Category Archives: Craith

REVIEW Craith (S3 E6/6)

How often have we all looked forward to a series finale only to be let down by huge, gaping plot holes, unexplained moments, tepid endings or a set-up for further series? The good news is that Craith provided none of these letdowns. And thank goodness – lest we forget, this was not only the series finale but the finale to the whole show, too.

No pressure then.

I’m happy to report that not only did Craith supply an ending worthy of the series but produced one of the great show finales of all time. It was satisfying on every level imaginable – it was tense, pacy (for Craith), emotionally draining but also satisfying, and nicely constructed leaving absolutely nothing left to question. Everything was tied up beautifully.

We left episode five with Siôn and Glyn on the run, and the real worry was that the older brother was going to kill himself and his brother, to extinguish the burning pain, grief and guilt for good.

So it was a matter of extreme urgency that Cadi and Owen found out where they went. They set up camp at Siôn and Glyn’s home to see what they could find, and previously established that the person who had killed Ifan Williams had also killed Father McEwan. Knowing what they now knew about what Ifan Williams had done to Branwen Thomas, it had to Siôn.

As Cadi went to see Hannah to find out more about Siôn and the unstable mood he was in prior to taking off, and Owen went with a patrol car to Siwan’s to make sure she and Gusto were safe, I was just struck with the quality of the script. These people were actually having conversations with each other – adult, nuanced conversations about love and loss, guilt, regret and grief… this was such grown-up, involving television.

And then Cadi, back at the Thomas house began looking for clues and piecing things together.

And I was so pleased about this because in among all the emotional devastation of this series, it still proved Cadi was and still is a damn-fine detective. She saw the cuttings in Siôn’s scrapbook and saw where his mother worked as a nurse, and then asked where he had recently been working.

Awel Fan.

She and the team raced to the scene, and then proceeded on her own into the half-derelict building to find the brothers (we’ll allow her the hero moment because she truly deserves it). By this stage, I was on the edge of my seat and my heart was in my mouth. Craith will never by Line Of Duty, but this was as close as it got to that kind of intensity and tempo, mainly because Glyn was so uncomfortable in that situation with a clearly unhinged and desperate Siôn and it was a race against time to rescue him.

Within half an hour Siôn (who was played by Sion Ifan superbly well) was in the interview room, and Glyn – when at one stage it looked like he would go down with his brother – was safe and well with Hannah. It was quite the start to the episode.

And then we got something really interesting and unexpected – Cadi not just trying to elicit a confession from Siôn (which came, soon enough) but also something more… she demanded to know the real reason behind his actions. Why he done what he done. Again a very Craithy characteristic.

With Siôn not willing to cooperate, there was a twist of sorts when Cadi spotted something on the CCTV images in the bar where Siôn had bumped into Ifan. Most TV detectives would just not be bothered about finding out the whole truth, all they normally want is a confession and celebratory pint afterwards.

But Cadi wanted to know. Why? Because she revealed her own mother was taken from her at an early age, and she sympathised and empathised with him. When he broke down and explained everything, it felt like a breakthrough.

(I can’t remember if Cadi has disclosed this information before, but I was surprised at the revelation about her mother. It helped to fill in a few character details, and why she often can’t fully commit emotionally to people.)

We got more emotion, too.

Owen interviewed Glyn with Hannah alongside him as his appropriate adult, and Owen was on the edge of tears when he essentially confirmed Siôn has been acting suspiciously. And despite the potentially confusing and emotional overload of the situation, it was Glyn who eventually told Siôn that everything would be alright. Incredible maturity.

(I should also add, during Siôn’s interview he said that Ifan had drunkenly laughed and told him about starting the fire in the bar, which is where found out who killed his mum, and that it was Dafydd who had confessed to Father McEwan about what Ifan had done.)

The only thing left to wrap up was Cadi’s impending move. Over the course of the past few episodes, Cadi has looked increasingly uneasy about the idea of moving to Liverpool. So it was no real surprise when she decided to turn down the job and stay in north Wales, and for us it was a relief of sorts. Perhaps even a punch-the-air moment.

As she snuggled up with Rachel on the beach in front of a fire, you understood that it took courage for her to do choose this path. She opted not to run away, but instead allow herself the hope of happiness.

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you do endings.

And of course, the way she decided not to leave home tied into the general theme throughout this series – the home under threat.

We saw Lea being threatened with eviction from her family council house, we saw Siwan and Mair having to contemplate leaving their beloved farm, we saw Father McEwan leave his spiritual home in the most ultimate way possible, and we saw Cadi and her sisters say goodbye to the family home. We also saw Cadi grappling with the idea of leaving the station and her job.

So to weave such an involving and engrossing story around this theme of the home and the threat to it, was clever.

It was backed up by outstanding performance across the board – especially the likes of Sion Ifan and Justin Melluish, as well as Sian Reese-Williams, who has found with Cadi a role that fits her like a glove and vice versa.

So we say goodbye to Craith once and for all; a series that has taken on the baton from Hinterland/Y Gwyll with such aplomb and confidence. We know that Ed Talfan, Hannah Thomas and all at Severn Screen have a well-defined style, both aesthetically and thematically. But with Craith they have honed and improved upon their previous success, which is a heck of an achievement.

It’s surely the best Welsh crime drama we’ve seen, and once again shows how crime drama can tell powerful, emotionally affecting stories featuring characters that have fallen through the cracks – the abused, the mistreated, and the traumatised. The series has never provided an excuse for their actions but has instead sought to give valuable and dramatically viable context. And that is perhaps Craith’s greatest legacy.

Paul Hirons

Episode rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Series rating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.






REVIEW Craith (S3 E5/6)

At the end of episode four, we saw Siôn Thomas strangle Father McEwan in his vestry.

Up until that point, even if we suspected it and hoped it wasn’t true, Siôn was revealed to be a double-killer, all because his beloved mother had been the victim of an arson attack all those years go. In the space of a couple of weeks, he had found out that the blaze wasn’t an accident, who the culprit was, and why the Father was implicated.

That’s a hell of a lot to take on and process, especially as someone as bitter, helpless and perpetually grief-stricken as Siôn.

And this is what Craith does so extraordinarily well – it explores the grey areas of morality, producing stories and characters who are riven by grief, guilt, silence and unrelenting sadness. It doesn’t let them off the hook for their actions, it gives them context. And in a world full of crime dramas that present crimes – and the reasons for committing them – as black and white, cut and dried and one-dimensional, it really does set Carith apart.

In this respect, I can compare Craith to another superior member of the genre, Cracker. I honestly can’t remember characters so utterly destroyed by a set of complex emotions and circumstances that drive them to do bad things… when the grief and the sadness become twisted, something more; something else.

So the race was on now for Cadi and Owen to join up the dots and catch up to the space we as an audience were in. They had some necessary work to do first, namely interview former Williams farm worker, Daffyd O’Connell. He confirmed what we already knew – an incident that still stuck in his craw was when he found a drunk Ifan with a Jerry can the night after the fire that killed Siôn and Glyn’s mother.

From that moment, Cadi and Owen raced to brief their team on the Thomas brothers and what happened to their mother.

But before them, we got some outstanding scenes between Siôn and Hannah, where he fully displayed his tortured soul – from panic, to self-loathing, to anger, to guilt, to love, to remorse and to violence all in one scene. And of course, we got Glyn.

There’s been an element of Kes to this story thanks to Glyn’s touching relationship with his birds. Throughout the series, we’ve seen him try to ward off a pesky hawk to protect his flock, and in this episode he finally managed to vanquish the bird of prey thanks to a novel technique taught to him by Hannah. This gave Siôn the opportunity to use this as a metaphor, and explain to Glyn that he had just done what he had done – he takes care of his own when they’re under threat… and does what needs to be done, however unpleasant it is.

As he drove away with Glyn into the night on an ‘adventure’, you knew this was going to end well.

And in the background of this excellent episode, Cadi seemed conflicted as well – would she actually move to Liverpool?

Paul Hirons

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.





REVIEW Craith (S3 E4/6)

This gently evolving, dark story really quickened at the end of the episode and revealed… dun, dun, duuuuun… the killer!

Up until that point, this third and final series of Craith was doing a fine job of spinning plates and inhabiting the realm of the whodunit. Which was quite unlike Craith, because, as we all know, in the past it’s been more of a whydunit than whodunit.

But before we get to juicy bits, I must say that this story – as Cadi and Owen did their thing and slowly made their way around a list of leads – has really grabbed me by the emotional goolies (technical terms, obviously). Cadi’s mixture of guilt, anxiety and melancholy were just stunningly portrayed by Sian Reese-Williams.

Cadi left her family home for the final time and the sadness with which she had to do so was palpable. And this new job of hers… you get the impression she feels guilty for leaving Owen and her team behind. Or at least that’s what I got from her scenes. She sleeping at the station, she’s going in and working through the night rather than be with family and friends… it’s like the station is a character all in itself and she’s trying to let it down lightly, care for it, be with it. No wonder she can’t let anyone else like Rachel in.

Cadi finally told Owen about the job and he was great about it… but you could still sense the difficulty she finds in tearing herself away.

As we all know, Craith is not your normal crime drama, and these explorations of nuanced, grown-up feelings and emotions sets it apart from many of its contemporaries.

And then we get to Siôn and Glyn. I was hoping against hope that Siôn was not the man who killed Ifan Williams. But I really should have seen the set-up coming – the two brothers getting closer, overcoming adversity and looking out for one another. You’re desperate for these two to get some luck, stick it out and be ok.

But things are never ok.

Siôn really went off the rails tonight. Another fight at the building site, and a rant about the dehumanising nature of society, how people are wronged and forgotten… you could see before your very eyes that he was building up to something; that the gasket would well and truly blow at any moment.

Elsewhere, two contrasting things happened. One, the hitherto creepy Father McEwan didn’t feel so creepy anymore as he helped Lea try to keep her home. I genuinely thought that he had some skeletons in his closet (because let’s face it, priests and crime dramas never go well together), but three-quarters of the way through this episode I thought to myself, ‘what if this geezer is actually just a nice bloke helping people in his community?’

Meanwhile, over at the Williams farm Siwan (Rhian Blythe is really great in this series) and Mair are finding out just how much of a shit Ifan was – he left them with huge debts and no other option than to sell up. The ensuing conversation about selling the farm was a heartbreaker, especially as that place is all that Mair has known in her life.

So these two characters – Father McEwan and Ifan – and their characters were being reinforced before our very eyes for good reason.

The final scene saw Siôn confront the Father in his vestry. It all came out.

How the father had taken confession from someone – the someone – who had started the fire that killed his mother. And that person, of course, was Ifan Williams. Siôn, already fuming with life’s injustices and so angry and bitter and hell-bent on revenge, strangled the Father, too, in a fit of rage.

Damn. Poor Siôn, poor Father McEwan… poor everyone involved in this dark, sad story. And poor Glyn. It’s always the people left behind who carry the heaviest burdens.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.




REVIEW Craith (S3 E2/6)

Last week’s series opener compellingly laid the platform for the third and final series of Craith, and offered up an intriguing murder mystery as only Craith could – present a number of suspects in bleak and beautiful landscapes, each of them living hard, unforgiving lives.

As we all know by now, Craith is more of a whydunit than a whodunit, but this series is being presented like the latter. In the frame is Siôn Thomas, an obviously tortured soul who is carer to his younger brother Glyn, who has learning difficulties.

For all the world it looks as though Siôn did something to Ifan Williams, perhaps in defence of Glyn. We saw in the last episode that he had a bit of go at one of the youths who had accosted Glyn outside a local convenience store. And he had a go again at one of them in this episode.

And we also got some tantalising glimpses into why Siôn might be so tortured. A labourer, he’s currently working on a big restoration/conversion called Awel Fan. It looks like an old school perhaps, or even a religious building of some kind. We’ll no doubt find out soon exactly what it is, but as Siôn saw the old play area with a rusty swing still just about intact, he seemed to slip into some kind of reverie.

And then we get on to Father McEwan – one of the creepier, potentially manipulative and passive-aggressive priests you’ll see on TV. He’s been helping young Lea Price in her rehabilitation (we’re yet to find out fully what happened there, but Father McEwan sure does), and he definitely knows Siôn – during one night visit to Glyn, he told the returning older brother that his mother would not have held on to such bitterness.

So what does Father McEwan know about Siôn’s past, and what happened?

We also got to find out more about the murder victim himself. Taking over the prize-winning farm from his father, he became negligent and forgot to vaccinate the herd of cows generations of his family had worked so hard to cultivate. The whole herd had to be terminated, which did not make Ifan a popular man, especially with former family friend Daffyd O’Connell.

With Father McEwan flaoting around, Siôn and perhaps even Glyn, O’Connell and then – right at the end – Siôn’s rival at the building site, Piotr Korecki seen smacking the victim outside the rugby club on the actual night of his murder on CCTV… you can see why this series has more of a whodunit feel to it.

Which is no bad thing, and slightly different for Craith. However, all the themes, all the tropes and all the beautiful photography is still in place. You feel yourself drifting along with it, drawn into the landscapes and the damp, dewey feel, the downtrodden characters and the soft-hardness of it all.

There is one thing that’s different – Cadi. We knew from last week’s opener she had gone for a job interview, and now we find out that she got it. A DCI in Liverpool. As she looks around the office, you can tell she’s conflicted. And when she tells Rachel, the news does not go down well at all.

So it’s all change… but you sense that Cadi can’t let this one go just yet.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 4 out of 5.


REVIEW Craith (S3 E1/6)

One of my personal favourite crime dramas is Craith (or Hidden as its known in the English language), and it’s not just me – it has developed a real cult following during its run, first in Welsh on S4C and then in English on BBC Four.

Its return is bittersweet. Yes, we get new Craith, but this is its third and final series, and an opportunity to tie up loose ends, give the characters we’ve come to love that development and that fitting farewell.

In our recent podcast episode with star Sian Reese-Williams, she told us that this final series was suitably ‘Craithy’. And she really wasn’t kidding – this first episode has everything you love about the series, both thematically and aesthetically.

As regular viewers of the show will know, the key to Craith is the economy of… well everything. Shots are often framed like still photographs, we rely on facial expressions and an economy of language and the pace is the complete opposite to something like the corkscrew Line Of Duty. Craith is what Craith undeniably and unshakeably is, and it’s often all the better for it.

This third series starts off in intriguing fashion. We all know that Craith presents us with whydunits rather than whodunits, but things don’t start with a murder – they start with a smartly-dressed DCI Cadi John shaking hands with a higher-up after what looks like a job interview. With the death of her beloved father, the problems with her sisters and the relentlessness of the job itself, could this be the way that Cadi moves on?

She’s soon shaken from her post-interview relief when she receives a call from Owen – a body has been found in a stream on some farm land. And this is interesting. Cadi attends the scene in her trademark boots (yes!) and overcoat, but underneath she’s still wearing her smart clothes and is wearing a full face of make-up. This feels symbolic somehow, and looks as though she has one foot in her old job and another in perhaps something new.

But then we’re on our not-so-merry way, meeting characters that have a bearing on the this story. A creepily benevolent priest who’s looking out for a young woman who has recently battled substance abuse issues, the gang of smokers and users who she hangs around with, the conflicted wife of the deceased (who went by the name of Ifan Williams) who, on the one hand, doesn’t care too much that her husband has been murdered but does care deeply about the son that he’s left behind.

And then there are brothers Siôn and Glyn Thomas. Siôn is an angry, tormented man, working in construction and on building sites and quite obviously deeply unhappy. At home is Glyn, a young man with Down’s Syndrome who is often the prey of pin-headed bullies. Their bond is obviously tight, and while it’s not explicitly said in this episode, it’s becomes fairly obvious that Siôn has done something very bad indeed, perhaps kill Ifan Williams. Why? We’ll no doubt find out why, but you do get the feeling that Glyn has something to do with it.

Once again, Craith is exploring forgotten people in forgotten places – those people inhabiting the edges of society that often often struggle to make ends meet, have no escape from crushing realities and often make bad decisions and suffer the consequences.

It’s engrossing and mesmeric in its own way (so few words are spoke in the first 20 minutes it’s almost like a silent movie), and with Cadi and forensic investigator Rachel’s relationship evolving in front of our very eyes as well, we get both an intriguing murder and some decent character development.

I can’t wait to see what happens.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 4 out of 5.



First trailer for Craith season 3 revealed

We all know that Craith (Hidden) is just around the corner, and now S4C has released the first trailer.

In this series, DCI Cadi John (Sian Reese-Williams) and DS Owen Vaughan (Siôn Alun Davies) will be called to investigate when a local farmer’s body is found in a stream.

And, of course, it will remain true to the original format of asking ‘whydunnit’ rather than ‘who’ committed the cruel and violent crime.

Viewers across the UK will have the opportunity to watch Craith on BBC iPlayer, before Hidden airs on BBC One Wales in 2022.

Before then, it premiere on Sunday 10th October on S4C.

Craith: Series three transmission date confirmed by S4C

Another series that’s coming back – and one we can’t wait to watch – is Craith (Hidden).

The landmark Welsh series, that infiltrates the mind and soul like no other, premieres on S4C on Sunday, 10th October. The third and final series consists of six weekly episodes.

Sian Reese-Williams, who plays the lead character DCI Cadi John, said:

“In the first two seasons we ask, is someone born evil or does having bad things happen to them, make them do bad things? In this series, that theme is even stronger. It’s an emotional roller coaster.”

The drama takes us back to the shadows of the bleak slate-strewn mountains of Snowdonia.

Filmed back to back in Welsh and English, the Welsh language version, Craith, is produced for S4C, while Hidden is produced for BBC Wales in English.

This time around, DCI Cadi John (Sian Reese-Williams) and DS Owen Vaughan (Siôn Alun Davies) will be called to investigate when a local farmer’s body is found in a stream.

And, of course, it will remain true to the original format of asking ‘whydunnit’ rather than ‘who’ committed the cruel and violent crime.

Viewers across the UK will have the opportunity to watch Craith on BBC iPlayer, before Hidden airs on BBC One Wales in 2022.

Series one and two of Craith will be available on S4C Clic as a Box Set from Wednesday 22 September, to give viewers the chance to catch up with Cadi and her partner DS Vaughan’s story from the beginning.


Craith: Sian Reese-Williams says goodbye to Cadi John as filming wraps on series three

Craith star Sian Reese-Williams has said goodbye to character DCI Cadi John.

The third and final series of the Welsh crime drama lands on S4C this autumn and Reese-Williams bid an emotional farewell as filming wrapped on the final instalment.

Showing an image of cast and crew, she said: “Final day, all together in HQ yesterday.

“Gonna miss swinging that lanyard and telling people what to do.

“How do you stop time, please.”

When a third series was commissioned, producer Hannah Thomas said: “As with previous series, we will be veering away from the traditional ‘whodunnit’ and asking the question ‘whydunnit’ as we explore the impact of a brutal murder on the wider community. DCI Cadi John will be back at the helm of the investigation, whilst simultaneously navigating changes in her personal life.”


Craith season three: Sian Reese-Williams confirms filming start

In great news for fans of Welsh crime drama, Craith star Sian Reese-Williams has confirmed filming has begun on series three.

Taking to Twitter, Reese-Williams shared an image of a clipboard with ‘Slate 1, Take 1’ written on it.

She captioned the image: “Right then…”

Reese-Williams and co-star Siôn Alun Davies will return as DCI Cadi John and DS Owen Vaughan in the series, which is shown first on S4C in its native Welsh language, and then on BBC Four in English.

Producer Hannah Thomas said about series three: “This series has been a real joy for us all to work on and we’re looking forward to being back in North Wales amongst the splendour of the landscape. As with previous series, we will be veering away from the traditional ‘whodunnit’ and asking the question ‘whydunnit’ as we explore the impact of a brutal murder on the wider community. DCI Cadi John will be back at the helm of the investigation, whilst simultaneously navigating changes in her personal life.”

More news as we get it…