Netflix to air first TV show in Welsh language

Netflix has announced that it is streaming the first Welsh TV show on its platform.

The global streaming service said it has purchased the license for Dal y Mellt, a gritty detective thriller about a group of misfits who team up to carry out a heist.

Based on a novel written by Iwan ‘Iwcs’ Roberts, Dal y Mellt – translated in English as Catch The Lightning – was produced and published by public service broadcaster S4C.

The series will be available with English subtitles on request for UK audiences from April 2023.

Benjamin King, Netflix’s director of public policy for the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, announced the news at the Welsh Affairs Committee evidence session Wednesday.

Mr. King said: “I’m actually very pleased to announce with the committee this morning that we will be announcing soon that we have licensed a great show in Welsh language – Dal y Mellt – from S4C that aired on S4C last year and is coming to Netflix in April.

He told Welsh MPs that content made in Wales and about Welsh culture “does extremely well” to audiences around the world.

And that Netflix “can play a helpful role in completing its purpose of promoting and preserving the Welsh language”.

“The UK is one of the most important markets for Netflix, especially in terms of our investment in production and content,” King said.

“We spend over a billion dollars a year on UK-made content here.

“But within the UK I think Wales is consistently the location for many of our best known and most loved shows.

“Most people are familiar with Sex Education and many also know that some scenes from The Crown were shot in Wales, but we also have a number of other content made in Wales, for example our biggest feature film, Havoc. he added.

Starring Tom Hardy and Forest Whitaker, about a detective who has to save a politician’s estranged son after a drug deal goes awry, Havoc was filmed and produced in multiple locations in Wales and is expected to hit theaters this year.

A number of Welsh programs have been accepted into the subscription service in recent years, including Hinterland and Keeping Faith, but are broadcast in English.

More recently, Netflix has introduced Welsh subtitles on some blockbuster movies such as The Adam Project and Red Notice, due to lead actor Ryan Reynolds’ affiliation with Wales as the new owner of Wrexham Football Club.

Welcome to Wrexham, a sports documentary about Reynolds and Always Sunny In Philadelphia star Rob McElhenney’s acquisition of the club, was broadcast by Disney+ last summer.

Netflix is ​​the most popular video-on-demand service in Wales, with 74% of viewers aged 13+ watched last year, according to Ofcom.

The Welsh Government has a goal of creating one million Welsh speakers in Wales by 2050. However, the latest census showed that the number of Welsh speakers has dropped to 17.8%.

The Committee session was also heard by the Commercial Broadcasters and On-Demand Services Association (COBA), an industry body that represents commercial broadcasters and on-demand services, whose members include Now TV, Sky and BT.

A thriving film and TV production industry is growing in Wales, and governments’ focus is to develop this “success story”, said COBA executive director Adam Minns.

“I think one of our biggest contributions has been to create jobs in Wales and stop the brain drain that I believe is a cause for concern,” said Minns.

“We’ve helped create an additional 1,000 jobs over the past five years.

“We’ve moved from a situation where it was literally shown to be made in Wales 15 years ago to Cardiff, which is now one of the largest manufacturing centers in the UK.”

Mr Minns said the areas surrounding the filming locations benefit economically and the scenes set in Wales encourage tourism to the country.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *