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Sky’s Christmas Eve special, Roald & Beatrix set to showcase ‘best of’ Creative Wales

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An eagerly awaited Sky Original comedy drama, airing for the first time on Christmas Eve, is set to showcase Wales and its creative potential.

Described as a ‘magical festive adventure’, Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse is inspired by the story of when a six-year-old Roald Dahl meets his idol Beatrix Potter.

Produced by Hartswood Films for Sky Studios, the production is supported by Creative Wales, and was shot in Wales at locations across south Wales including St Fagans National Museum, Gwili Heritage Railway Station and at Seren Stiwdios in Cardiff.

Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse was one of the first productions to start shooting in Wales after the news of COVID hit last March. It was also one of the first productions that gained Creative Wales support.

The drama will air Christmas Eve 8.15pm on Sky One and streaming service NOW TV starring Dawn French (who plays Beatrix), Bill Bailey, Rob Brydon, Jessica Hynes and Alison Steadman.

From left to right: Harry Tayler plays Roald Dahl (6yr old) | Dawn French & Harry Tayler | Dawn French plays Beatrix Potter | Jessica Hynes plays Sofie Dahl | Harry Tayler plays Roald Dahl (6yr old) | Nina Sosanya plays Anne Landy a publisher | Nick Mohammed plays Mr Entwistle an optometrist | Rob Brydon plays William Heelis | Alison Steadman plays Dora – the café owner

Bringing A-List stars to Wales isn’t the only legacy for this hit production. Eagle-eyed viewers will be able to spot some popular Welsh locations including scenes filmed at St Fagans featuring the iconic Oakdale Workmen’s Institute and the Gwalia Stores.

The role Creative Wales plays in attracting productions to Wales not only ensures business support for those production companies wanting to work here, but also focuses on the positive impact the production has on Wales. Since wrapping, the direct economic impact of Roald & Beatrix is expected to be in excess of £2m.

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, said: “Roald & Beatrix will be a much-needed Christmas Eve treat for viewers. We are a nation of storytellers and we have a rich cultural heritage in Wales so I’m delighted that Creative Wales worked with producers to secure locations and studio space, giving viewers a glimpse of what we have to offer. 

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“The sector is to be praised for the innovation and resilience it has shown throughout the year in adapting operations to continue productions in a COVID safe way. Our mission is to continue to forge relationships to attract more and more productions here in 2021.”

David Anderson, Director General, Amgueddfa Cymru, said: “We’re very pleased we’ve been able to continue the television and filming productions at out sites this year, working within the COVID-19 restrictions. It’s been a difficult year for many organisations in Wales, including the museums sector. We’ve lost a significant amount of commercial income so being able to attract large scale productions such as Roald & Beatrix to St Fagans has been a huge help to us and has enabled us to continue to support the cultural economy of Wales.”

Watch the trailer

(All images & video trailer: Sky)


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Carmarthen

Major new TV drama latest to choose Carmarthenshire as its setting

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Carmarthenshire County Council has been working with location scouts and the production team to support the filming of a new thriller, which is using the county as its backdrop.

Y Golau/The Light In The Hall, produced by Triongl Cyf and Duchess Street Productions, is being filmed in Welsh and English and is set to air on S4C and Channel 4 in the UK, and Sundance Now in the US.

Cast and crew have been working in and around Llandovery, Carmarthen, Llangadog and Llandeilo over the past few weeks.

Actors including Joanna Scanlan, currently starring as Ma Larkin in the hit ITV family drama The Larkins, and Iwan Rheon of Game of Thrones, are amongst those featuring in the thriller.

The council has been working to ensure the local area benefits financially from the production with location fees, accommodation and associated spending on food and retail in the Llandovery, Carmarthen, and surrounding areas set to bring a substantial boost to the local economy.

Council officers have also ensured minimal disruption to communities for the duration of the filming, with traffic management and access to local businesses unaffected.

This is the latest major production to be located in Carmarthenshire, on the back of the hugely successful Keeping Faith drama based in Laugharne and Carmarthen, and Save The Cinema, a film due to be released on Sky in the New Year.

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Although Llandovery and Carmarthen will see the most activity, other locations across the county are also hosting film crews for a range of other productions at the moment.

Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “Yet again Carmarthenshire has been chosen as the location for a major production, which proves that what we have got to offer is enough to attract the best companies in the world.

“Our officers have been supporting the crew to scout locations, contact local landowners and liaise with partners – all part of our efforts to support the growth of the local economy. When we are able to attract productions of this scale, we are able to bring new money into the area – a cast and crew of around 60 people are staying and spending locally, and that means money in the tills of local businesses and in the pockets of local people.”

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, added: “We are very fortunate to have such a range of locations suitable for filming in Carmarthenshire, from large beaches that stretch for miles, to rural and urban landscapes, rolling countryside and historic buildings. We have worked hard to grow our reputation as a location for filming and that is paying off with more enquiries being made to us all the time. It will be fantastic to see Carmarthenshire featured on the screen once again.”

(Lead image: Carmarthenshire Council)

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Carmarthen

Council moves customer services into former Carmarthen Debenhams store

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Carmarthen’s council customer services Hwb is moving to St Catherine’s Walk to make use of space in the council’s 100% Sir Gâr pop-up shop.

Carmarthenshire County Council has secured temporary use of the former Debenhams unit in Carmarthen town centre to provide free retail space for local businesses in the run-up to Christmas.

And to take advantage of the space, it is also moving its customer service team there so people can call in and get advice about council services and support, pick up recycling bags and more whilst doing their Christmas shopping.

The cash desk and other council services will remain at Spillman Street.

Several local businesses have already signed up to make use of the free retail space being offered as part of the council’s 100% Sir Gâr initiative, which will see a new lease of life being brought to the empty town centre unit.

Leader of the council, Cllr Emlyn Dole, said it made sense to bring the customer service centre into town to make it easier for people to access council services in the run-up to Christmas.

“We are pleased to be making good use of this empty unit in Carmarthen town centre’s prime retail core,” he said. “We’ve got lots of fantastic local businesses signed up to make use of the free retail space we’re offering as a 100% Sir Gâr pop-up shop.

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“We know this time of year is an exceptionally busy period for people, so it made sense to bring our customer services team into the heart of the town so people can get help and support from us without going further out of their way.

“Our customer services team are there to help with everything from accessing financial support to helping people find suitable housing, from applying for blue badges to supporting people with recycling, and much more.

“We hope people will call in to support local businesses as they do their Christmas shopping, and – if they need it – get the help and support of our customer services team at the same time.”

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Carmarthen

New state-of-the-art prostate biopsy machine for Glangwili and Prince Philip hospitals

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A £50,000 state-of-the-art prostate biopsy machine has been purchased for use at Glangwili and Prince Philip hospitals, thanks to charitable donations to local urology services, including a £30,000 donation from the West Wales Prostate Cancer Support Group.

The new diagnostic equipment will transform the way prostate cancer is diagnosed, according to Urology Consultant Mr Yeung Ng, and enable the Urology team to continue to develop the targeted biopsy service locally.

Consultant Mr Ng said: “The new equipment allows the capacity of prostate biopsies to be doubled, while also allowing the biopsies to be undertaken.

“The equipment will enable us to undertake transperineal biopsies which are safer procedures with a lower rate of infection as we do not have to undertake the biopsy rectally and diagnostic rates are also improved. 

“The Urology Department is extremely grateful for the charitable donations that we have received to make this purchase possible, as well as for the continued support that WWPCSG has provided us.

“The support of our local communities has helped us acquire new state-of-the-art prostate diagnostic equipment that equips us well for transitioning over to a transperineal prostate service while continuing to develop the targeted biopsy service.

“This support is helping to transform the way we diagnose prostate cancer, especially as patients have previously had to travel to a neighbouring health board to receive this advanced biopsy.”

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Pictured from left, with the new biopsy machine, are: Specialist Nurses Wolfgang Ackerman, David Ceri Thomas and Nicola Thomas; Consultant Mr Yeung Ng;  and Cancer Support Worker Janet Mackrell. (Image: Hywel Dda NHS)

Ken Jones, chairman of the West Wales Prostate Cancer Support Group, said: “Our group offers help to men and their partners living in west Wales.

“While we are not an organisation that sets out to raise funds, we are frequently given donations by people that we have helped. So, when we are able, we donate larger sums to areas where they are needed, such as health boards and cancer research charities that work within west Wales.

“We are delighted to be able to assist in the purchase of this equipment that will help in the work of Hywel Dda’s Urology Department.”

Lead Image: From left, at the cheque presentation are: Urology Service Manager Lianne Wood; Clinical Nurse Specialist Angharad Watkins; Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board Maria Battle; Consultant Mr Yeung Ng; David Goddard, Ken Jones and Iori Rees of WWPCSG; and Claire Rumble, Hywel Dda Health Charities Fundraising Officer. (Image: Hywel Dda NHS)

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