The Story of Welsh Art

BBC Two Wales/BBC Four

In a new three-part series, broadcaster Huw Stephens discovers the many treasures of Welsh art, following the story from prehistoric times up to the present day…

In this landmark three-part series, Huw Stephens explores what has long been a missing piece in the cultural story of Britain and indeed Wales itself – the story of Welsh art.

The Story of Welsh Art has now been nominated for a BAFTA Cymru in the category ‘Photography Factual’

In the first episode, Huw starts his journey on the island of Anglesey where he steps inside a prehistoric burial chamber to witness art in its earliest form. He sees an exquisite example of Bronze Age artistry and religious art delivers some of the most powerful and physically impressive pieces.  As artists moved their gaze beyond religion, the rise of portraiture began, with Hans Memling delivering the first known oil painting of a named Welsh person, John Donne, in the fifteenth century.

Scrambling up the side of one of Wales’s highest and most rugged mountains, Huw Stephens begins the second episode by retracing the steps of Richard Wilson, an 18th century artist who changed the course of art history and transformed the way Wales was seen by the world.
As the 19th century progressed, art and industry collided and the people who did the back-breaking work were depicted for the first time. Huw is shown a remarkable collection of 19th century portraits of named labourers, each with his own character and identity.
Escaping the dirt and noise of industrialisation, artists were drawn in increasing numbers to the unspoilt rural charm of north Wales.  Huw travels to Betws-y-Coed where, in the 1840s, an artists’ colony established itself in what was then a tiny village. 

In this final episode, Huw Stephens’ journey begins at the dawn of the 20th century with the artists who broke with tradition and depicted Wales in radical new ways.
Between the wars, industrial south Wales produced some of the most powerful art of the century; steeped in experiences of mining communities and the desperate poverty they endured. Huw visits Bardsey island to see how one artist immersed herself in its isolation and sketched island life whilst also examining the work of Kyffin Williams; a distinctive, dramatic landscape artist who established himself as the most popular Welsh artist of the 20th century. 

Contemporary art in Wales reflects a post-devolution self-confidence that allows it to look both forward and back. Huw learns how award-winning work took the patterns of traditional Welsh blankets and printed them on to the silver foil coverings given to refugees.  For his final stop, Huw visits Colwyn Bay where he meets the internationally renowned artist Bedwyr Williams whose work draws heavily on Welsh art history using humour and irreverence. It is a unique history, Bedwyr concludes, and one that makes him excited to be living and working in north Wales.

All episodes available on BBC iPlayer from Monday 1st March

 

Abbie Bolitho

With a background in current affairs and factual programmes, Abbie has been able to apply her research and organisational skills to a wide variety of projects in both English and Welsh. These include S4C's Nyrsys, Dim Byd i Wisgo and more recently Beasts - a series on the 'top 10' animals for children which is being sold internationally.

Adrian Grant

Adrian has worked on primetime shows including Emmy Award-winning ‘The Real Full Monty: Ladies Night’, BAFTA Award-winning ‘First Dates’ and more recently he has been Producing content for Channel 4’s True Stories.

Now a Development Producer at Wildflame, Adrian joins the team with an aim to apply his editorial knowledge and experience in developing new shows and formats for the company.

Alexia Barrett

Alexia graduated in 2020 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism Communications and Politics from Cardiff University, and is now kickstarting her career in TV Production. She started working with Wildflame as a Researcher on their Adventure Living History Series, Ultimate Viking.  Alexia achieved her first Network Researcher Credit on the Wildflame series, Michael Ball's Wonderful Wales. 

She will be working across our full range of factual output for UK and international broadcasters.

Cai Glover

Since joining Wildflame in the development team, Cai's worked on several productions using his skills as an editor, self-shooter and researcher including S4C's digital series Bwrw 'Mlan, BBC Bitesize History KS2, S4C's Dim i'w Wisgo and most recently as a shooting assistant producer on the second series of S4C's Nyrsys.

Carrie Smith

Carrie is an award-winning film-maker. She is a director, series producer and edit producer with experience across a wide range of popular factual content, including observational documentaries, popular factual and digital content. She is an expert access negotiator and has successfully secured access to several police forces across the UK, as well as multiple private businesses such as hotels and veterinary practices.

Carrie filmed, produced and directed The Greatest Gift which won Best Factual Series at the Bafta (Cymru) awards. Carrie has also produced behind-the-scenes content and created high-concept digital features for drama co-pro series for the BBC, Netflix & HBO, winning an International Webby award for her work on 'The Ballad of the Peaky Blinders'. Before joining Wildflame Productions, Carrie was a Senior Producer on a brand-new primetime competition format for Channel 4.

Catrin Jones-Shawe

Catrin’s career began in children’s television where she produced content for both S4C and CBBC.

Catrin has a passion for health-based documentaries and in 2019 won a BAFTA Cymru Award for best factual series for Velindre: Hospital of Hope (ITV Wales). Her most recent series, Nyrsys (S4C) is an observational documentary format highlighting the incredible work performed by nurses across Wales.

Celyn Williams

With a passion for history, Celyn has spent her time collecting and telling stories of extraordinary individuals from across Wales.

Her previous work includes a number of high-profile history productions including Time Team, and The Aberfan Wives Club (ITV).

For S4C, Celyn worked on the double Welsh BAFTA winning Adam Price a Streic y Glowyr and more recently, a living history series The 1900 Island (BBC).

Connie Fisher

Connie moved into the world of television after a career as a West End leading lady playing Maria Von Trapp in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Sound of Music.

With a passion for TV and entertainment, Connie leads the development of formats & features projects for Wildflame and works closely with broadcasters creating projects for both high-profile and emerging talent across the full range of factual programming.

Esme Horne

The last 10 years of Esme’s career has been dedicated to understanding the production process and supporting a creative vision from development to transmission. Since joining Wildflame in 2017, Esme has worked across the Wildflame slate: reinforcing the production management team and helping to assure all projects are run smoothly and efficiently.

Gareth Fisher

Gareth has extensive knowledge of the business of production across all genres. He has an outstanding track-record in controlling large production teams and multi-million-pound projects. Gareth has worked with all of the main UK Broadcasters as well as forging strong relationships with International Broadcasters and Co - Production partners.

Leona Cowley

Leona has been with Wildflame since its inception and has a wealth of experience in a senior production management role working on regional and high-profile documentaries being filmed in various exotic and remote locations across the globe. Her extensive experience spans some 25 years working across most programme genres.

Llinos Griffin-Williams

As a Bafta Cymru Winning Executive Producer, Llinos is our Creative Director following her many successes as Executive Producer, Factual and International Co-productions at Wildflame Productions. She leads on international content development, production and delivery of Factual Programming to Domestic and International Broadcasters and is part of the Wildflame Senior Management Board. Llinos is Vice Chair of RTS Cymru Wales and a member of Welsh Indies Council TAC. 

Lloyd Rees

Lloyd started his career working on Live Studio programmes; The One Show and This Morning before moving on to development roles at RDF and BBC Studios. Believing variety is the spice of life, Lloyd used his interest in consumer issues on a range of programmes such as The Big Con, Shop Well for Less and The Martin Lewis Money Show.

During his career he’s also worked on some of the biggest Factual Entertainment formats, including The Great British Bake Off, Dragons’ Den, First Dates and Race Across the World. Lloyd returned to Wales and joined Wildflame working on international productions and has gone on to work with us on Wonderful Wales with Michael Ball for C5 and a major new living history project for S4C about Evacuees

Manon Alice-Thomas

After graduating with a BA (Hons) from York St. John’s University Business School, Manon gained her first professional experience working in events management. She then completed an internship with Kate Borde at Cardiff based talent agency KBPM, and has recently undertaken a contract as Junior Assistant at the ‘InterTalent Group’, London, supporting the Chairman and Founder, Prof. Jonathan Shalit, OBE.  As a Television Production Coordinator for Wildflame, Manon supports the team across the slate of UK and international productions

Megan Roberts

With a background in Archaeology and Anthropology, Megan's passions lie with telling people's stories both past and present with real empathy and understanding. Having filmed in various locations all over the world, her previous work has included both award winning international productions such as The Wall and more recently delicate observational storytelling in Bois y Rhondda
Megan has joined the team on the international Vikings series and will be working across all Wildflame’s specialist factual programming

Mike Davies

Mike has accrued over a dozen years of experience in company and programme finance.  His expertise encompasses day-to-day financial transactions, managing company-wide spending against fiscal targets, preparation of monthly management accounts and forecasting. He is also responsible for day to day scheduling and running of Wildflame’s editing facilities.

Paul Islwyn Thomas

Paul is founder and CEO of Wildflame Productions and is responsible for the creative and business management of the company. With over 35 years’ experience in the industry, Paul has built an enviable reputation as one of the leading factual Executive Producers and TV Executives working in Wales. Throughout a distinguished career Paul has delivered hundreds of hours of programming for both UK and international broadcasters. He is currently Chair of the highly acclaimed ‘It’s My Shout’ Training Scheme which offers exciting pathways into the industry for all championing diversity and social inclusion.

Sam Lumley

Sam has worked extensively on some big format shows such as ‘The Great British Bake Off’, ‘The Voice’, BBC’s ‘Little Mix: The Search’, and more recently Channel 4’s new ‘Good With Wood’.  

Now at Wildflame, he has joined the development team and will use his editorial experience to help create and evolve future projects and shows alongside the list of broadcasters we work with.

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