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TV programme to explore the history of the Royal Welsh Show

Gareth Wyn Jones

Gareth Wyn Jones presents the fascinating story of the Royal Welsh Show: from its establishment in 1904 through to its status today as the pinnacle of the Welsh rural calendar.

Photo credit: Royal Welsh Trail Running Festival

Presenting from his farm in Snowdonia, Gareth takes a look at some of his own archive photos and other show memorabilia.

The Show’s story is one of triumph over adversity. Its founders fought to establish it in an era when Welsh institutions of any kind were sorely lacking. Since then, it has survived two World Wars, petrol rationing and the crisis of Foot and Mouth disease in 2001.

The transition from a travelling show to making its permanent home at Builth Wells in 1963 was challenging, but the Show ultimately flourished in its new home; uniting communities from across Wales and becoming the highlight of the rural calendar and a showcase for the best of Wales. The Royal Welsh show has become the largest show of its kind in northern Europe. To win at the Royal Welsh is an ambition for many and an accolade that is fiercely fought for.

While Coronavirus restrictions have stopped the 2020 event from taking place on the showground, the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society are keen to showcase and celebrate the agricultural industry on-line. The Society, in partnership with other key organisations will ensure that all sections of the show offer an experience to new comers, and bring back memories to those that would usually be spending a week-long celebration of agriculture in Llanelwedd.

Speaking about this year’s virtual show, Steve Hughson, Chief Executive said:

“This pandemic is causing organisations to seek new ways of engaging with their customers and stakeholders and the Royal Welsh is no different.  We continue to move with the times and will use technology to educate people about the value of agriculture and local produce, share knowledge within agriculture around best practice, find new ways to entertain and also share memories, creating a nostalgic library of peoples’ favourite parts of the Show and reasons for coming.

“This is no substitute for the Show, but will be an opportunity to bring people together demonstrate our resilience at this difficult time.”

The Story of the Royal Welsh Show will be aired on BBC One Wales and BBC iPlayer on Monday 20th July, 8.30pm.