Get your St. David’s Day fix on TV
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus or Happy St. David’s Day to those of us who haven’t quite mastered the Welsh language! Today we celebrate the man who apparently advised soldiers to wear leeks in their hats to avoid friendly fire during a Saxon battle.
In his name, we recommend to you six daffodil-wearing, sheep-shearing, rugby-loving, male voice choir-attending (how many stereotypes can we manage in one sentence?) TV programmes and films to ignite your passion for Cymru.
Gavin and Stacey
Where would we be without Gavin and Stacey? Putting Barry firmly on the map, James Corden and Ruth Jones’ sitcom ran for three incredibly successful series before ending in 2010. As if you don’t already know, the show follows the love-at-first-sight eponymous couple as they try and make their relationship work between Essex and Wales. The Welsh contingency provide some unforgettable characters including Dave “Dave’s Coaches”, naughty but nice neighbour Doris and the incomprehensible Dick Powell.
Gavin and Stacey is available to watch on Netflix.
The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain
This 1995 film tells the story of two English cartographers who arrive at a sleepy Welsh village to measure their “mountain”. Unfortunately they discover it is just short of the 1000 feet required. Set during World War I, the villagers demonstrate their wholesome community spirit by working together to turn their “hill” into the mountain it deserves to be. With a rousing Welsh male choir giving the soundtrack to the film, it is heartwarming and quirky – with Hugh Grant thrown in too, what’s not to like?
You can watch the whole film on YouTube.
Another instalment in television’s master plan to make us all hate each region of Great Britain. In an incredibly similar vein to Geordie Shore and TOWIE, The Valleys sees a group of young Welsh people from the South Wales Valleys as they move to Cardiff to try and “make it”. Think boobs, bums and alcohol. All the time, for two seasons. Charlotte Church called it “a horrific representation of the country that I love” – so it must be worth watching.
You can buy The Valleys on iTunes.
The immensely popular sci-fi show has an intense love affair with Wales. Now produced in-house by BBC Wales, Doctor Who has its home in Cardiff. It can be difficult to believe that many of the show’s fantastical locations have actually been filmed in either the Welsh countryside, somewhere in the capital city or along its expansive coastline.
The famous, heartbreaking separation scene between the Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler supposedly took place on a Norwegian beach (Bad Wolf Bay). In actual fact, it was all shot on Southerndown beach in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Seven seasons of Doctor Who are available on Netflix.
Written and directed by Richard Ayoade, this coming-of-age film set in Swansea stars Craig Roberts as 15-year-old Oliver Tate. Oliver has two simple objectives: to lose his virginity by the time he’s 16 and dampen the rekindling fire between his mother and her ex-lover. The first plan begins well after pursuing cool girl Jordana, but Oliver must navigate the trials and tribulations of a new relationship.
Submarine is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
Starting life as Sam Tân in 1987, this stop-motion classic of children’s television was set in the fictional town of Pontypandy – an amalgamation of Pontypridd and Tonypandy. The “hero next door”, Sam, spends his time tackling the multiple fires that seem to plague the small town in the Valleys. The beautifully made programme features memorable characters like Italian restaurant owner, Bella Lasagna; West Indian bus driver/fireman Trevor; and Elvis lookalike… Elvis.
Both the original and modern series are available to watch on Amazon Prime… but we recommend you stick to the classic – nothing beats it!