The Story Of Wales: Realising the team's ambition

Production Manager

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The Story Of Wales was over a year in production. And what an ambitious project it was to tell the story of a nation.

'Epic' was the name of the game.

As the production manager, my challenge was to facilitate the team's ambition - co-ordinating aerial shoots over some of Wales' most stunning landscapes, arranging over 140 locations and facilitating the creation of some exhilarating computer-generated reconstructions of Wales' most fascinating sites.

Being Welsh myself I felt a tremendous sense of pride being entrusted with such a responsibility.

Wales has deep stores of rich and emotional stories, stories of courageous heroes and ancient enemies, of entrepreneurs and fascinating facts.

Creating computer reconstructions of an open-air Roman arena near Newport

Who knew that north east Wales had riches to rival the pharaohs at a time when the pyramids were being built? I certainly didn't.

As a history graduate, learning about my heritage was one of the perks of the job.

History is full of facts and figures, dates and statistics. Here's a few more we created along the way:

5,900 = the number of miles covered filming around Wales
140 = the number of locations featured 
31 = the number of contributors in the series
50 = the number of academics consulted
23 = the number of CGI sequences
30,000 = the number of years we go back to the beginning of The Story Of Wales

The highlight of the project for me was the arranging the aerial shoot across the country.

Filming on one of very few glorious sunny days with Huw and the team down at Rhossili, Gower was quite a thrill.

Even though I spent most of the day hiding behind a bush with a walkie-talkie co-ordinating the helicopter hovering above with our aerial cameraman inside!

Before a bad weather front came in we had a tight window of two days to capture majestic shots of the whole of Wales and complete the grand opening sequence with our presenter Huw Edwards on top of the Paviland Cave where it all started.

Twice the high winds threw the helicopter off course and they overshot Huw. On the third try we got it.

But that wasn't the only time we were up against it. Filming with the BBC's top news presenter during a summer of high profile world news events caused some exciting challenges.

The story of the News Of The World closing down broke at 3pm whilst we were filming the inspiring story of the birth of industrial Wales in Parys Mountain at the very tip of Anglesey.

Huw Edwards presents from the top of Parys Mountain in Anglesey

By 3.30pm Huw was on his way to Chester and by the time the 10 O'Clock News started the crew were sat in the Bangor hotel watching Huw deliver the programme!

Mr Edwards has an incredible work ethic.

The production involved meeting some inspiring individuals.

Llew, the Soar Chapel caretaker, evoked such a reaction from the crew singing a local hymn during an off-camera discussion that he made it into the main series - and brought me to tears in the cutting room.

The Story Of Wales is just that, the story of Wales made by the people of Wales.

We could not have completed this marathon task without the tremendous support and warm welcome we received at each and every location as well as the expert input of the national institutions, the crew and their extreme dedication and of course the eloquent and engaging delivery by Huw of a truly remarkable story.

I hope you enjoy the fruits of our labour...

Llinos Griffin-Williams is the production manager of The Story Of Wales.

The Story Of Wales begins on BBC Two on Tuesday, 2 October at 7pm. The series was previously shown on BBC One Wales.

For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

More on The Story Of Wales
Free podcast, booklet and further Welsh history on The Open University.
Read what presenter Huw Edwards thought about making the series on the BBC Wales History blog.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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