Wales

Hinterland: searching for the perfect location

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“Dear Sir/Madam, we are working on a detective series called Hinterland/Y Gwyll and are looking for a location.”

Who would have thought that a local boy like myself would have the opportunity of working on such an amazing series?

In over 20 years of working as a location manager I never thought that I would be looking for locations in Ceredigion - the county I grew up in.

In my teens I used to cycle miles through the lanes of Ceredigion, not really appreciating the landscape and its hidden magic. The outside of the Tal y Groes farm location in episode two was found because I remember cycling through the fantastic landscape.

Finding locations is all about communication - it’s all word of mouth. Like Mathias, you need to dig deep and find out what makes the area tick. My brother works for an agricultural supply firm and if it wasn’t for the fact that one of their drivers mentioned the farm in Llandre, Bow Street, which we used as the interior of Tal y Groes, it would have been like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Richard Harrington as DCI Tom Mathias in Hinterland.

When I started scouting for the series locations it took nearly three to four weeks to familiarise myself with this vast county. This process makes a huge difference when deciding on the other three stories. It then took four weeks to narrow down exactly which location suited each scene. In the beginning there was talk of shooting some locations in Cardiff, including possibly the interior of the police station, but once Eryl Ellis the designer and I started to unearth these hidden gems it was plain to see that Hinterland/Y Gwyll would be staying put in Ceredigion. The police station location, thanks to Aberystwyth University and Ceredigion Council, also meant that it was going to be very difficult to find anywhere that would offer us the same kind of service.

We did actually carry out a small experiment and list all the locations found in episode one, and see if we could compare them with any in Cardiff and the Vale. The experiment only lasted two minutes!

Having worked with Marc Evans (the director for the first episode of Hinterland) on “Patagonia”, I knew he liked huge vistas and background action like trains, railway tracks and water. Hence we found Byron’s workshop near the railway crossing in Borth and most of the locations for episode four.

The most difficult location to decide on was Mathias’s caravan. It took many days to find the perfect spot, that edge-of-the-world feel. Again, by chance, we saw the location near the Blaenplwyf mast from afar, while looking elsewhere. It was a very difficult location to access and service!

It was a pleasure working on the series, mainly due to the response I received from directors, editors and producers, but more importantly from the viewers and location owners. Never before have I had so many messages and calls asking where the locations are and how much they have enjoyed the episodes.

Paul ‘Bach’ Davies was the location manager for the Hinterland series.

Hinterland is next on Monday 20 January at 21:00, BBC One Wales. You can catch up with the series so far on iPlayer.

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  • Comment number 17. Posted by Rainbowanth

    on 3 Jun 2014 16:14

    I have loved watching Hinterland, the stories were great; really interesting characters and amazing scenery, I hope there will be more than this four made is it has a great following

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  • Comment number 16. Posted by joolz2

    on 21 May 2014 22:27

    Hooked cant believe it was only 4 episodes, longer next time please absolutely gripping with the dark undertones. Love seeing a bit of home on tv

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  • Comment number 15. Posted by Rick Young

    on 13 May 2014 18:32

    Well at last something intelligent and worth the licence fee! beautifully filmed Welsh noir ! fantastic series please continue making them ...we need more .

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  • Comment number 14. Posted by Hazel

    on 11 May 2014 12:06

    This is a great series, a police procedural with a fresh approach. It has a great sense of place: the weather, the landscape and the locations are real and it is wonderful to hear the Welsh language used in context. I also love the dark Celtic themes which add to the mystery. This series succeeds where Jamaica Inn failed, possibly because all who are involved in the production have true commitment to the project . Looking forward to the next series

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  • Comment number 13. Posted by macspite

    on 2 Feb 2014 17:33

    Have just finished the last episode. The acting and the writing are very good. the landscape is a star! Thanks for the hard work in scouting the locations and well done to the director for giving the scenery so much screen time.

    Here's hoping you are hard at work finding the locations for series 2!

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  • Comment number 12. Posted by Chris Frazer

    on 2 Feb 2014 14:35

    I think the contrast between the beautiful landscape and the horrible crimes has a very profound effect. Fantastic series. I've only watched episodes 1 and 2 so far on iplayer and am am relishing the prospect of watching episode 3 but at the same time i'm dreading getting to the end of the series!

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  • Comment number 11. Posted by welshannie

    on 31 Jan 2014 11:01

    i am very lucky to able to watch such an amazing series as i live in england, luckily i am very familiar with the area where the series is filmed, and cannot praise the series more highly. cant wait for the second series

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  • Comment number 10. Posted by Louise

    on 31 Jan 2014 11:01

    This was a wonderful series filmed in our wonderful country I hope people see how beautiful Wales is . Can someone please explain the ending of the series to me with the chief inspector in the cell, sorry if sound thick

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  • Comment number 9. Posted by janvixen

    on 27 Jan 2014 23:42

    Utterly, stunningly brilliant series..!!! Thank you so much - not just for the superb settings but especially for a crafted art that draws you in, involves you, asks you to give all your attention and use the full breadth of your mind to follow.... More, please, please - I am already addicted....
    And please - release the series fully on English BBC1 - where watchers crave involvement at this depth. Thank you again - and more....more..... please......!!!

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  • Comment number 8. Posted by cyrildad

    on 26 Jan 2014 16:08

    Although I'm Welsh I live in Warwick so I view this series via iplayer and I'm so glad I can....it's fab! The acting is truly excellent, compelling stories, great views of beautiful Wales. Thank you...let's have more please.

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