Fflur Dafydd's first Welsh-language book in 10 years

This week sees the publication of Fflur Dafydd’s first Welsh-language book in ten years. Lloerganiadau (Y Lolfa) is a collection of the author’s memories of childhood and her teenage years in Ceredigion under the light of the moon. This is Fflur’s first book since Awr y Locustiaid in 2010. Her award-winning novel Y Llyfrgell (2009) was developed into a popular film, Y Llyfrgell (The Library Suicides).

Fflur Dafydd says:

“It’s a collection of personal essays – not an autobiography as such, but writings on periods of time in darkness or by moonlight which are the backdrop to every story. It varies from discussing a child’s experience of being lost in the dark and a teenage girl going on an adventure with her boyfriend to a tired mother, awake all night feeding her baby. There are also writings about female astronauts, films, wild parties and friendships. There aren’t many creative non-fiction works in Welsh about the lives of ordinary women and their relationships with other people.”

“My parents have moved away from Llandysul now, so it feels like the end of an era and I felt an urge to record it. Somehow my research on the moon (for a play to be performed at the National Eisteddfod) merged with my personal memories, and allowed me to look at different periods in my life through the phases of the moon. The idea of recording my childhood has been at the back of my mind for years.”

Fflur Dafydd’s play Lloergan was written for the National Eisteddfod in Tregaron –and followed a woman from Tregaron going to the moon in 2050. This book isn’t the same as the play but it certainly provides context. Following the safety restrictions put into place because of the Coronavirus, the Eisteddfod was postponed, with the hope that both it and the play will happen next year.

Fflur Dafydd is a freelance writer and musician. Her second Welsh-language novel, Atyniad, won the Prose Medal at the National Eisteddfod in 2006, and she won the Daniel Owen Memorial Prize in 2009’s National Eisteddfod wth Y Llyfrgell, later released as a film in 2016. Her novel Twenty Thousand Saints won Hay Festival’s Most Promising Author Award in 2007. She is the creator and scriptwriter of the popular S4C drama Parch and she has scripted other TV programmes such as 35 Awr and 35 Diwrnod, and has received many BAFTA Cymru nominations. A new series by Fflur Dafydd Yr Amgueddfa (The Museum) is being filmed at the moment, and will be on S4C next spring.

Lloerganiadau by Fflur Dafydd is available now (£9.99, Y Lolfa).

35 Diwrnod returns to great acclaim

35 Diwrnod, S4C

This week Fflur’s thriller series “35 diwrnod’ returned to S4C and BBC iPlayer. Fflur was nominated for a Bafta Cymru for her work on the spin off series “35 awr” in 2019 and now she’s back as writer for the fifth series 35 Diwrnod: Parti Plu (35 Days: Hen Party).

Beth (Gwenllian Higginson) and her husband to be Dylan (Geraint Todd) are going to have a wedding that promises to be second to none. With 35 days until the big day, everything is in place: the designer dress, vintage bunting, a sushi buffet and guests to die for.

On the guestlist is the old gang from school – the best friends all together again for the first time in five years. A lot has happened in that time – so how do they now come to terms with this and rekindle that relationship?

Fflur said: “The story opens with a group of women (and one man) in a wedding dress fitting, 35 days before the wedding. At the heart of the story is the fact that this group have known each other since they were young but there are tensions in their friendship following something traumatic that happened five years ago.”

The series has already garnered some great reviews, and was featured in the Sunday Times ‘Critics’ Choice’ section on Sunday, April 26th, commended for its “funny and bold” script. Welsh TV critics Dylan Wyn Williams and Sioned Williams have also praised the series, with Dylan Wyn Williams noting that it “could be one of the best of the successful 35 brand yet” while Sioned Williams said on Radio Cymru that the series “offers great entertainment and keeps you on the edge of your seat.”

35 Diwrnod continues this Sunday at 9pm, available on S4C Clic and BBC iPlayer with English subtitles.

Since the first series in 2014 the brand has won several Bafta Cymru awards and has been adapted into English for Channel 5 as 15 Days. It has also sold internationally and is now available on Britbox in America and Rialto Channel in New Zealand.

35 Diwrnod returns with an exciting new mystery

Ella Peel (Katie), Angharad (Emmy Stonelake), Bethan (Gwenllian Higginson) and Rhian (Fflur Medi) at the hen party shot in Tenby.

Filming has finished and post-production work is well under way in the latest series of the popular crime drama 35 Diwrnod (35 Days) which will air on S4C from Sunday, 26 April at 9.00pm.

Last year the iconic S4C brand changed from 35 Diwrnod to 35 Awr with all the action happening over 35 hours in a country hotel. The writer Fflur Dafydd was nominated for a Bafta Cymru for her work on the series and now she’s back as writer for the fifth series 35 Diwrnod: Parti Plu (Trans: 35 Days: Hen Party).

Beth (Gwenllian Higginson) and her husband to be Dylan (Geraint Todd) are going to have a wedding that promises to be second to none. With 35 days until the big day, everything is in place: the designer dress, vintage bunting, a sushi buffet and guests to die for.

On the guestlist is the old gang from school – the best friends all together again for the first time in five years. A lot has happened in that time – so how do they now come to terms with this and rekindle that relationship?

Fflur Dafydd tells us a little bit more about the drama which runs over six episodes: “The story opens with a group of women (and one man) in a wedding dress fitting, 35 days before the wedding. At the heart of the story is the fact that this group have known each other since they were young but there are tensions in their friendship following something traumatic that happened five years ago.”

“Also, we become aware that one of the friends is absent, but we don’t know what has happened to her. Is she still alive? Where is she? There is an element of mystery from the very beginning surrounding this wedding and there is a tension there which we don’t quite understand but becomes more obvious during the series.”

“There will be a body, like every other series of 35. At the beginning of the first episode, we see a veil in the water, and a girl lying face down. We know from the outset that there has been a murder and we work back from there – as we do with every other series of 35. But despite the whodunnit element – I think with this particular series that the characters and their secrets become far more compelling.”

S4C’s Director of Content Amanda Rees said: “The ‘35’ brand has been very successful for S4C and is now one of the channel’s most iconic series. The production company Boom has succeeded in capturing the imaginations of our viewers and kept them on the edge of their seats through working with top Welsh talent both in front of and behind the camera. I am delighted that this exciting and innovative drama is returning to S4C this spring.”

Since the first series in 2014 the brand has won several Bafta Cymru awards and has been adapted into English for Channel 5 as 15 Days. It has also sold internationally and is now available on Britbox in America and Rialto Channel in New Zealand.

Producer Paul Jones of Boom said: “The challenge with every series of 35 Diwrnod is not only to create a new and interesting world but to once again come up with new ways of killing people!

Also, in the latest series, if you notice, it is not completely clear who the corpse floating in the sea is. So the viewer has an extra task this time, not only to work out who the murderer is but also to play the game and try to work out if it is the bride’s corpse floating on the sea or someone else?”

Fflur nominated in the BAFTA Cymru Awards

Fflur has been nominated in this year’s BAFTA Cymru Best Writer Category, for her thriller series 35 AWR. She is up against TV giants Andrew Davies (LES MISERABLES) and Russell T Davies (A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL). All three have a long and shining history with the BAFTA Cymru Awards. This is Fflur’s second writer nomination and the 8th nomination for one of her productions, including nominations for her feature film THE LIBRARY SUICIDES and beloved Welsh-language drama PARCH.

Final episode of '35 awr' celebration

A special BAFTA Cymru screening of the final episode of Fflur’s series 35 awr took place on Sunday night, 24th of February, at yr Egin in Carmarthen. There was a Q&A with members of the cast and key creatives – Fflur (writer), Paul Jones (producer) and Rhys Powys (director.) Gillian Elisa was thoroughly entertaining in talking about the creation of Val and Jâms Thomas also spoke about the amount of time spent in make-up creating the burnt-out Haydn. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive – read the final reviews from The Killing Times and Wales in the Movies here:

The Killing Times Review

Wales in The Movies Review

 

Preview: Final episode of 35 AWR + Q&A (Carmarthen)

On Sunday, 24th February 2019 at 7:30pm, the final episode of Fflur’s thrilling series 35 Awr (35 Hours) will be screened at Canolfan S4C Yr Egin, Carmarthen, in partnership with BAFTA Cymru.

Boom Cymru and S4C will present the final installment of the eight-part series that is set in a jury room, featuring 12 people deliberating over a murder case.

Fflur herself is a multi-BAFTA Cymru-nominee (best writer for The Library Suicides, best drama series for Parch) and the series stars the likes of Gillian Elisa (Craith) Lisa Marged (Parch, Wolfblood) and Jâms Thomas (Torchwood, Gwaith Cartref).

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with cast and key creatives.

Public tickets can be reserved here.

Follow the series every Sunday at 9pm on S4C and catch up with episodes you may have missed on the iplayer.

 

Fflur wins Hartswood Prize

Hartswood West, ScreenSkills and BBC Writersroom Wales have joined forces to find two up-and-coming TV writers with a strong connection to Wales. Part-funded by the ScreenSkills High-end TV Fund, Fflur and writer Alan Harris will receive a six-month bursary to develop original drama ideas. Following this, they will be given the opportunity to present their work to the BBC. Additionally, they will benefit from expert advice and guidance from established Welsh screenwriters Russell T Davies (A Very English Scandal, Doctor Who) and Cath Tregenna (Torchwood, Law & Order) as part of the scheme.

The writers were chosen following a rigorous selection process, during which they had to pitch their submitted idea to a judging panel, which included Ben Irving (Drama Commissioning Editor for Wales, BBC) and Brian Minchin (Executive Producer, Hartswood West).

Fflur said: “Having long admired the work of Hartswood Films, it’s fantastic to finally get an opportunity to work alongside them to develop a really exciting pitch. I am very passionate about Welsh representation on screen, and am always eager to divert from the easy stereotypes to show the rest of the world how funny and quirky and diverse Welsh people are. I entered this programme because I’m invested in creating a really engaging Welsh story which will connect with audiences across the UK, and it’s wonderful to have someone as experienced as Russell T Davies overseeing the creative process.”

Kaye Elliott, Director of high-end TV for ScreenSkills said: “ScreenSkills is dedicated to developing talent and crew across the whole of the UK. We are very pleased to support this new scheme with the High-end TV Skills Fund, enabling talent to grow in Wales. We look forward to seeing how Fflur and Alan develop their work in the next six months.”

Helen Perry, Development Producer at BBC Writersroom Wales said: “Wales harbours real TV drama writing talent and the Hartswood West Scheme confirms this. The competition was tough. But I’m delighted for Alan and Fflur. I can’t wait to see their work come to life, hopefully on BBC Network TV, very soon.”

Brian Minchin, Executive Producer at Hartswood West said: “Fflur and Alan are ambitious, talented, and bursting with ideas. Wales has long been a great place to make TV and with fantastic writers like Fflur and Alan making their voices heard it will surely stay that way.”

 

 

 

The verdict on 35 awr…

This week the third episode of Fflur’s thrilling crime drama ’35 hours’ (35 awr) will be broadcast. The series has been dubbed by TV critic Sioned Williams as “a sophisticated, contemporary drama that is extremely compelling,” and was described by BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens as “wonderful – tense, funny, twists, great plot, brilliant acting.”

You can read further great reviews below from Wales in the Movies and The Killing Times TV. Stay tuned. It’s going to be a rollercoaster!

Wales in the Movies – read here

The Killing Times TV – read here

Get the Chance – read here

35 Awr

Sunday 9.00pm, S4C

English subtitles available

Available to watch on-demand at s4c.cymru, BBC iPlayer and other platforms

A Boom Cymru production for S4C

 

35 Awr: Gripping, edge-of-seat drama to kickstart 2019


‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’ – and in the context of winter viewing, this is the series that will surely save any dull January; the ensemble murder mystery drama to grab your attention and outdo any Agatha Christie or drunken game of Cluedo.

The series is an exciting new project between S4C and production company Boom Cymru, combining stylish directing, subtle acting, and skilled scriptwriting by Fflur Dafydd, in eight hour-long episodes, starting on S4C on January 6th.

Boom Cymru producer, Paul Jones, summarises the drama in figures: ‘Onscreen, the action happens over a period of 35 hours – with 1 murder court case, 12 jury members, 3 deaths, 2 accidents, and a great many personal problems’.

‘Add to this a sex scene that hasn’t been seen on S4C before, and we hope it makes for exciting stuff!’

Although part of the popular 35 Diwrnod series, 35 Awr will follow a slightly different path, with a restriction on the usual timeline, a faster and more gripping feel from the beginning, and two whodunnit stories running parallel.

These two stories include the present-time plot of the jury members, as they try to manage the court case and their complex lives in a jury room and a country hotel; and the story of the criminal case in question, which is gradually revealed through flashbacks and the present tense.

Playing the 12 jury members is a brilliant ensemble cast, including Gillian Elisa, Christine Pritchard, Jâms Thomas, Lisa Victoria – in her first role since Pobol y Cwm, Tara Bethan, Iestyn Arwel, Rebecca Hayes, Dafydd Llŷr Tomas, Lisa Marged, Aled Pedrick, Carwyn Jones and Gareth John Bale; also starring in the drama are Ioan Hefin and Lowri Palfrey, and two promising new actors, Aled ap Steffan and Sion Eifion.

Between them, they play a multitude of interesting characters, including a sad and troubled defendant, a fussy librarian with OCD, a scheming young girl, and a confused and emotional mother – and none of the actors were told about eachothers’ scripts, nor what part they play – if any – in the opening scene’s death.

Like the previous series, it is this suspicious ‘death’ that first grabs our attention, and during the opening moments of the first episode – before we turn to the jury’s proceedings – we get a sudden flash-forward of the horrific scene towards the finale, as the figure of someone on fire flails on the hotel steps.

And if that death is absolutely horrific, the court case murder creates discomfort in another, sinister, complex, emotional and tragic way, leading to a very real threat to the jury members’ safety – from many directions.

It’s this threat which means that the 12 – who are in the middle of discussing the case – must be moved to a country house hotel to await further instructions; but of course the wine flows, tongues loosen, and tensions rise, causing bickering, fighting, sexual relationships, scheming, deception and more…

Author Fflur Dafydd, who also wrote the popular series Parch and the exciting film Y Llyfrgell, said, ‘The absolute irony of course is that a group of biased and arbitrary people whose own lives are so messy, are responsible for debating a complex court case and determining a stranger’s fate’.

‘I think it’s the quiet, profound character of Steve who best sums this up when he says: ‘We’re just people – imperfect people with all sorts of prejudices – and we are supposed to work out what the truth is’.

‘The characters are in an unusual ‘pressure cooker’ situation due to the stress of the case and the restriction on their freedom – and the whole thing has the potential to spin completely out of control.

‘But despite the dark events, inevitably some humour also stems from the fact that 12 people with nothing in common must spend so much time together!’.

To watch the whole thing unravel, tune in to S4C weekly at 9pm on Sunday evenings, from January 6th.

35 Awr

Sunday 6 January, 9.00, S4C

English subtitles available

Available to watch on-demand at s4c.cymru, BBC iPlayer and other platforms

A Boom Cymru production for S4C

Fflur Dafydd’s PARCH nominated for Best TV Drama at the 2018 BAFTA Cymru Awards

The hit drama series picked up its second consecutive nod in the TV drama category following last year’s nomination.

Fflur Dafydd, who is sole creator and writer of all episodes to date, was also nominated in the Best Writer category last year for her feature film Y LLYFRGELL/THE LIBRARY SUICIDES, a film which was nominated in 4 categories in 2017 and won the BAFTA Cymru award for best director.

Series 3 of PARCH aired in March with Carys Eleri reprising her role as a female country vicar forced to face up to her own mortality after she discovers a major brain aneurysm. Ryland Teifi and Wanda Opalinska also starred in the critically acclaimed series, described by TV critic Gareth Williams as “another example of the high quality television drama that is currently being produced in Wales… a drama which weaves romance, mystery, fantasy, and family drama together brilliantly.”

Read the Gareth Williams review HERE.