Wales

Hinterland: creating stories out of the landscape

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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

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: 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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  • Comment number 73. Posted by tangocbm

    on 22 Feb 2015 23:43

    Excellent series. Very dark and brooding. Series 1 was very good when I first watched it in 2014. In watching it a second time this year it has lost none of it's dark qualities. Indeed we seem to learn more about the characters themselves. The bilingual nature of the series was an excellent decision as it adds realism and a definite Welsh cultural feel to the show. Look forward to the next series

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  • Comment number 72. Posted by cathatricacid

    on 28 Jan 2015 21:43

    Watched all last year on iPlayer, just watched series 1 again. Just as hard-hitting the second time. Brave to take on the subject matter. "A work of fiction" - yes, but we know it happens.
    Such a high standard all round. Hope the Beeb is allowed to continue supporting production of such amazing work well into the future - though perhaps it doesn't earn the dollars like a good old costume-drama!
    Won't complain if you repeat it again next winter!

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  • Comment number 71. Posted by alic

    on 30 May 2014 21:42

    Started watching this series the other night, gone back to watch more and it's no longer available :( Does anyone know why? Is it to do with Netflix buying the series? If this is the case then very disappointed in the BBC.

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  • Comment number 70. Posted by swanseagirl

    on 30 May 2014 17:45

    I have watched the whole series on BBC iplayer as not shown in England-sadly! I was mesmerized by the gorgeous scenery, wonderful acting (I mean really superb) great story lines and believable characters. Please tell me there will be another series? I would love to watch the series again but only on iplayer for a limited time. So beautifully filmed with, a lingering shot on a flowing stream (episode 4 I think) absolutely wonderful. So different from every other detective programme out there. Excellent and thank you for a wonderful series.

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  • Comment number 69. Posted by Damo

    on 28 May 2014 15:16

    I find the series great ,very fast paced and engaging.I personally think that it is very similar to its scandinavian counterparts Arne Dahl for instance, which was aired couple of years ago.
    The fact that the main character is living in a caravan is slightly ridiculous ,but apart from that everything else is brilliant and i cannot wait to watch all the episodes

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  • Comment number 68. Posted by Alf

    on 27 May 2014 22:25

    Just watched all four episodes of Hinterland and was massively impressed by the acting, atmospheric locations and non-sensationalised approach to the story telling. Studied at Aberystwyth Uni and it brought back many memories. Agree that the series should have been mainstream - really hope there is a second series.

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  • Comment number 67. Posted by Gilli

    on 26 May 2014 17:43

    Recorded all the episodes and watched over 2 days (which is my norm - hate waiting week to week) and thought it was brilliant. Fingers crossed for a second series.

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  • Comment number 66. Posted by david leslie humphries

    on 25 May 2014 20:46

    What a superb series.Have just watched the 4th episode of this series--brilliant.Please let's have more of this on mainstream BBC.
    BBC Wales has long proven in the past that it has a lot of hidden talent.We've only seen a small portion of it.Let's see more of it on mainstream BBC.

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  • Comment number 65. Posted by Jane Parr

    on 24 May 2014 08:37

    Just watched the whole 4 episodes in a week. After being tipped off by a friend originally from The beautiful Aber who was watching and raving about it in Boston USA....thank you bbc I player.
    Wow , fantastic! Finally a welsh series with no stupid Welsh stereotypes.
    It was classy, moody and compelling. Can't wait for further episodes.

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  • Comment number 64. Posted by Andrew_Glos

    on 20 May 2014 01:00

    Brilliant. Truly wonderful series, culminating in a simply superb last episode.So glad I caught the series on BBC4 - it was certainly more then good enough to be on BBC1. Loved the landscape and the scenery, absolutely brilliant camera work. Deliciously intriguing characters and well acted, script nice and tight and keeps you guessing. Glad to hear there'll be a second series, just need to find out more about Mathias's past and what the dodgy DetSuper is hiding.

    Certainly the best programme on TV so far this year and I've already ordered the DVD!

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