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Media CEO Emyr Afan receives OBE in King’s Birthday Honours List 2024

Emyr Afan

Welshman Emyr Afan, who launched the TV careers of Steve, Alex and Gethin Jones and put Porth’s Pop Factory on the map, has been recognised for services to Media and Music in His Majesty the King’s Birthday Honours List 2024.

Emyr, co-founder, CEO and Executive Producer of family-run independent media production company Afanti Media, has previously won a raft of awards for big budget productions including BAFTA-nominated BBC’s Life Drawing Live, Songs of Praise and Channel 4’s The Perfect Pitch.

In 1997, Emyr, 60, co-founded Afanti Media with his wife Mair Afan Davies, now Afanti’s Company Director and Head of Production, and they have built a leading reputation for factual and entertainment productions, as well as outside broadcasts and live events.

On being recognised with the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire), in King Charles’ second Birthday Honours list, Cwmafan-born Emyr said: “I am thankful for this accolade and am sincerely grateful to our remarkable team at Afanti.

“My family has always offered unwavering support, guidance, and encouragement, which has inspired me to work harder and strive for excellence in all that I do.

“Diolch to my colleagues and friends for seeing the good in me – despite my many failings – and for helping me reach this level in life and in business.

“I am immensely grateful that I continue to work with people I admire and I enjoy my working days, week in and week out.

“Content produced in Wales is of the highest quality and continues to go from strength to strength.”

Afanti Media’s committed team produces 150 hours of content annually for BBC, S4C and Channel 4, with current productions including S4C’s Jonathan, which is now in its 20th year, BBC Wales’ Michael Ball: Showtime and Channel 4’s Perfect Pitch.

Emyr has created iconic shows and been instrumental in most of Wales’ high-profile broadcasts like Sir Bryn Terfel’s North Wales Faenol Festival and Sky One’s broadcast of the 2010 Ryder Cup Opening Concert at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

Emyr was first to produce Sir Tom Jones singing on the Green Grass of Home in Ponty Park and most recently drew Hollywood A-lister Luke Evans to take to the home stage for BBC One Christmas special Showtime! at Newport’s International Convention Centre Wales with international celebrities Nicole Scherzinger and LeAnn Rimes.

Showtime! won last year’s BAFTA Cymru’s Best Entertainment Programme of the year. Fittingly, when Afanti transformed Valleys landmark the Corona Pop Factory into The Pop Factory in 2000, presenters Steve and Alex Jones weren’t the only Joneses involved – Sir Tom Jones, who has a 1% share in Afanti Media – marked the occasion by smashing a bottle of Dandelion and Burdock against the factory’s iconic tower.

The Pop Factory became a renowned filming studio with a Top of the Pops-style programme broadcast from there weekly. Today, The Pop Factory is a thriving hub for Valleys Kids, the charity providing support and opportunities to people across Rhondda Cynon Taf.

In 2020, Afanti broadcast a huge fundraiser from The Pop Factory which raised £40,000 for flood-stricken families in Pontypridd. James Dean Bradfield, Robert Plant, Dame Shirley Bassey and The Alarm’s Mike Peters all featured in the production.

A similar line-up of musical legends is gearing up for The Pop Factory’s twentieth anniversary celebrations next year (2025).

Other well-known faces to have been awarded recent honours include broadcasters Davina McCall and Ken Bruce as well as ex-footballer Ian Wright, who were recognised in the King’s New Year’s Honours in January.

Apart from being honoured today in King Charles’ second list of Birthday Honours, Emyr is overwhelmed to have received recognition through several recent awards.

Afanti Media scooped both Cardiff Business of the Year and Creative Business of the Year at 2023’s Cardiff Business Awards.

Behind the scenes, Emyr launched Wales Screen Summit (WSS) in 2022, to rival London and Edinburgh’s conferences and to celebrate Cymru’s host of creative media talent.

The summit has grown year on year, garnering international attention, with interest already in 2025’s keynote event.

This year has already seen Emyr scooping a Celtic Film Festival Best Entertainment award and enjoying being Executive Producer and Director on Songs of Praise, Channel 4’s The World’s Biggest Cruise Ship and BBC One’s Lost Mines.

Emyr is a valuable board member of TAC (Teledwyr Annibynnol Cymru, Wales Independent Producers) and, for the last two years, has been voted to the role of Wales National Representative for PACT (Producers Alliance for Television and Cinema.)