arwel Gruffydd) is mixed with similar: a serious exterior masking a soft inner soul. There is overwhelming concern from all his fellow staff members which dissipate their quirky mannerisms once Jamie is brought into the Mental Health Unit not as an equal but under their care. Head of Service Natalie (Hannah Daniel) is the only one who is close to being a two-dimensional character. Daniel displays a villainous intent that contributes to Jamie’s state of mind to the extent that she almost becomes a caricature. Even best friend Barry, who is not quite what he seems, is granted emotional versatility by Alex Harries in order to illicit both sympathy and anger from the viewer. Meanwhile, Melvyn and Mary offer light relief through their sweet relationship marked tragically by dementia. Wayne Cater and Rhian Morgan may be part of a subplot but contribute beautifully to the whole with performances that are suitably ordinary and, as a result, wonderfully apt.

What seems to drive Jamie is a desire to fix things, including people. He is chaotic, innovative, reckless and passionate in his attempts. But in the end, he must acknowledge that he is broken himself, in part because he believes that he could and should have fixed another. Grief is both the cause and effect here, revealed in such myriad ways within the context of everyday lives that it touches on some form of accuracy. Not that experience can be boiled down. But in the individual story lies something of the universal. This is what Creisis seeks to capture, and it does so rather well. Mental illness is taken seriously and is never curbed by expectation. Including in its finale, when instead of the usual heartwarming finish, it introduces an open-ended curveball that continues its commitment to realism.

There is much to learn and appreciate here. Creisis demonstrates the art of skilful and well-researched writing to make this one of the best explorations of mental illness in modern television.

Click here to watch the series on BBC iPlayer.

Reviewed by
Gareth Williams

Review, Mammoth, BBC Wales, by Gareth Williams

 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

The premise of Mammoth is far-fetched. But go along for the ride and this Welsh sitcom doesn’t disappoint. More funfair than theme park, its zaniness takes time to get used to. Once in the flow of Mike Bubbins’ world though, there emerges a strange empathy for his protagonist, resulting in a desire to return for more. It is a shame then that three episodes is all the BBC could muster.

The first episode is a whirlwind narrative. If the task was to squeeze in the life and times of Tony Mammoth in 25 minutes then it succeeds. But not without its fast pace feeling like a rush job. We go from his resurrection on the side of a ski slope, after being buried for 40 years underneath an avalanche of snow, to his reappointment as a PE teacher at Nowlan High School in the blink of an eye. Add in the quirky comedy and it’s possible for all this to be taken with a pinch of salt. It is not until the revelation, at the end of the episode, of Sian Gibson’s doting and overprotective parent as his daughter, that the programme settles and gains traction. Episode two certainly feels more stable even as the humour remains offbeat.

Most of the laughs arise in the dissonance between Mammoth’s 1970s worldview and the liberalisation of a 2020s UK. He is a boozer, pipe-smoker and womaniser, in a world no longer chugging back beers or treating women as objects. He struggles to come to terms with the fact that his boss is not only a woman but a lesbian too. Mali Ann Rees is suitably dismissive as Lucy, despairing in his attempts to connect with out-of-date references and inappropriate behaviour. She is the straight woman to his not-so-wise guy, a partnership that works and even finds slight affection blossoming between them by the end of episode three. Gibson, for her part, delivers an enraged performance opposite Bubbins’ calm exterior which also leads to funny moments filled with fondness. One cannot help feeling for Mammoth even as his views verge from the baffling to the squeamish. In this regard, he follows in the footsteps of other self-absorbed but strangely-lovable male leads, from Glyn Tucker (The Tuckers) to Ben Harper (My Family) and Victor Meldrew (One Foot in the Grave).

For so short a run, this sitcom is awash with verbal and visual tropes. Always playing with the generational difference, it is often the simple exchanges that invite the biggest smiles. The fact that he says “over” at the end of each correspondence at the drive-thru, he gives a pupil “10p [to get] a Marathon from the tuck shop”, and plays music to his class via a tape recorder all add to the ambience with charming effect. Then there’s the playing of “Burn Baby Burn” at his friend Barry’s funeral, giving a rabbit CPR on a wellness retreat, and riding into a café on a horse for daughter Mel’s birthday, that make his world peculiarly comical. It is not without its touching moments though. When fellow friend Roger (Joseph Marcell) poignantly sings the theme tune to Blankety Blank before he scatters Barry’s ashes, the tragedy of the situation is deeply felt, even as it remains absurd.

The ending is a good one, hopefully indicating at the promise of more. For most sitcoms take a while to get going and hit their stride. Mammoth is no different. Mike Bubbins has created a prime candidate for a great British sitcom character. There is enough here to warrant further. It may be odd but it is likably so. Hyperbole at its finest.

Click here to watch the series on BBC iPlayer.

Reviewed by
Gareth Williams

Review, Pren ar y Bryn/Tree on a Hill, S4C/BBC Wales, by Gareth Williams

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

“Hell’s Bells” is the phrase that sticks from Pren ar y Bryn / Tree on a Hill. “Bingo” too. Both are utterances of Clive, a quirky character, played by Rhodri Meilir, who is representative of this offbeat drama. Filmed in Welsh and English, the former went out on S4C around Christmas whilst the latter appeared on BBC Wales from Easter. And though both are fairly similar, there is something about Cymraeg that offers an eccentricity not quite matched in its Saesneg counterpart.

Right from the start, the programme is off-piste. The presence of a model village is symbolic of a dream-like quality that permeates into the lives of Penwyllt’s real-life inhabitants. The brass and percussion instruments of the soundtrack, resembling arhythmic, improvised jazz, add to its oddness with their chaos. It is at once tragic and comic – a duality that runs through the series like a winding river. The titles are reminiscent of a B-movie; and indeed, complete with the music and faded colour palette, could have easily come from the 1950s. The addition of a rather outlandish murder plot and several strange occurrences mean that, in some ways, Pren ar y Bryn / Tree on a Hill is quite unique in the contemporary TV landscape.

Ed Thomas

It would be no surprise to find The Singing Detective as an influence upon the creators of this drama. It is certainly very different to the more serious and sombre work of producer Ed Thomas (Hinterland, Bregus). Here, he takes the elements of a classic whodunnit and turns them inside out. He borrows from the absurd of sitcom, the emotion of kitchen sink drama, the aesthetic of arthouse film, and even a little from the genre of horror, to create not just a narrative but a whole world that is strange and surprising, silly and sinister. Meilir, for his part, brings a wide-eyed innocence to his role. Deadpan, emotionally understated, yet physically expressive alongside Nia Roberts, who is beautifully awkward as his wife Margaret. Richard Harrington is perhaps the only straight-talking member of the cast as Glyn, the catalyst on which this fabulous yarn unravels. Yet even he is used in a subtle exploration of mental illness that comes to define most of the characters here. Themes of loneliness and change and liberation all feature in a drama that is both brilliantly barmy but with surprising emotional depth. A dead body in a basement freezer is the best description (without giving too much away) of its sliding scale between the ordinary and surreal.

Watch Enid a Lucy, Dal y Mellt and Y Sŵn, even The Way, and you will find a penchant for the off-kilter, ironic, and darkly comic in Welsh drama. The spectral and otherworldly nature of realist pieces like Parch, Yr Amgueddfa and Gwledd also feel very representative of a certain aesthetic that continues into Pren ar y Bryn / Tree on a Hill. Such ingredients somehow work better when the Welsh language is weaved into them – something in its rhythm and pace and tone that differs from the English; that contains a sense of mystery and magic that forms part of the nation’s identity. In which case Pren ar y Bryn is recommended as the preferred watch. Though Tree on a Hill doesn’t miss out on so much that it can’t be just as enthralling.

Click here to watch either series (Welsh or English) on BBC iPlayer.

Reviewed by
Gareth Williams

Series Review, Bariau, S4C by Gareth Williams

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Bariau is the latest series to enter the realm of prison drama. With Time and Screw already making a mark in their respective ways, it is the turn of S4C to put a Welsh spin on the subgenre. Bariau follows the blueprint of the other two insofar as real-life stories inform the onscreen narratives. Verisimilitude is in vogue when portraying life behind bars these days. But while Bariau does not shy away from the dark realities, its soap-like presentation makes for palatable viewing.

The casting of Adam Woodward (Hollyoaks, Emmerdale) as Kit Brennan ensures that Bariau entertains popular appeal. He brings a slight melodramatic edge to this central villain, making him at once genuinely terrifying and ludicrously arrogant. He arrives with a real swagger, and fast becomes the controller of a wing that features a great cast of misfits. Glyn Pritchard is particularly good as the religiously-devout Peter, whose overbearing mother and anger management issues give some kind of insight into his incarceration. The focal point is Hardy however, played with a fascinating aloofness by Gwion Tegid. An air of mystery continues to surround him even as he becomes embroiled in the powerplay and blackmail of life in the cells. He gets dragged into Brennan’s world largely against his will, performing tasks with deadened emotion. He is intriguing to watch.

The relationship between George Lyle (Bill Skinner) and prison guard Elin (Annes Elwy) is fatefully believable. Brennan threatens them both with exposure unless they enact his plan, inevitably involving drugs. The way tension is built up by the searing music is nicely done (though a little too overbearing in episode five), especially in the final episode, where things come to a head in dramatic fashion. Not edge-of-the-seat thriller but still an enjoyable twist or two to keep glued to the screen. The bilingual nature of the show also adds a touch of finesse which plays into the reality of Wales’ prisons. It means overall that Bariau falls somewhere between Time’s grittiness and Screw’s humour: late-night soap opera, if you will, meant not as an insult but very much a compliment.

Watch the full series on BBC iPlayer here.

Reviewed by
Gareth Williams

Series Review, Anfamol, S4C, by Gareth Williams

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

A Welsh adaptation of Fleabag seems quite superfluous in the face of Anfamol’s success. For this is a production that takes the best of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s comedy and turns it into something original. First conceived as a stage play, the critical acclaim which it received has seen Rhiannon Boyle now adapt it for the screen. She has taken the frank, witty, dark and direct elements of her monologue and traversed them into a script that is punchy and pointed, hilarious and harrowing. The result is a five-part series that injects S4C’s schedule with something that is vivaciously fresh. Boundary-pushing at its best.

Bethan Ellis-Owen reprises her role as Ani, a forty-something single woman looking to become a mother on her own terms. Ellis-Owen brings a subtle sharpness to her emotions; able to portray dogged determination and inner brokenness with apposite aplomb. Her knowing side-looks to camera borrow unashamedly from Waller-Bridge; while the addition of fantasy sequences, particularly with exotic sperm donor Estevez, offer the kind of quirky aside that feels distinctly Welsh. (Think Parch or Enid a Lucy). There is a dark side to such visions however. For alongside the comic that, in part, comes from its overtness to sex and unabashed portrayal of the fertility process is the devastating effects of postnatal depression and the exacting reality of life as a single mum. Ellis-Owen manages to navigate these emotional shifts with ease; and in doing so, presents to us a character that is highly empathetic, and authentic in every way.

She is joined by a stellar support cast, of which Sara Gregory is the most prevalent. Playing Nia, a kind of nemesis to Ani, Gregory brings a chic strength to her character that cleverly masks a hidden life of sadness and despair. While publicly portraying herself as “Blueprint Mother” online, privately, Nia is struggling. Her birth-plan goes out the window; her marriage is distant, husband absent; and when Ani trolls her online, her success as an online blogger is left in tatters. But along with Ani’s seemingly perfect sister (played by Lowri Gwynne), the drama comes to a point where perfection is extinguished as a myth and vulnerability is celebrated in all its f***ed-up glory. Sticking two fingers up to the chauvinistic, infantile male sex at the same time, it becomes a powerful and thought-provoking piece on feminism, motherhood and mental health in the present age.

Anfamol continues S4C’s excellent batch of female-led dramas whilst offering something very different to what has come before. And though it may feel derivative of Fleabag, it is by no means a copy of it. It has its own distinct subject matter and significant narrative to tell.

Click here to watch the series.

Reviewed by
Gareth Williams

Review, Imrie, A Sherman/Fran Wen co-production, at Theatr Clwyd, by Gareth Williams

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

What is striking about Welsh play Imrie is its richness. Rich in language. Rich in description. Rich in lighting. Rich in characterisation. This coming-of-age story is like a rainbow bursting into life, pouring its colour out on stage with a vibrancy that reverberates throughout the whole production. Each element resembles a charged particle which, in collision, drives forward a powerful narrative about identity and belonging. It is a tour-de-force in aesthetics, as well as telling of its message.

Credit: Mark Douet

Elan Davies and Rebecca Wilson take on the roles of Josie and Laura in this two-part drama. They are half-sisters seeking to fit in in their own ways. It begins with Laura dragging Josie along to a party on the beach, she wanting to become one of the ‘in’ crowd while her sibling would rather be elsewhere. So while the former attempts to act ‘normal’, the latter runs off, after being made fun of, and finds herself alone with only the sea for company. And when from the water she hears a voice calling, a journey into an otherworldly tale takes place. This ethereal experience is captured brilliantly by the lighting that shimmers and shapeshifts across the three walls of the enclosed set. But it is also the flexibility and freedom of Davies’ physicality that produces beautifully an event which exists between the real and the imaginary.

There are parallels with Caryl Lewis’ recent novel Drift, particularly in relation to the female protagonist. Along with Disney’s Turning Red and The Little Mermaid, it is fair to say that writer Nia Morais has tapped into something bigger with Imrie. Certainly, that desire to break free from the expectations of family and (patriarchal) society burns strong here. To tie it in with the theme and symbol of water gives it a weight that bears down on the scale of contemporary classic. Its relevance is shored up by its exploration of sexual and racial identity. In particular, the conversation between the two characters at the end is thought-provoking, challenging and inspiring in its interaction with intersectionality. This is a further facet to the richness of Imrie, whose immersive soundtrack wraps the audience in its atmospheric tones which, along with the Welsh language, contributes to a mythic quality. Its basis in Cymraeg also adds a poetic lyricism to the dialogue which, though stereotypical, actually strengthens its value as a cultural expression of (self-)acceptance.

Credit: Mark Douet

Most definitely driven by Frân Wen’s passion for young people, when coupled with the Sherman’s support for innovative new Welsh writing, Imrie becomes a bold piece of theatre. Its message may be common but at its heart is an imagination that beats with such originality that it feels fresh. Celebratory of life, even as it depicts its struggles, Imrie reveals something of how identity blossoms, arising out from the depths to become all that we are, rich in colour. A play to be enjoyed whatever age you are.

Reviewed by
Gareth Williams

Review, Steeltown Murders, BBC Wales by Gareth Williams

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Steeltown Murders may be yet another Welsh drama in the ever-popular crime genre, but it is very well done on the whole. Telling the true story of how DNA was used in a pioneering way to solve a cold case in Port Talbot, it flits between the 1973 setting of the murders of three girls and the early 2000s with ease. Starring Philip Glenister, whose accent was nicely perfected through immersion into his Welsh roots, alongside Steffan Rhodri, who play the chief investigating officers, it is a drama that is understated, and effective as a result. Verisimilitude permeates its presentation, and is its greatest strength.

The aesthetic is beige and brown, particularly in its 1970s scenes. The “present” day has a drop more colour but remains blunted by a noirish sensibility. It suits the story and the location well, the unsolved murders hanging over the families and wider community like the smoke from the factories. When music is used, it is in a typically melodramatic way, especially over highly emotional scenes and end-of-episode montages featuring the various characters that come into play. The cast is large, a result of spanning over two timelines partly, but even when each is considered separately, Steeltown Murders feels like an ensemble rather than a two-man show. Glenister’s DCI Paul Bethall is well-drawn – strong-willed, single-minded, haunted by the past – as is Rhodri’s DC Phil Bach – dry-humoured, attentive, poised. But even bit-part characters such as Seb, played by Matthew Gravelle, husband to Sita (Natasha Vasandani), who was two of the girls’ friend, is complete enough to add real weight to the narrative, particularly in its final episode. Whether this is down to its basis in real events, and therefore people, is open to question but, even in spite of this, every actor appears to embody their character with respective heart and attentiveness.

There is the slight criticism towards exposition, and explanation of the forensic and scientific methods that sound plainly for the audience’s benefit. This takes away slightly from its realism which is nevertheless strengthened by the localised accents on show and a bilingualism which, though under-used, was still welcome insofar as representation is concerned. Never for a moment can Glenister be thought of as merely a star signing, his commitment to the role and the overall drama depicted as much in Bethall’s seriousness as his relationship with Steffan Rhodri. The two make a great pairing, sparring off one another with an ease and respect that lightens the dark tone of the narrative. They never dominate the screen however, meaning that the case itself always takes centre-stage even when their part in it is pivotal.

This four-part drama may not be ground-breaking in-and-of itself but Steeltown Murders does tell a ground-breaking story of how DNA technology was used to catch a killer. As such, it is simple but effective; good at what it does, without breaking any new ground.

Click here to watch the series on BBC iPlayer.

Reviewed by
Gareth Williams

Review, Y Sŵn, a Swnllyd/Joio/S4C film, by Gareth Williams

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

What a fascinating film Y Sŵn is. No sooner has its writer, Roger Williams, struck gold with cult horror Y Gwledd than his Midas touch turns to the marking of forty years of S4C with this: a striking production that is as offbeat and realist, telling the story of how the Welsh TV channel came into being. Featuring an all-star cast of Welsh natives who perfectly attune themselves to playing key public figures of the time, it successfully immerses itself in the optimism and rancour of Margaret Thatcher’s first-term as Prime Minister. Full of energy and a bursting palette of colour, it truly marks itself as a distinctly British yet uniquely Welsh film.

The aesthetic right from the get-go resembles that of Killing Eve. In big bold letters, we are introduced to CARDIFF. The year is 1979 and there is a rich seam of colour which paints a positive picture of urban Welsh life. Ceri Samuel (Lily Beau) works at the Welsh Office, taking us into a shiny Mad Men-style series of corridors and meeting rooms where we are also introduced to key players in the civil service and government. The clever contrast between the ebullient colour of the former and monochrome presentation of the latter quickly marks out the heroes and villains of the piece. It also represents the vitality and strength of a nation against a stuffy and outmoded political leadership. Other forms of pop art appear throughout to give the film a slightly off-kilter, comedic edge. This sets it apart from the more fictionalised social realism of films like Pride to become a self-referential melodrama that nevertheless manages to maintain a sense of seriousness in respect of the story it wishes to tell.

The fine balance between dramatic and comedic forms is supremely kept by the onscreen talent. Assisted by the magnificent make-up and wardrobe departments, each character stands at an acute junction between verisimilitude and caricature. Willie Whitelaw is perfectly realised in the bushy eyebrows pinned and preened on Mark Lewis-Jones’ face. Sian Reese-Williams ensures a finely-pouted, drably-accented portrait of a scruffy-haired Iron Lady. Rhodri Meilir could turn up his pristine English act no more as Welsh Secretary, Nicholas Edwards. They play the part of authority figures straight enough to make them believable whilst subtly exaggerating them to undermine the abuse of power which leads to their attempts to back down on a manifesto pledge to establish a Welsh language television channel. In contrast, Carys Eleri plays Ceri’s superior with an effervescent humour that makes her a sympathetic character. Eiry Thomas plays devoted wife Rhiannon with enough emotional heart that belies her stereotypical dress. And Rhodri Evan brings a warm smile and gentle demeanour to troubled protagonist Gwynfor Evans to ensure his battle against the political might of Downing Street and Whitehall is portrayed with sufficient weight so as not to become a trivial matter. This is an important story albeit told in a highly imaginative way.

Y Sŵn represents the very best of Welsh filmmaking, in both its content and production. The ending is a surprising yet interesting one, paying homage as well as subverting an oft-derided formula. Its effect is heart-warming, in such a way as to instil a sense of pride in Welsh identity, complete with self-deprecation and humour. It also speaks to the small budget with which it was made, creatively used and referenced in the 4:3 home-movie ratio. You wouldn’t know it though from its professional and glossy finish. Y Sŵn is a real labour of love which stands among the best in contemporary British cinema.

Y Sŵn is showing in selected cinemas throughout March 2023. Click here to find out more.

Reviewed by
Gareth Williams

Review, Pijin/Pigeon, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru/Theatr Iolo, Pontio, by Gareth Williams

 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Based on the best-selling novel Pigeon by author Alys Conran, this stage adaptation by Bethan Marlow sees Welsh and English subtly woven together, with every performance using integrated captioning in such a creative way as to lead me to undertake an experimental review in its honour:

The show is currently on tour. Dates and tickets can be found here.

Reviewed by
Gareth Williams

Review, Dal y Mellt, Episode One, Vox Pictures for S4C, by Gareth Williams

It could be that Dal y Mellt is S4C’s most ambitious drama to date. Episode one certainly promised much from a series that looks set to deliver. Adapted from the hit novel by Iwan ‘Iwcs’ Roberts, the narrative weaves mystery, comedy and crime seamlessly to create a world that is universally recognisable whilst being inherently Welsh.

The first thing to note is its scope. Dal y Mellt spreads across the country, taking in the busy streets of Cardiff and the beautiful vistas of Gwynedd in between visits to London Euston and Chester. Connections to Ireland via the Holyhead-Dublin ferry will come into play as the series progresses, making this a drama of ambitious scale. We are no longer confined to a narrative centred on small town Wales or even a singular region. Instead, Dal y Mellt combines the best of previous Welsh dramas to extend its reach to the whole of Wales and beyond. It does so not as a gimmick but in keeping with a kind of unspoken contemporary tradition of intimate character portrayals (Keeping Faith; Enid a Lucy), expansive landscape shots (Hinterland; Hidden), and a complex narrative web (Yr Amgueddfa; 35 Diwrnod). The cinematography, with its stylistic shots and trained lighting, ensures that it works by adding a touch of quality that underlines its movielike proportions.

Dubbed “a hoot of a heist”, there are already some familiar tropes that appear in episode one, including plans sprawled out on a table, secret meetings in an art gallery, and a car chase involving the police. What feels so fresh about this context however is that they’re given a Welsh spin. Gronw (Dyfan Roberts) holds down his drawings of a ship’s decks with a cup of tea and other items from his traditional farmhouse kitchen. The National Museum of Wales provides the backdrop to a conversation between wayward lad Carbo (Gwïon Morris Jones) and garage-owning gangster Mici Ffin (Mark Lewis Jones). Carbo drives through country lanes and takes a detour through some very muddy fields to get away from the cops. Each incident is tinged with humour which lightens the mood. The result is a series that is not gothic a la Peaky Blinders or violent like The Sopranos but nevertheless takes some of their ingredients and mixes it with a distinctly Welsh flavour. It means that the characters are all believable, reflective of their particular locations; and the story remains grounded even as the plot becomes more elaborate and outlandish.

Mici Ffin (Mark Lewis Jones) a Carbo (Gwion Morris Jones)

The characters of Mici Ffin and Les are worth particular mention from this first episode, Mark Lewis Jones and Graham Land making for an instantly likeable double act whose straight faces only add to their comedic value. The fluffy seats and dice dangling from the rear-view mirror of their Capri conjure up a Del Boy and Rodney type partnership which also expresses a lovable incompetence reminiscent of Horace and Jasper. Their dealings with happy-go-lucky protagonist Carbo are a delight to witness, the cheekiness of his responses toward them making him an affable rogue. Morris Jones brings a dexterity of emotion to the role to create a character of both confidence and vulnerability. It is a combination that wins admiration from the viewing public, no more so than in the final scenes, as we witness his fear and ingenuity play out whilst dangling from a forklift tractor. It indicates to Mici the importance of this lad in the events to come, events which remain very much a mystery at the episode’s end.

The eclectic soundtrack, with its reggae-inspired beats and operatic moments, reflects an expansive taste across genre, location and emotion. It is a drama of dark and light; witty and gritty; familiar yet full of mystery. Dal y Mellt is not easy to categorise, combining as it does various elements, but it definitely looks set to entertain audiences with a narrative full of adventure and intrigue. If Y Golau saw it go off the boil, this looks to be a series that brings S4C’s dramatic output back to something that represents their best.

The first episode will be broadcast on Sunday 2nd October 2022 on S4C at 9pm. You can then watch the full series on BBC iPlayer or S4C Clic.

Reviewed by
Gareth Williams


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