Hinterland/Y Gwyll has been a huge success for S4C and BBC Wales, and has also garnered a huge following overseas. It’s fairly unique in the fact that it’s filmed back-to-back in the Welsh language and then the English language, which has always seemed to me to be a tremendous undertaking. There’s no word on whether there will be a fourth series of Hinterland/Y Gwyll, but the BBC has announced that a new Welsh crime drama has begun filming, once again in both Welsh and English languages.
Welsh-language channel, we already know, is the home of Hinterland (or Y Gwyll as its called in its original tongue). We also know that the channel has a working relationship with the BBC (Hinterland appears on both BBC Wales and BBC4 in different forms), and now the two channels have announced that they’re partnering on a new series, billed as a ‘domestic noir’.
We do like a bit of Hinterland on this site, but getting it on-screen is a tricky-old business. In fact, it’s an incredible process – Welsh-language versions are produced for S4C, and then it’s re-filmed for English-language markets, like the BBC and Netflix. It sounds like a big-old faff, but seems to make commercial sense, although the rise in Scandinavian and Nordic drama and our being fine with subtitles begs the question: why can’t we just watch stuff in Welsh? Now creator and director and Ed Thomas has had his say.
Throughout this whole series, the spectres of Robert Owen, Brian Prosser, Iwan Thomas and the Devil’s Bridge children’s home have loomed large over proceedings. Ever since Thomas showed up at the end of series three, we’ve known that event at the Devil’s Bridge had been left unresolved. Now, in the final two episodes of this third series, we’re finally about to see the end game of this lingering story play out. It’s just a question of who survives.
NB: Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers
We’re progressing nicely in this third series of Y Gwyll, with some neat character progression and plenty of intrigue. However, if there’s a criticism of Y Gwyll it’s that each case Mathias and Rhys investigate follows a pretty standard routine: the duo gets a call, they go out, they investigate the scene (which usually means Mathias snaps on a pair of blue rubber gloves, and processes the scene meticulously) and then the interviewing starts, which is where Rhys comes in (her greater empathy and human connectivity often coming to the fore). But in tonight’s episode there was something different and new, and certainly something we haven’t seen before in this programme – the killer was revealed from the very first scene.
NB: Spoilers forthcoming
It’s very difficult to know how deeply to go into the plotline of Y Gwyll, if only because there are so many ways and places to watch it. I’m reviewing it after watching it on S4C – the show’s Welsh-language home – because it only seems and feels right. But other will watch it on the BBC next year and then, at some point, Netflix, on which it seems very popular with non-UK viewers. But a review has to be a review, which means spoilers (which used to be called details before people got their knickers in a twist over them) and discussion. Anyway, here’s what happened in episode four – the half-way point – of this third series.
NB: Like the man said: spoilers inside
Last week saw the return of S4C’s Y Gwyll (Hinterland) for a third series, and straight away it settled into a familiar groove: a grim tale of a harsh wind-swept world, people worn down by decades of feuds and battles, and secrets bubbling to the surface when they can’t be kept at bay any longer. Our first two-part story of the series saw Mathia and Rhys looking into the murder of local pastor Elwyn Jones. As ever, it was a slow, methodical trudge through the investigation, a pace and style that Y Gwyll has made its own.
NB: Spoilers inside