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Carmarthenshire

Sky TV’s ‘A Discovery of Witches’ filmed at Aberglasney Gardens

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The romantic, fantasy drama TV series ‘A Discovery of Witches’ has just returned to our screens for season three and those with a keen eye watching the weekly episodes on Sky Max will have spotted that one of the locations is Aberglasney Gardens in Carmarthenshire. 

The series, produced by production company, Bad Wolf, is based upon the best-selling novels by Deborah Harkness which portrays a mysterious world that humans share with the declining species of witches, vampires and demons.  

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Diana Bishop, an Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont are caught up in a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript. Their journey takes them through time and to locations across the world – but many were actually right here in Wales. 

Gareth Skelding, Location Manager for Season one and two of A Discovery of Witches, said, “The medieval Aberglasney House and Gardens in Carmarthenshire boasts one of the finest gardens in Wales, part of which served as the gardens for Sept-Tours, the fictional family home of the de Clermont family. It’s a really versatile location for a set which I have also used to shoot scenes for Da Vinci’s Demons. Sept-Tours features in seasons two and three as well as season one and it was great to come back. Gardens, little temples and cloisters from Aberglasney all make an appearance. It’s a sweet little place, the people are amazing.” 

Filming at Aberglasney House and Gardens.

The eight-episode first series of A Discovery of Witches was aired on Sky One in 2018. The ten-episode second series was released in its entirety in January 2021 and aired weekly on Sky One. The third and final series was initially released in its entirety on 7 January 2022 and airs weekly on Sky Max.   

Aberglasney Gardens’ Head Gardener, Joseph Atkin said, “We were delighted to have been chosen as a location for the series. The filming has taken place at Aberglasney over the last few years and those familiar with the Gardens will certainly recognise the piggeries lawn, the Pool Garden and the lower Cloister area when watching the drama unfold.” 

Aberglasney was made famous by the BBC television series “A Garden Lost in Time” which followed its restoration. The Gardens, Mansion house, Shop and Tearooms are open every day except Christmas Day. Visitors can explore 10 acres of over 20 different garden styles from formal to woodland, right through to exotic and modern along with the fully restored ground floor of Aberglasney’s grade II* listed mansion.

Further information on the Gardens is available online: www.aberglasney.org 

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Carmarthenshire

PCSO works to bring end to unscrupulous cockle pickers in Kidwelly, Ferryside, Llansteffan and Laugharne

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PCSO Helen Fender has been recognised at Dyfed Powys Police’s awards for her efforts in tackling anti-social behaviour associated with unscrupulous cockle pickers descending on the communities of St Ishmael, Kidwelly, Llanybri, Llansteffan and Laugharne.

To effect change, PCSO Fender looked at the issue and its cause – pinpointing an old by-law that allowed anyone to get a free permit to pick cockles in the Three Rivers Fishery cockle beds.

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PCSO Helen Fender (Image: Dyfed Powys Police)

In 2017 there were more than 1,000 permit holders and the only regulation for obtaining a permit is to give a name, address, contact details and a photograph for ID.

“I noticed that something had to be done, it couldn’t go on this way as it was causing no end of issues for the community and the genuine fishermen who relied on picking cockles for a living,” she said.

“On the Bury Inlet there was no issue as it was much harder to get a permit.”

PCSO Fender set about working with the Welsh Government to try and make the Three Rivers Fishery regulated as other cockle beds are.

A three-month consultation is being launched with the aim to bring in tougher legislation for permits to be issued – with requirements to include training, minimum kit standards, their employment status for HMRC and an annual fee of £800.

“I’ve worked with the communities and with the local fishermen on this, and they are supportive,” said PCSO Fender.

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“When you’ve got 1,000 permits handed out to people from all over the country, there is going to be problems for the community and it impacts the local gatherers who depend on this industry to make a living.

“It was having a really detrimental effect on the lives of people in the area and it was proving dangerous, with numerous quads on the beaches and villages, even crossing railway lines.”

The issue has caused problems over the years with the Welsh Government Marine and Fisheries Division closing the Three Rivers Fishery cockle beds from 2012 to 2017 due to serious reports of anti-social behaviour, including people sleeping rough, litter not disposed of properly, no toilet facilities, and large articulated lorries trying to access small village roads.     

Sgt Gemma Davies said: “Helen has conducted a thorough and detailed enquiry into the underlying issues at the location, has sourced expert opinion and discussed numerous options to try and implement change for the better for the cockling community and the people living near to the cockle beds.

“We’re hopeful to achieving a regulated permit system which can be monitored and ‘policed’ by the fisheries more effectively.”

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Lead image: File photo of cockle picking in the Burry Inlet (Image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Carmarthenshire

Kaiser Chiefs to headline at Ffos Las Racecourse in Carmarthenshire

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Kaiser Chiefs are set to headline at Ffos Las Racecourse near Kidwelly in Carmarthenshire on Thursday 2 June 2022.

The special ‘Live After Racing’ show will invite audiences to enjoy an entire day of horse racing, with the added bonus of a full live set by the indie titans late into the evening.

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Established as one of the best loved guitar bands to emerge this century, the Kaiser Chiefs will be heading to the races with a winning set-list of bona fide indie belters in their arsenal.

Over the last 15 years the Kaisers have become a real household name, from their seven critically acclaimed and Top 10 charting albums selling multi-millions worldwide, to making memorable performances at some of the biggest events in recent history including Live 8 and the 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony, and winning innumerable awards including ‘Best Live Act’ at both the Brit Awards and Q Awards. 

With top 10 hits like ‘I Predict A Riot’, ‘Ruby’, ‘Oh My God’, ‘Never Miss A Beat’, and ‘Everyday I Love You Less & Less’ all cementing the band’s penchant for penning contemporary pop classics like few of their peers, the many highlights to be found on their acclaimed #3 charting 2019 album ‘Duck’, illustrate a band that have no intention of slowing down soon.

With a reputation as one of the best live acts in the biz, if there’s one safe bet to place all day, put it on a hit-packed set from the Kaisers…

The event, rescheduled from 27 August last year, is priced at £35 advance, £25 for under 18s, with under 5s admitted free of charge.

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Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.

(Lead image: Kaiser Chiefs)

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Save the Cinema Film make scenery at UWTSD Set & Design Production Workshop

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The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) Set Design Production Scenery Workshop has revealed its involvement in the newly released ‘Save the Cinema film for Sky.

The film ‘Save the Cinema’ is a true story looking back at Liz Evans’s campaign to save the Lyric Theatre from closing in Carmarthen. Stars such as Jonathan Pryce, Samantha Morton, Tom Felton, Adeel Akhtar and Susan Wokoma feature in the film.

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As the production started, art director Gwyn Eiddior visited UWTSD’s Carmarthen Campus to see if there were any props or scenery he could possibly use for the film as it was being filmed in Carmarthen. After requesting on social media later that day for use of a workshop to build sets for the film in Carmarthen, Lecturer Dave Atkinson suggested for them to use the facilities at UWTSD.

As a result of this, the film’s construction team were based at UWTSD’s Set Design Production Scenery Workshop, meaning that all of the construction work and scenic art created for the film was made on campus. Along with Dave who was employed as the workshop manager, two graduates from the BA Set Design & Production course, Mari Hullett and Ashley Phillips were fortunate to gain work from this project in the scenic art and graphics departments.

They worked alongside the experienced production designer Jonathan Houlding who has  worked on high-end screen productions such as ‘Love Actually’, ‘Band of Brothers’ and ‘The Martian.’ Dave adds,

“We created a variety of scenery for the film. Largely dressing for the Lyric Theatre, and the theatre scenery they were filming on. The hairdresser’s salon was the largest build which was an empty shop. We had to reinstall a whole salon in there. One fun element to make was the Big Breakfast set – we made the bedroom where they interviewed people.”

UWTSD Lecturer Dave Atkinson at the University’s set design workshop (Image: UWTSD)

Graduate Mari Hullett said, “Working on ‘Save The Cinema’ as a scenic artist was an amazing opportunity and I will always value my time being involved in the production as an experience to take further into my career.

“I am extremely grateful for the chance of working alongside the friendly and highly skilled scenic and construction team as I was able to learn so much from them. I was also able to work on different roles within the art department such as graphic props, which I greatly appreciated as I got to experience a broader spectrum of skills involved on a film set.

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“As a whole, it was a really heart-warming experience to be a part of a project that involved my university town and the wider community.

“This was also my first professional role on a film project which has opened my eyes to the growing opportunities within the film industry in Wales. I am very excited to see this on-screen!”

An experience like this has been a fantastic opportunity, and a chance for the students to have an insight into the industry.

Dave Atkinson adds: “Welcoming Sky Cinema onto campus has given UWTSD Carmarthen the opportunity to not only showcase the high-quality practitioners that graduate from the Set Design & Production course, but to also exhibit the facilities we have, such as the scenery workshop which is equipped with top of the range tools and machinery.”

(Lead image: UWTSD)

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