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It’s no lie – Welsh politics set to grip US and Canadian viewers

A Welsh political drama series that has gripped S4C viewers over the past two years is set to engage a potentially huge TV market in the USA and Canada.

TV series Byw Celwydd (translation: ‘Living a lie’), partly set and filmed in the Welsh Senedd, has been sold to American public broadcaster, MHz Networks.

Largely specialising in broadcasting international series and films, the terrestrial broadcaster is widely available throughout the USA and Canada.

The broadcaster will show the first two seasons, and Tarian and Videoplugger are currently discussing options on the third, which is set to be broadcast on S4C later this year. It will be broadcast in Welsh with on-screen English subtitles.

The sale has been facilitated by Videoplugger, led by Italian company owner, Emanuele Galloni.

The series, which follows the fictional characters of a rainbow coalition government, is the brainchild of Branwen Cennard, director of Tarian Cyf, and the late prolific playwright Meic Povey.

It follows characters of a fictional group of political parties at the Welsh Assembly Government, along with the special advisers and political journalists around them.

Among the stars are Matthew Gravelle, who starred in ITV’s Broadchurch, and plays special advisor Harri James, and Catherine Ayres, who plays the journalist Angharad Wynne.

Producer Branwen Cennard said,

“I feel extremely proud that an entirely Welsh language production written and filmed in a totally Welsh context has captured the imagination of a broadcaster across the Atlantic. It reflects the high production values associated with Byw Celwydd produced on a much lower budget than most TV drama series, and proves that Welsh producers can produce series with a wide international appeal.”

Talking about the series’ writer Meic Povey, who died in December last year, she said, “Meic would have been so proud to hear this news, the sale is a tribute to him and to the brilliant cast and crew, led by talented director Gareth Rowlands.”

MHz Networks is a global media company, which specialises in presenting top-quality international programming to American and Canadian audiences, and they are confident that Byw Celwydd will hit the mark.

Lance Schwults on behalf of MHz Networks says,

“America is finally tuning into some great TV coming out of Wales and we’re thrilled to welcome Byw Celwydd to MHz Choice. Given the state of American politics, the show’s themes of political infighting, backstabbing and corruption will be some welcome respite from our own political infighting, backstabbing and corruption. It’s smart, fast-paced, high-quality TV and our audience is going to love it.”

Byw Celwydd has been very well received on the global market, according to the distributers Videoplugger.

Emanuele Galloni, CEO Videoplugger says,

“We’re delighted – and not at all surprised – by the amount of interest that Byw Celwyddis gathering among global broadcasters. MHz is the ideal outlet in the US as it showcases the very top calibre of European TV series.

“We were impressed with Byw Celwydd from the first screening and are proud to be contributing to its international success by working alongside Tarian. It’s a great moment for Celtic drama and we will continue to support and invest our time in high quality independent productions.”

Amanda Rees, S4C Director of Contents says,

“This is a huge scoop for Byw Celwydd and for original Welsh language drama. It’s fantastic that this series will be seen by drama lovers in Canada and USA and I’m sure they will be as gripped by the storylines as the S4C viewers have been over the past two series’.”

Byw Celwyddreturns to S4C for a third series in September 2018.