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Cerys Matthews tells the story of one of the great literary treasures of the medieval world, The Mabinogion, ancient tales that were later translated from Welsh.

Cerys Matthews tells the extraordinary story of one of the great literary treasures of the medieval world - the Mabinogion. Its ancient tales, once recited aloud by storytellers, were later translated from Welsh by a Victorian enthusiast, Lady Charlotte Guest, bringing them to an international audience. Their influence can still be detected in works such as JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.

'When I was growing up I had a Mabinogion poster, the illustrations were almost psychedelic', says Matthews, who was enchanted. 'I'd fallen in love with the unpredictable plots, the beautiful language and the larger than life characters'.

Here were unforgettable creations - a king who could stride across the Irish Sea, a woman made entirely of flowers, goats that mysteriously changed into wild boars and the first ever appearance of King Arthur. As Matthews delves deeper into these strange tales, she examines some of the original, ancient manuscripts and visits some of the locations in Wales which first inspired many of the stories.

Produced in partnership with the Open University.

29 minutes

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:02


    Night Bus


Role Contributor
Presenter Cerys Matthews
Series Producer Allan Campbell
Executive Producer Richard Bright
Producer Jon Morrice
Director Jon Morrice


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