Hinterland: creating stories out of the landscape

Monday 30 December 2013, 11:00

Ed Talfan Ed Talfan

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Every nation needs a detective show to call its own. Wales bizarrely didn't have one so we wanted to put that right with Hinterland. We were also passionate about working with Richard Harrington; we had all worked with him before and felt that there was an intensity about him that he'd bring to the part (which I think he delivers in spades).

Richard Harrington as Mathias. Image copyright: Fiction Factory/S4C/All3Media/Tinopolis Richard Harrington as Mathias. Image copyright: Fiction Factory/S4C/All3Media/Tinopolis

In terms of the location, obviously it's a back-to-back show so we were looking for authenticity in both English and Welsh. It would have been difficult to develop the series in one of the urban centres, like Cardiff or Swansea so we decided to go for something more in the Welsh heartland.

We ended up going with Aberystwyth because there is a stark beauty to it. It feels like the last place - it's the end of the railway line and there's an inherent drama to it because of that.

All four stories were really grown out of the landscape. Episode one focuses on Devil's Bridge. Two and a half years ago I went there and took some photos. It was November, raining, there were no leaves on the trees and everything was covered in moss. The Hafod hotel next to it was wonderfully imposing and I thought, 'we have to have an episode that uses the legend of Devil's Bridge'.

Each of the episodes was grown out of things we discovered around there. The research process was terrific as we got to discover a new part of Wales on a personal level, but in terms of story it was an area that just kept on giving.

Richard Harrington and Mali Harries. Image copyright: Fiction Factory/S4C/All3Media/Tinopolis Richard Harrington and Mali Harries. Image: Fiction Factory/S4C/All3Media/Tinopolis

The landscape of west Wales bizarrely hasn't really been seen on network television. It's a stunning place though sometimes quite tricky to film in. There are no motorways in Ceredigion and we were filming from November through to May.

There were two days where we had to shut the shoot down due to snow. It was quite hostile for a couple of weeks in March when we were filming in a forest and it was -8°C. But in episode four, the sun finally came out and we had a couple of glorious weeks on the marshlands in Borth. It was nice to see the cast and crew eating ice creams at last instead of freezing!

We wanted Hinterland to be an indigenous Welsh drama. The show is top-to-toe Welsh talent - Welsh producers, Welsh directors, Welsh writers, Welsh cast and a Welsh crew. We wanted to raise the bar to show what is being done in Wales with Welsh talent. Our guiding principles were that we wanted Hinterland to be grown-up, dark and sinewy and to have an energy and a boldness.

Ed Talfan is the producer of Hinterland. You can watch the first episode of Hinterland on Saturday 4 January at 9.30pm on BBC One Wales.

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Comments

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  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 1.

    I can't believe that this is only being aired on BBC 1 Wales. Why isn't it on the main BBC 1 so that the English can appreciate the talent here in Wales?

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 2.

    I agree with Mavis, and I want it to come to BBC America too! The whole area's landscape, from dramatic mountains to sand or grey-pebbled beaches, with its pastel seaside houses and its lonely slate-roofed farms, is so interesting. And the last stop on the train! I agree - very dramatic.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 3.

    Fantastic, such a shame not on UK wide BBC. Hope it will be on iplayet

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 4.

    It is !! I just enjoyed it hugely via iplayer as I am not in Wales but had heard about it. Well worth repeating for wider mainstream BBC audience. Lots of talent and great scenery all excellently filmed. Devil's bridge is a fantastic setting. Looking forward to future episodes.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 5.

    Thought this was a great program, kept me on the edge of my seat, can't wait till the next episode.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 6.

    Brilliant acting by all concerned. I agree the programme should be viewed on mainstream BBC to show once again the talent and scenery available in Wales. Devils Bridge was a showstopper. Just can't wait for the next episode. 5*****

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 7.

    Brilliant! I was very excited with what I had read about the programme before it aired and I haven't been disappointed - it even makes me realise how I ought to investigate Welsh classes now I am retired, especially now I am back in my homeland after 40 years away. Move over Scandi-noir and make way for Welsh black - can't wait for the next episode.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 8.

    Excellent idea, acting and location.
    Agree it should be BBC mainstream
    Not had a welsh detective series since the superb Philip Madoc did DCI Bain.
    Keep up the good work for Wales.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 9.

    Thanks for all your comments. BBC One Wales is available throughout the UK on Sky channel no. 952, Freesat 964 and Virgin 864, or watch out for Hinterland showing later in the year on BBC Four. You can also catch up now on iPlayer:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03pn6hg/Hinterland_Episode_1/

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 10.

    I was lucky enough to be a regular extra in this series, and thoroughly enjoyed my time on set with actors and crew, and now seeing the end result - both Y Gwyll and Hinterland. What you see on screen is what we experienced - wet, sunshine, sleet and snow in March in lashings. This is what makes the cinematography so exceptional here, as it was for real, no fabrication. There was one day when I wore three pairs of socks to cope with the extreme temperatures outdoors at 10pm at night. By rolling the episodes out at different times and on several platforms (S4C, BBC 1 Wales and finally BBC 4), it allows the public to view them in a new light and language setting. Y Gwyll isn't identical to Hinterland in post production. I will be watching again next week as I am an avid crime detective fan, and in particular when it is filmed on your doorstep. Hope the producers write more for DCI Mathias!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 11.

    This was well worth the wait and as a Welsh learner, has been great for hearing some Welsh spoken. Now I would like to watch Y Gwyll but can't find it either on i-player or as a DVD. Any suggestions as to where or when it will be available?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 12.

    Really enjoyed the show. Watched it on iplayer.
    Should be shown on mainstream tv. fab
    Cant wait for next episode

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 13.

    Like Wallander, only better. Why is it not on mainstream BBC?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 14.

    Y Gwyll was on S4C before Christmas and on Clic - the equivalent of iplayer, but these episodes have expired now. A DVD would be a great momento of both languages/episodes - let's hope one is forthcoming after the programme has finished airing on TV.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 15.

    No Welsh detective since Phillip Madoc?

    What about Jason Hughes on Midsomer Murders? (Sgt Benjamin Jones, 'achan!)

    Anyhow - through the wonders of technology, have watched in the US and it is *very* good - let's have it on BBC America or PBS, please!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 16.

    An excellent programme. As I don't watch much live tv, I watched this on iPlayer without realizing it was not being sahown live on BBC1 in southern England. What a waste! I hope they do soon - it is excellent. Episode one was based in an area I know quite well (and I hope everyone there recovers from the storms soon). The car descending into Borth with the Ynyslas salt Marsh (where I've been caught in rain storms) was fabulous. Excellent programme. Thank you, BBC Cymru.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 17.

    I was not disappointed by Y Gwyll, the photography is just outstanding, and the dark atmosphere suits the plots perfectly. West Wales is just gorgeous, and it shows! Thank you for showing this fantastic part of the world, difficult to get to, but well worth a look.
    The acting is good or very good, but a little more humour here and there from the less central characters would help to make the series a little less heavy, Wallander, the Bridge, even the Killing have a bit of light relief now and then. This first series is so promising! Please give us some more!

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 19.

    Agree with all comments. Why was this not shown on the main BBC platform? Love it. Has the feel of The Killing about it.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 20.

    I came to this via a link on a Guardian blog for The Bridge. Well worth catching it on iplayer, available till beg. Feb, I think.

 

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