Huw Edwards launches BBC's The Story of Wales history series

Harlech Castle, Harlech, Gwynedd The series will also tie in with activities connected with Welsh history

BBC Wales says a new six part series tracing the history of the Welsh nation from 30,000 years ago to the present day is one of its most ambitious.

Broadcaster Huw Edwards was in Cardiff to launch The Story of Wales.

A series of events and other programmes will take place around the series to be screened on BBC One Wales next month.

Welsh Heritage Minister Huw Lewis said he hoped it would stimulate fresh interest in Welsh history and culture.

Speaking after the launch Edwards said choosing subject matter for the series proved to be a challenge.

"Some things are obvious," he said. "The death of Llywelyn, the failure of the Glyndwr revolt, the coal boom of the 19th century - these are huge events and we can see the way they have impacted on people.

"But what about a man called William Morgan who translated the Bible into Welsh? That's a huge cultural event in the history of Wales.

Start Quote

I didn't know they had been mining copper 4,500 years ago in the Great Orme in Llandudno and exporting this material across Europe”

End Quote Huw Edwards Presenter

"There are events which need to be underlined."

The BBC News presenter travelled across the nation to make the series and admitted he learned a few things on the way.

"I didn't know they had been mining copper 4,500 years ago in the Great Orme in Llandudno and exporting this material across Europe," he said.

On Thursday St Fagans, the National History Museum near Cardiff, threw open its doors for a series of special workshops relating to the series.

Visitors were able to try their hand at archaeology and gain an insight into daily life in Iron Age and Tudor Wales.

Memories invited

The People's Collection Wales - a website where anyone in Wales can share their own photographs and stories - will be looking for additional materials and memories to add to the site.

Huw Edwards BBC broadcaster Huw Edwards launched the six-part series in Cardiff on Thursday

As the series features many well known historical figures such as Owain Glynd┼Ár and Hywel Dda, the Open University in Wales will be inviting people to nominate their own Welsh icons.

The activities are just one part of a drive to try to get everyone in Wales thinking about their history.

Besides the launch day, the partners, including the National Library of Wales, will be running other activities tied to the programme, while BBC Wales has additional programming on the same theme.

A series on the history of four Welsh towns and cities - Pontypridd, Newport, Bangor and Cardigan - will be screened on BBC Two Wales.

BBC Radio Wales will broadcast a six-week series of Histories of Wales, which look at themes such as radicalism, migration, the family and war.

The skeleton of the Red Lady of Paviland The skeleton of the Red Lady of Paviland, excavated in 1823, is actually that of a young male

And BBC Radio Cymru will have a series Hanes yn y Fantol which follows a chronological history of the Welsh nation.

Revolution to devolution

The Story of Wales will start with a reconstruction of the earliest known human burial in Western Europe - the "Red Lady" of Paviland, almost 30,000 years ago.

It explains how Hywel Dda united Wales under one law, looks at the Welsh at the heart of the Tudor court and continues through the Industrial Revolution and right up to present day devolution.

Heritage minister Mr Lewis said: "I hope that the Story of Wales will stimulate interest in, and engagement with, our rich culture and heritage and I'm sure that the series will encourage people to visit some of the locations featured and explore the fascinating culture and history of these places."

The series has been made by Green Bay Media for BBC Wales in partnership with the Open University in Wales.

It starts on Monday 27 February on BBC One Wales at 21:00 GMT.

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