1 9 7 4 – Current (UK)
8,000+ x 20 minute episodes
This Welsh-language soap opera (the longest-running BBC television soap) is set in the small Welsh town of Cwmderi, in the heart of the South Wales valleys.
This series has enjoyed staggering success considering it was originally intended to run for only ten episodes and began at a time when Welsh language programmes were fitfully scheduled and continually under threat.
The popularity of the series was an important factor in the battle to establish a Welsh language channel, and when S4C (Sianel Pedwar Cymru) finally began transmission in 1982, Pobol y Cwm took pride of place in its schedules.
Created by John Hefin and Gwenlyn Parry, the series was premiered by BBC Wales on 16 October 1974 in a twice-weekly evening slot. The first episode introduced viewers to the ‘people of the valley’ (‘pobol y Cwm’) who lived and worked in Cwmderi.
As befitting such a small location, the series initially featured a small cast of characters, played by a mixture of professional and non-professional actors, and with most of the action based in the Deri Arms, a pub that has remained the focal point of the programme.
Despite its humble origins, Pobol y Cwm, like many other soap operas, has had its fair share of family rows, adultery and death over the years, but has managed to maintain a level of realism that puts it in stark contrast with the English soaps.
Even since it was scheduled five times a week in 1988, it has rarely reached for sensationalistic storylines, and instead uses the extra episodes to explore the ramifications of events and their effect on the characters.
Llinor ap Gwynedd
Bethan Ellis Owen
Huw “Jinx” Jenkins
Mirain Alaw Jone