Tuesday, 5 November 2013
The winter nights are drawing in so it's time to settle down with the latest foreign language crime thriller on TV.
Well, not quite on TV this time and not quite 'foreign' language either because although Y Gwyll has the bleak landscapes, brooding skies, and Volvo-driving detectives it isn't the latest in a long line of Nordic Noir imports but a new Welsh-language production from S4C. This is where the 'not quite on TV' aspect comes in, as I can't get S4C on my Midlands-based Freeview, but was intrigued enough by the word I'd heard on Twitter to catch it on S4C clic with the English subtitles option.
Did it live up to the hype? Well, I must admit I was a little surprised when within the first hour, the investigating team of detectives seemed to be well on their way to solving the case. I had, for some reason, being expecting a long drawn out story arc such as seen in Broadchurch or The Killing, but I'd got it wrong. The first case - the murder of an elderly woman formerly in charge of a children's home - filled two hour-long episodes, and I assume this is the format to be followed in future weeks. So far, it's gritty 'real crime', with a lot of blood but no stomach-churning violence.
It's set in and around the seaside town of Aberystwyth with the wintry countryside showing a dark and barren aspect. For emptiness and bleakness, it definitely rivals anything Scandinavian.
I'm a bit disappointed that the BBC haven't picked it up to show in their 'foreign crime' slot but presumably they think there's more audience for Scandinavian or French drama. Hopefully, the word about it will spread and we'll see Y Gwyll on mainstream TV in future. I for one will be watching again some time this coming week - probably after the next two episodes have been released on line, so I can see them together.