Tuesday 29 Jul 2014
BBC News At Ten presenter Huw Edwards is to tell the story of Wales from pre-history to modern times in a landmark television series commissioned by BBC Cymru Wales from Green Bay Media.
Huw will be getting to grips with Welsh history in The Story Of Wales, a six-part series to be shown on BBC One Wales early in 2012.
The Story Of Wales will start with a reconstruction of the earliest known human burial in Western Europe – the "Red Lady" of Paviland, 29,000 years ago. Its epic story runs through Hywel Dda's uniting Wales under one law, the Welsh at the heart of the Tudor court, through the immense pace of change in the country as coal mines and iron works flourished – with technological and educational innovations putting Wales ahead of the world in the Industrial Revolution – and right up to present day devolution.
The series will be made in partnership with The Open University – the first direct collaboration with BBC Cymru Wales to receive OU funding. Filming will start in the summer of 2011.
Huw Edwards said: "This really is a dream come true for me. How could any Welsh broadcaster not be energised by the challenge of telling the nation's story?
"It's been a long wait. The last major television history of Wales was The Dragon Has Two Tongues in the mid-Eighties, when the great Gwyn Alf Williams and Wynford Vaughan-Thomas slugged it out in one of the best history series ever seen on British television. So we have a lot to live up to.
"I am aware that working on this series – a once-in-a-generation event – is a real privilege. Above all, The Story Of Wales needs to engage audiences in Wales and beyond. After all, we have a great story to tell."
Elis Owen, Head of Commissioning for BBC Cymru Wales, said: "We're delighted that Huw will present The Story Of Wales which promises to be an accessible look at our history. So many people do not realise how influential Wales has been down the centuries and I'm sure the series will enlighten many of our viewers. Wales has a great, exciting story to tell."
Series producers Phil George and John Geraint of Green Bay Media said: "To be entrusted to bring the whole story of our nation to the screen is a real responsibility and a real thrill.
"The scope of the series is immense – we go all the way back to the Red Lady of Paviland, 29,000 years ago. There'll be heroes and battles, of course – but, above all, we'll reveal how so often, through the turbulent centuries, Wales has been at the cutting-edge of change and innovation. Huw Edwards is the man who has the authority to tell this story, and the sparkle to delight, entertain and surprise the audience as he brings the past to life. Green Bay can't wait to start shooting this definitive series, which we feel sure will be appointment viewing for the Welsh audience, thanks to BBC Wales's place at the heart of the nation."
Rob Humphreys, Director of The Open University in Wales, said: "This series will open up our nation's history to a new audience, enthusing people to learn even more about what shaped today's Wales.
"The Open University in Wales is delighted to work with BBC Cymru Wales and Green Bay in developing this landmark series, which comes at a time of significant public interest in the history of Wales and our nation's place and role within a United Kingdom that is being challenged and re-shaped. Through the contribution of my colleague Professor Trevor Herbert, who is The Open University's senior academic consultant on this series, and other colleagues, The Open University in Wales is committed to opening up our nation's past, and present, to informed debate, scrutiny and study."
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