When it comes to playing its part on the small or silver screen, Wales is no stranger. Our industrial towns, stunning landscapes and innovative production studios have long provided the backdrop to many a homegrown TV series or Hollywood blockbuster.
But in recent years, as our screen-friendly profile, renowned talent and epic locations continue to attract the biggest names in the business, Wales is enjoying a welcomed boom in production. In 2020, we estimated Wales’ screen sector had an annual turnover of more than £2.2 billion – that’s an increase of 40% since 2010. You can read the full report here.
Let's explore some of the top productions filmed in Wales, from Welsh-language shows like Y Golau to Netflix series like Sex Education.
His Dark Materials
In 2021, filming for the third series of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials kicked off, with Wales playing a pivotal role in the production. The co-production between Bad Wolf and HBO was filmed in many iconic locations across the country – from the streets of Cardiff to the rolling hills of the Brecon Beacons. Bad Wolf's Cardiff HQ – Wolf Studios Wales – was a prime spot for filming. Offering over 125,000sqft of stage space, the studio is one of the largest purpose-built studios in the UK.
We also played a role, providing funding, trainee opportunities and paid placements. While Screen Alliance Wales offered bespoke training programmes to further strengthen the industry. You can catch up with all the available series of His Dark Materials on BBC iPlayer.
In early ‘21, actors Tom Hardy and Forest Whitaker caused quite a stir when they were spotted in towns, cities and seasides across Wales. The reason? Well, other than to take in the delights of our country, the stars were busy filming for Netflix blockbuster, HAVOC.
Aberdare’s own multi-award-winning Gareth Evans wrote, directed and produced the action thriller for One More One Productions, alongside Wales-based production company Severn Screen, Aram Tertzakian for XYZ Films and Tom Hardy. The story centres around Hardy’s character as he takes on the criminal underworld.
The production received support from us here at Creative Wales, allowing us to showcase the potential of Wales and Welsh talent, locations and facilities to international markets. Keep your eyes peeled for its release on Netflix later this year.
A Discovery of Witches
From Wolf Studios in Cardiff to Carew Castle in Pembrokeshire, via Llyn y Fan Fach in Carmarthenshire: Sky One’s A Discovery of Witches filmed at some of Wales’ top locations.
With production funding and support from us, independent production company Bad Wolf produced the show – based on Deborah Harkness’ historical fantasy trilogy, All Souls. The dark tale follows historian and witch, Diana Bishop as she tries to solve the mysteries of Ashmole 782.
After a successful first and second series, Bad Wolf went on to produce the third and final series for Sky, which aired earlier this year. All three seasons are available for you to watch on Sky.
Y Golau / The Light in the Hall
Six-part thriller Y Golau / The Light in the Hall tells the story of journalist Cat Donato as she searches for answers about what happened to her murdered friend. Commissioned by S4C, the series was written and created by Regina Moriarty and filmed in both English and Welsh for Channel 4, S4C and Sundance Now. With our support, the thriller was co-produced by independent producers Triongl and Duchess Street Productions, in association with APC Studios.
As well as showcasing Welsh language and culture on an international level, the gripping drama also provided paid trainee opportunities for those keen to further their experience in the screen sector in Wales. Broadcast is planned for the highly anticipated show sometime in 2022, so keep a look out.
Netflix hit, Sex Education has filmed all three of its successful series in locations across South Wales. Many of its scenes were shot in beautiful villages in the Wye Valley, including Otis’ stunning home in Symonds Yat. But other, more unlikely locations, also played host to the likes of Asa Butterfield (Otis), Ncuti Gatwa (Eric) and Emma Mackey (Maeve) – from a school hall in Penarth to a bowling alley in Tonyrefail.
Alongside supporting production company Eleven Film with paid trainees, we provided production funding for series one and three. Wales Screen also assisted with sourcing the perfect location. You can catch up with all three seasons on Netflix.
Finally, we have The Pact. This six-part series tells the gripping story of five friends who find themselves involved in a sudden death. Commissioned by BBC Cymru Wales and with funding support from us, this is the first production for the female-led, Cardiff-based independent company, Little Door Productions which was founded in 2019.
As well as building on Wales’ strong portfolio of hard-hitting Welsh TV dramas – from Hinterland / Y Gwyll to Hidden / Craith – The Pact is another example of the talented crew available for productions filming throughout Wales. Watch The Pact on BBC iPlayer.