Pobol y Cwm

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Pobol y Cwm
Created by John Hefin
Theme music composer Endaf Emlyn[1]
Country of origin Wales
Running time 19 minutes exclusive of commercial breaks
Original network S4C (1982—)
BBC Wales (1974–82)
Original release 16 October 1974 – present
External links

Pobol y Cwm (People of the Valley; Welsh pronunciation: [ˌpɔbɔl ə ˈkʊm]) is a Welsh-language television soap opera which has been produced by the BBC since October 1974.[2] The longest-running television soap opera produced by the BBC, Pobol y Cwm was originally transmitted on BBC Wales television and later transferred to the Welsh-language station S4C when it opened in November 1982.[2]

Apart from Rugby specials, Pobol y Cwm is consistently the most watched programme of the week on S4C,[3] and in 1994 was briefly shown across the whole of the United Kingdom on BBC2 with English subtitles.[4] Five episodes are produced each week, normally broadcast at 20.00 every weeknight, with a repeat (subtitled in English) shown at 18.30 on the following weekday evening.

From September 2014, following a budget cut of £1m to the programme, the Sunday omnibus ceased broadcasting, and it was announced that the show would be taking two one-week sabatticals every year. From January 2015, the Wednesday episode was dropped. However, after receiving additional funding later in the year, the Wednesday episode will be restored on 16 December 2015 – seeing Pobol y Cwm resume airing five episodes a week.[5]


The setting for the show is the fictional village of Cwmderi, located in the real Gwendraeth Valley – an area lying between Carmarthen and Llanelli in south-west Wales, however unlike other British soaps, little effort is made to create an authentic reflection of the intended locality – only a few of the characters speak with a Carmarthenshire accent.[6] Whilst much of the show's early activity took place at a nursing home, storylines are currently centered on the village pub, Y Deri,[7] and its adjacent small businesses and houses. Other frequent settings for storylines include the comprehensive school, Ysgol y Mynach, and a local farm, Penrhewl. There are two other imaginary villages close to Cwmderi, named Llanarthur and Cwrt Mynach.

Since 2012, the programme has been filmed at Roath Lock in Cardiff Bay, other than a few on-location shoots around Cardiff. The exterior outdoor high street of Cwmderi was recreated from scratch, while many interiors are shot inside the Roath Lock studios.

Cast and characters

While most of the cast are largely unknown to the English-speaking world, Ioan Gruffudd – who later became an international film star – played the part of Gareth Wyn Harries between 1987 and 1994. Other well-known faces who have appeared include Rachel Thomas, Huw Garmon, Gillian Elisa, Ieuan Rhys, Aneirin Hughes, and Iwan Rheon. In October 2006, Imogen Thomas made a cameo appearance.

Anglesey-born actor Charles Williams played the roll of Harri Parri who was among the first characters to appear and delivered the soap's opening line "Bore da, Maggie Mathias" meaning "Good morning, Maggie Mathias". He later went on to perform in The Archers and was awarded an MBE in 1983 by the Queen, for services to the arts. His son, Idris Charles, also appeared in later episodes.

Gareth Lewis (who plays Meic Pierce) is the seventh longest-serving actor in a continuous role in British television soap history, while Gwyn Elfyn played the part of village shopkeeper Denzil Rees continuously for nearly 28 years from 1984 until January 2012,[8] making him the tenth longest-serving actor still appearing in a United Kingdom soap opera role.[9]


  1. "Pobol y Cwm: 40 facts to mark 40 years of the soap on its 40th birthday". WalesOnline. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel; Menna, Baines; Lynch, Peredur I., eds. (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. p. 688. ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. S4C viewing figures
  4. The series could occasionally also be seen in England during regional optout slots on BBC1 in the mid to late 1970s.
  5. Jones, Chloe. "Brill news if you're a Pobol y Cwm fan". Retrieved 2015-10-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Pobol y Cwm returns to Gwendraeth roots". South Wales Guardian. 1 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Outdoor filming for the pub used to take place at The Sportsman's Rest in Peterston-super-Ely.
  8. "Pobol y Cwm star Gwyn Elfyn leaves drama after nearly 28 years". BBC News. 5 January 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/pobolycwm/sites/characters/pages/denzil_rees.shtml

External links