With rolling hills, stunning castles, stunning coastlines and three national parks, it’s no wonder Wales has become a favorite haunt for production crews.
This year, stunning Welsh scenery has featured in everything from a Netflix hit to popular BBC drama and most recently a reality TV series on ITV.
“Our diverse, cinematic Welsh venues are almost characters in themselves,” said writer Pete McTighe of Wales’ use as a backdrop in BBC One drama The Pact.
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The female-led series, which aired in May, took advantage of these venues with Rhymney Brewery, Merthyr Tydfil and Pontsticill Reservoir.
Other highlights include the incredible Gwrych Castle in Abergele, home to I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! competitors for the second time, and surrounding areas.
This year, viewers got to see more of Wales as less restrictive Covid-19 measures meant trials could take place off the grounds.
A Welsh coastline, scenic mountain roads, a forest and a quarry all featured in the first episode.
Here’s a look back at some of the shows from the past year that highlighted just how beautiful Wales is.
I am a celebrity
In November, Gwrych Castle became the magnificent home of I’m A Celebrity for the second time.
The popular show swapped Australia for the seaside town of Abergele due to “continued uncertainty” around Covid-19 and international travel and, despite Storm Arwen’s shutdown of the series three nights in a row , the place did not disappoint.
After an incredible trip to the castle itself, which included celebrities crossing beautiful terrain, flying over the Welsh coast, and ultimately an essay on an abandoned quarry, viewers were able to re-examine the magnificent Grade I listed fairytale castle throughout its splendor.
Gwrych Castle is over 200 years old and sits on a hill overlooking the Irish Sea and the Clwyd Valley. Here you will find everything you need to know about the castle.
And in addition to speeding up the castle renovations, I’m A Celebrity has had a huge impact on Abergele and the people who live there. You can read what store and restaurant owners had to say when we spoke to them here.
The six-part drama, starring Breaking Bad’s Laura Fraser and former Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh, landed on BBC One in May and featured gorgeous areas across Wales.
The Pact, which followed the story of five friends, sudden death and a web of lies, started in a small studio in Cardiff and took advantage of ‘epic locations and incredible talent from Wales to the both on screen and behind the camera ”.
Among the places covered were:
- Mixed viaducts of Pontsarn and Cefn, Merthyr Tydfil
- Pontsticill Reservoir, Brecon Beacons National Park
- Rhymney Brewery, Blaenavon
- Whitecross Street, Monmouth
- St Mary’s Church, Marshfield, Cardiff
Writer Pete McTighe said: “Our diverse and cinematic Welsh venues are almost characters in themselves; the beauty and gloom of the woods, the honeyed warmth of the brewery, the cool grandeur of Evans Mansion, and the scale and the threat of impending viaducts add both production value and the atmosphere. “
The stars of the show also spoke about filming in the area.
Julie, who played Nancy, said: “I mean all the places we shot in were just beautiful, we shot in Merthyr, Usk, Monmouth, it was just… I mean, I love it. Wales.” Who doesn’t ?!
Keep the faith
This year marked the third and final series of Keeping Faith.
The final installment of the BBC Wales / S4C production starring Eve Myles followed Abercorran lawyer Faith Howells and her efforts to keep her and her family thriving following the disappearance (and reappearance) of her husband Evan in the first series.
Abercorran is not a real town and most of the show is filmed in Laugharne in Carmarthenshire – so much so that Laugharne and her striking atmospheric beauty is often said to be one of the main characters in Keeping Faith.
Most of the exteriors were filmed in the estuary, the castle and the main street as well as just down the road at Pendine beach.
One of the main locations is the Howells family home with its magnificent garden terrace which overlooks the estuary. However, the house is only used for the exterior as the interior is actually a studio in Cardiff.
A full list of other locations used in the third series can be found below:
- Atlantic College / Chateau de St Donats, Vale of Glamorgan
- Hugh James Solicitors Central Square, Cardiff
- Broadcasting House, Llandaff, Cardiff
- Rose Fairchild House, Vale of Glamorgan
You can read more about these locations in detail here.
The worldwide hit, which aired its third series on Netflix in September, is also filming in Wales.
The Wye Valley, Newport, Penarth and Rhondda Cynon Taff feature prominently in the popular series starring Gillian Anderson and Asa Butterfield.
Those who log on from all over the world want to learn more about the stunning Welsh sites – from the University of South Wales Caerleon campus, where the fictional Moordale High is based, to the Tintern Old Railway Bridge where many characters ride. bike.
This year both the Rhondda bowl, a retro-looking bowling at Tonyrefail, and The Penarth waterfront, featuring both the graduation party and the pier, was used.
Pitches also included Margam Park, Llandogo and a store there called Browns Village stores, Paget Rooms in Penarth and, on the outskirts of Wales, Symonds Yat, where the characters Jean and Otis’s magnificent hillside home is.
Hidden / Craith
The hit crime drama Craith returned to our screens in October.
Shot back to back in Welsh and English, the Welsh version, Craith, is produced for S4C, while Hidden is produced for BBC Wales in English.
The third and final season brought viewers back into the shadow of the dark slate-strewn mountains of Snowdonia.
Over the past four years, however, the series has toured the Breacon Beacons, Anglesey and Tremadog and featured locations such as Blaenau Ffestiniog, Lake Trawsfynydd, Bangor University, and Menai Bridge.
Henrhyd Falls also featured as the beautiful waterfalls, the highest in South Wales, were used for the captivating and shocking opening scenes of the first series of Hidden.
Speaking to WalesOnline ahead of the last series airing, lead actress Sian Reese-Williams said: “We are a very small country and we do high quality programming. I get tweets from people in Arizona, from Auckland, Finland and everywhere.
“People everywhere love Craith, saying they’ve never seen anything like it before. Love it!”
The four-part thriller starring Anna Maxwell Martin and Rachael Stirling premiered on ITV in September.
Most of the series took place in an incredible Welsh estate with large houses and a tranquil environment located just outside Cardiff.
Speaking about the choice of location, writer Sophie Petzal said: “I always had a very clear picture in my head of what this street would look like. I wanted something that was bright without being too cartoonish or silly. .
“I wanted it to be juxtaposed with the dark underbelly of history with detached houses that looked really beautiful and idyllic but not recognizable from a specific part of Britain like Manchester or Bristol.
“I was looking for houses with their own uniqueness that did not belong to a particular period or region. It was quite difficult to find this in Britain, but I was able to participate in the conversation throughout and I was very lucky the site manager found a street that was exactly what I imagined.
“It has white houses that look comfortable and ambitious. Overall, it looks compelling and inviting even if the subject matter is dark and a bit twisted.”
The production team also turned to Barry and worked with the old Hang Fire Southern Kitchen site.
Hang Fire co-owner Shauna Guinn said: “When the production team first came to me to talk to me about using the restaurant, they walked in and was like, ‘Okay, this is not quite a chicken shop. “When they saw how lovely the restaurant was they completely rewrote the scene to be just in a good restaurant.” You can read more about it here.
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