llywela: (Cymru-CastellCaerdydd)
In case anyone is interested and hadn't already noticed, the third and final season of Hinterland began on BBC Wales tonight - available to English viewers via iPlayer, and probably also on BBC4 or one of the other subsidiary channels.

Y Gwyll

Dec. 19th, 2016 06:32 am
llywela: (scene - seascape rainbow)
So Y Gwyll came to an end last night - I believe this third series is the last they are going to make, seeing a three-year slow burn background story thread come to a dramatic and shocking conclusion, and MY GOODNESS!!! I now need to go back and re-watch from the start.

Not a perfect show, by any means - I do wish the characters were allowed to bond more, in place of some of the moody staring, but that was the aesthetic chosen: the story was always at the heart of this show, rather than character dynamics, which always remained a little spiky and ill-defined. No BFFs in this group. And yet how satisfying it was to see Tom gathering his team around him when the investigation blew up, to see them choosing to trust him and pull together to unravel the web of corruption they'd unearthed.

Great stuff. The English language version Hinterland should air on BBC4 sometime in the new year.

stuffs

Nov. 23rd, 2016 09:20 pm
llywela: (Cymru-CastellCaerdydd)
Another random flyby update, because time she does fly! I can't believe it's the end of November already - how did that happen? Where did the time go?

For whoever cares, season three of Y Gwyll continues apace on S4C - the English version Hinterland should pop up on one or other of the BBC channels sometime after Christmas, so watch out for that. There's a really huge plot twist at the end of what on S4C was episode two, but on the BBC will probably be episode one, since they tend to merge the two-part stories into one longer episode shown on one night - so watch out for that!

In other telly news, I've been following the new Doctor Who spin-off, Class, and loving all the location-spotting! The location used for the Coal Hill Academy site is just up the road from my office, our shiny new Hadyn Ellis building (I remember when that was just a new build project we talked about endlessly in Estates Liaison meetings, and now look at it). Once I'd recognised it, I remember all the fuss when they were filming up there, and all the fake flower petals all over the road! Also, April's house is just around the corner from where I used to live, by St John's Church. Oh, and there are plots and characters as well, I guess...

In Old TV news, My Power of the Daleks DVD arrived today - a shiny new animated version of a completely missing Doctor Who adventure. Just when we thought the Classic Who DVD range was over and done with, they produce this! I sat down after work intending to watch just an episode or two, but ended up marathoning all six. I really enjoyed it - I'd read the novelisation previously, so already knew the story, but had never made it through the recon. However cheap the animation, it apparently made all the difference for me! The story is long and slow-paced, it's true, but I found it tightly plotted with strong worldbuilding and a sense of tension that escalated inexorably from episode to episode, while the Daleks are really creepy here - so manipulative and subversive. The wholesale slaughter in episode six is a bit grim, but certainly sells the high stakes, while Troughton makes an immediate impression and is well and truly cemented as the Doctor by the time we reach the end of the story - the success of this first ever regeneration is the reason the show is still on air today, 50 years later. Great stuff.

In work news, I am very happy for my colleague J, who has just gone off on adoption leave after being matched for adoption at last - they were approved way back in February, but had to wait until October before they were matched, and now have their children at home living with them at last. A little boy who just turned two, and a baby girl who will be one in December - just 14 months between them and much younger than they were expecting, so it's all a bit intense and chaotic for them at the moment, but such a precious time as they get to know one another and bond. Hooray for J and M and happy new home to little N and G.

In family news, my older sister has a diagnosis at last, almost five years after she was rushed into hospital with crippling migraine and intracranial pressure three times higher than it should be. Well, she has a partial diagnosis, at least, after finally, finally persuading a consultant to look at all her symptoms instead of each one individually. They have decided that she has fibromyalgia and osteo-arthritis. But the outcome of her sleep trial for apnoea isn't in yet, and they still don't know what to make of the oligoclonal banding found in her spinal fluid, so the diagnosis remains incomplete. But at least she is beginning to get somewhere at last.

In other family news, look at this baby getting all tall and chatty!

In the first picture, that's her reaction every time her absolute favourite Bing comes on the telly. Layla-May adores Bing. In the last pic, she is explaining at great length and volume why it is vitally important to stop and bang on every bench we pass. For science. She also tells lots of babbling baby jokes and then laughs at them. Funny baby. One day, she might even have hair.

I have become Yo, incidentally. And she calls herself Yay-Yay!

In other, other news, have some pretty pictures I took around and about the city this autumn. Every single one of these was taken at the heart of the city centre, believe it or not. Having nearly four miles of unbroken parkland stretching through the middle of city has its benefits!


llywela: (DW - eyes)
Is it mean-spirited to spend Halloween hiding in the back room with all the lights switched off? I just really kind of resent the commercial hijacking of an ancient pagan tradition - and I especially resent that it's become an excuse for all the neighbourhood kids to learn extortion. So I'm hiding.

I haven't updated in a while, since free time is becoming a rare commodity. I have found time to check out the new Doctor Who spin-off, though - Class is currently airing on Saturdays on BBC3. I think I'm well and truly past the target demographic, but I'm enjoying it anyway, it's been promising so far. I've always enjoyed Katherine Kelly's work and I'm loving her as Miss Quill, and I like the other characters too (although the show does fall into the eternal telly trope of hiring 20-somethings to play teenagers). Plus, it's the first high school show I've ever seen that actually reflects the kind of ethnic demographic that was my personal high school experience, so there's that (in my A'level history class there were eight students, of which two were white, the rest from a variety of backgrounds - none of us noticed until the teacher pointed it out, because we didn't think of each other that way). And, you know, it's the Whoniverse. I'm liking it more than I liked the last few seasons of the main show!

Also on my tellybox currently is the second season of Poldark, which is still very beautiful and all the actors are very lovely, and the show is doing a better job of balancing and interweaving sub-plots than it did in season one, although it continues to deviate from the source material in sometimes inexplicable and damaging ways - I really wish Debbie Horsfield had more faith in Graham's novels as written. I also wish she'd read the entire series before attempting to adapt it! She has admitted she only read each book as she adapted it, and it shows - she's had to backpeddle more than once as a result of this approach. But so far she's doing a lovely job with Dwight and Caroline, and since I'm all about Dwight and Caroline when I read the books, that's what I care about most!

But Poldark is no longer on my live viewing schedule, because Y Gwyll began its third season last night on S4C, delegating Poldark to catch-up viewing. It's the first time I've managed to catch Y Gwyll for the Welsh language version on S4C - two seasons in a row I've managed to completely miss it thanks to not realising it was on, and had to catch the bilingual Welsh-English version Hinterland on the BBC a few months later. So the next few Sundays are going to be all about Y Gwyll, which remains as atmospheric and as plot dense as ever.

In other news, family stuff remains difficult - my little sister is not coping with motherhood, the combination of autism and post-natal depression sending her into something of a spiral, leaving her intensely vulnerable and easy prey for negative influences, to which she is sadly susceptible. One so-called friend in particular is taking advantage in a big way, and nothing anyone says or does seems to pull her out of the spiral. So the burden of childcare falls to my parents, who are applying for a child arrangement order to safeguard the baby's future. Layla-May, however, remains oblivious to all of this - she is the happiest little soul in the world (except when you turn a camera in her direction, whereupon she becomes very solemn). At 13 months she is very tall and very active - she's not just walking confidently, she spends all day running, non-stop! One day she might even have hair...


But my Mum and Dad are in their late 60s, and it's a big burden for them to take on, so I am stepping up as the support system and am currently spending a lot of time being Aunty 'Ro-Ro'.

Hinterland

Jan. 3rd, 2016 07:49 pm
llywela: (scene - gwawr ar y cantilever)
I've been enjoying the new series of Hinterland, which is showing on BBC Wales at the moment. It's a solid police drama. The cases are intriguing enough and atmospheric enough to hold my interest. The cinematography and scenery are always stunning (my Mum was complaining the other day that it makes Ceredigion look a bit bleak and grey, but I've been to Aberystwyth enough times to know that the sun doesn't ever come out there). I love having a show on TV that attempts to reflect how bilingualism actually works in Wales. It's always fun spotting old Pobol y Cwm actors (my close neighbour Yoland Williams hasn't shown up yet, but give it time: we don't have that many actors in Wales). And Richard Harrington always puts in a strong performance as DCI Tom Mathias.

My one complaint, really, is that I'm kind of bored with brooding heroes tormented by the angst of a tragic past. They're a dime a dozen in this kind of show. I think I'd appreciate the show so much more if it subverted the genre so that instead of focusing on Tom angsting over having to do his job while wallowing in self-pity, it centred instead around Mared and Siân: these two sharp, professional women constantly frustrated in their efforts to solve cases by the emo antics of their superior officer!

Hinterland!

Apr. 8th, 2015 11:37 am
llywela: (flower-yellow)
So, on bank holiday Monday there was a special feature-length episode of Hinterland. It aired on BBC1 Wales, but probably not anywhere else save maybe BBC4, so I doubt many people saw it. The full-Welsh version of the special was on at the New Year, but I missed it, so I was glad to catch the bilingual airing. I enjoyed it as much as the previous series. It's still more procedural than anything, but we did move a few steps forward with Mathias's story, learning of the family tragedy for which he blames himself, plus meeting his wife at the end there (hat a coincidence that she should turn up just after he's bared his soul like that at last!). I'd like to see more fleshing out of the other main characters - we know a bit about Mared without ever really focusing on her in-depth, but Sian and Lloyd we only ever see in their professional capacity. Really, though, this show has in common with Midsomer Murders, in a sense, that the regular characters serve as our entry into the actual story, which is the murder and the people involved, rather than the story being about the regular characters with the plot merely there to give them something to do. Both are valid storytelling styles and I found I still really enjoy Hinterland. The cinematography is always stunning and gives me hiraeth like whoa even if I do already live in Wales! I get all nostalgic for Aberystwyth with every episode and find myself longing to abandon the coast for the mountains!
llywela: (flower - bluebell)
So here's a cute pic of a mummy goose and her goslings
P1100040

I know a few of my flisties expressed interest in Hinterland back when it aired on BBC Wales earlier this year, but weren't able to watch it, so here's a head's up that it's being shown nationwide on BBC4 beginning next Monday, April 28. If you like your detective drama on the noir side, this show is for you!
llywela: (Cymru-CastellCaerdydd)
A belated happy new year to all my flisties and friends - blwyddyn newydd dda!

Last night I caught the first episode of the new BBC Wales police noir drama Hinterland - which already aired on S4C in its Welsh language version, Y Gwyll (The Wild). So good they made it twice, you see, which it has in common with the Philip Madoc detective drama A Mind to Kill back in 1994. Hinterland is set in the wilds of Ceredigion in West Wales and belongs to the same genre family as Broadchurch, The Fall and The Killing, sullen and brooding and atmospheric. In fact, the Danish TV network DR, which made The Killing, bought Hinterland's international rights before it was even filmed, in English or in Welsh.

Hinterland sees new-in-town DCI Tom Mathias investigating murders with his team consisting of DI Mared Rhys, DC Lloyd Ellis and DS Sian Owens, supervised by a rather meddlesome Chief Supt Bran Prosser. The focus so far is on the investigations, rather than on the personal lives of the officers, but already after episode one there's a reasonably good sense of who these people are and some excellent performances by the actors - and while Alec Hardy took 8 episodes to solve a single murder in Broadchurch, Mathias and his team wrapped up their first murder inside 90 minutes here! The inaugural case was intriguing, really sucking me in to the mystery and the mood, and the characters all felt like real people, living real lives and working real jobs. I didn't see Y Gwyll (I wish I had now) to know how that version dealt with language (100% Welsh or bits of English here and there? I suspect the former), but Hinterland is very much a bilingual drama representing a bilingual community. Central character Tom Mathias is English speaking, and the bulk of the action revolves around him - moody and intense with the best of 'em, and nicely played by Richard Harrington - but his right-hand woman Mared Rhys (Mali Harries) is a Welsh speaker and so are most of the team and much of the community they work in, so although the bulk of the dialogue is spoken in English, Welsh speaking characters speak (subtitled) Welsh to each other, only switching to English when an English speaking character joins their conversation, which is a very real reflection of how language works in the bilingual heart of Wales where the show is set, allowing the writers to play with the way true bilingual people drop back and fore between languages almost without noticing they are doing it, sometimes within the same sentence.

And then there's the landscape, which is wild and beautiful in that part of the country, shown off to great effect here. The show is set in and around the seaside town of Aberystwyth, which I know well, and seeing it up there on screen made me realise how long it's been since I visited and how much I miss it - and I was feeling wistful and nostalgic for Aberystwyth anyway after seeing on the news how badly the seafront was torn up by the storms this last week. Watching the show, I found myself longing to visit the village of Devil's Bridge to see that gorgeous waterfall for myself (hopefully sans corpses) - and it's worth observing that the legends mentioned by Mared Rhys are very real, allowing insight into Welsh culture and mythology.

The Guardian has a good write-up of the show here, published way back last summer when Y Gwyll was about to air, while Wales Online has a review of Hinterland's English language debut here.

All in all, I really enjoyed this first episode, and am now looking forward to the next - which apparently won't be till Monday 13th January, for whatever reason.

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