Ministry Of Happiness - I don't know if this is a sitcom or not. It's only two episodes and it's based on a true story - but apart from that, it's a sitcom. Whatever it is, episode one of Ministry of Happiness is available now on BBC Sounds. It's all about the launch of 5WA - the first BBC radio station in Wales - and stars Vern Griffths, Nadia Kamil, Humphrey Ker, Mali-Ann Rees, Steffan Rhodri and Keiron Self who are all supurb.
I've tried to cram as many facts into the script as I could - but if you're interested in the detail as to exactly what is and isn't true, I live tweeted the broadcast with the real-life tales which inspired the show and the thread starts with the tweet below.
Okay, Ministry Of Happiness is about to begin on @BBCRadioWales. It's a two-part sitcom (if that's a thing) based on the true story of the radio station 5WA which launched 100 years ago. I'm going to tweet along with facts (or at least confirmation that some details are true)... pic.twitter.com/FeVS5Pzuzs— Gareth Gwynn (@garethgwynn) February 6, 2023
I've also been invited onto various podcasts and radio shows to talk about 5WA and its rather shambolic first year or so. I have been interviewed by Paul Kerensa for the next episode of his excellent British Broadcasting Century Podcast (a video of which is here) and I was a guest in the final moments of The Today Programme on the 8th February, shouting garbled facts at Mishal Husain before the pips got to me (I start at 02:54:40 and don't really stop till I have to).
Episode 2 will be broadcast on the 100th anniversary of the station's launch,13 February, at 6.30pm on BBC Radio Wales and will be on BBC Sounds afterwards - and I'll try my best to live tweet that one too (which, thinking about the plot, could be a lot more complicated!)
Cyril Gwynn (1897-1988), also known as The Bard Of Gower, was “a tall, sunburnt, unsmiling farmer”. Gareth Gwynn (1983-Present) is none of these things. Gareth did not spend the First World War in the Merchant Navy, nor has he ever been shipwrecked, but he’s going to read you some of his great-grandfather’s poetry anyway. Gwynn (1983 ed.) has written for The News Quiz, The Now Show and Top Gear. He is the co-writer of Ankle Tag (BBC Radio 4), Tourist Trap (BBC One Wales), The Goodies (Audible) and is the co-presenter of The Xennial Dome podcast. Please Note: Family members are banned.
That last bit about family members probably makes the whole thing seem a little bit more dramatic than it is - but with it being a work in progress, I'm keen to try this in front of people who haven't necessarily heard of Cyril Gwynn or his poems. Then hopefully, once I've got it working, I can allow family members along who can enjoy diligently pointing out all the facts I've got wrong. Anyway, if you're in Machynlleth, do come along for the very civilized time of midday on Sunday 30th April and watch me try and work out what the 1930s Gower dialect actually sounded like.
The Collected Works Of Tudur Owen: I thought I'd mention the other shows I have worked on recently which remain on their respective catch-up services - and I have just noticed, by complete coincidence, they all feature Tudur Owen - and that's no bad thing. On BBC Sounds you can find Tudur Owen: Zoo (Nominated for a BBC Drama Award) and Tudur Owen: The United Nations Of Anglesey both of which examine Tudur's youth spent liaising with furious animals. And on BBC iPlayer and S4C Clic, O'r Diwedd 2022 - the end of year show written by Tudur, Sian Harries and I, remains available for a couple more months - perfect to cement that year as a thing of the past, especially if you're still writing 2022 on your cheques.