Bold content that grabs audience attention is essential, and marking the 40th anniversary of the channel’s birth was a moment to celebrate and reflect on the next 40 years of the service.
To mark the occasion, the film Y Sŵn (Joio) was commissioned telling the story of the battle to establish S4C. Thousands had the opportunity to enjoy Y Sŵn in cinemas across the UK before S4C broadcast it, which is something that we intend to emulate with Sinema Cymru. This is our new film partnership with Cymru Greadigol supported by Ffilm Cymru, which will create a Welsh film every year and put Wales on screen at international festivals. In support of the scheme, we also launched O’r Sgript i’r Sinema, a ground-breaking course with National Film and TV School Cymru, to develop a new wave of writers who will be able to write these new films with the ambitious aim of following the footsteps of TG4 and the achievements of An Cailín Cúin this year.
We had a landmark year with drama, including the first Welsh drama on Netflix after the streamer purchased Iwan ‘Iwcs’ Roberts’ adaptation of his Dal y Mellt novel for S4C (Vox / Abacus). We were pleased to see Y Golau (Triongl / Duchess Productions), our first drama co-production with Channel 4 receiving great acclaim before also selling internationally. This was the most watched drama on Channel 4 during the period, showing that S4C’s vision of stories about and from Wales travels and holds audiences. It was also the first production that actor Joanna Scanlan made in Welsh following her appearance on our successful Welsh language learning format Iaith ar Daith (Boom Cymru) in 2021, while also demonstrating how we can attract well-known talent to S4C and support new speakers.
We did not just see successes in drama. S4C and our production partners also brought accolades back to Wales through major awards – Broadcast Award for Drych: Fi Rhyw ac Anabledd (Wildflame); and a New Voice Award for our Hansh Tisio Fforc? series (Afanti).
We are also particularly pleased this year to see our excellent brands continue to entertain, including Am Dro (Cardiff Productions), Priodas Pum Mil (Boom Cymru), and Cân i Gymru (Afanti).
It is good to see S4C’s formats also going further afield, many of which have been sold and adapted successfully during 2022–23, such as Gwesty Aduniad (Darlun) which is now on the BBC as Reunion Hotel. And as we attract younger audiences over the period, it’s been great to see the Hansh brand go from strength to strength.
Our children’s content continued to attract consistent audiences across all platforms. Cyw hatched Cywion Bach to support new speakers and the language transmission of younger viewers and their families, and we saw the success of new dramas such as Y Goleudy (Boom Cymru) and Itopia (Boom Cymru) for older children – through the support of the UK Government’s Young Audiences Content Fund – also make their mark and win nominations and awards.