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S4C launch prison drama Bariau


S4C launch prison drama Bariau

A gritty new S4C drama, set within the harsh confines of a contemporary adult male prison, is the first major production to be filmed in Llangefni’s £1.6m Aria Film Studios.

Based on testimonies from real-life prisoners and prison guards, the six-part series Bariau explores the complex interplay between four central characters on both sides of the law – highlighting the profound impact of the decisions they make on themselves and those around them.

Gerwyn Evans, Deputy Director, Creative Wales:

“It’s fantastic to see the facilities at Aria Studios being utilised by production companies to create new, original Welsh content. Aria’s launch has been a huge boost to the North Wales region, by becoming the new home for Rondo Media, creating opportunities for the local workforce and offering local trainees the chance to gain experience of working on a set in a live environment.”

The bilingual Welsh-English drama stars Adam Woodward (Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, ITV’s Emmerdale) as Kit and Bill Skinner as George (Apple TV’s Ted Lasso) – both making their debut appearance in a S4C drama, starring alongside Welsh actors Annes Elwy (BBC’s Wolf, S4C’s Y Golau/The Light in the Hall) and Gwion Tegid (S4C’s Rownd a Rownd and Yr Amgueddfa) as Barry.

Produced by Rondo Media, Bariau has injected hundreds of thousands of pounds into the local economy. The production’s impressive two-floor set comprising 24 cells covering almost 2,500 m2 was built by local tradesmen on Stage 1 of Aria Studios. The production employed around 80 people, including 18 former workers from the 2 Sisters chicken plant- a major Llangefni factory which shut earlier this year.

Aria Studios, which opened in January 2023, was established by Rondo Media and S4C’s commercial arm, S4C Digital Media Limited to capitalise on the growing number of productions attracted to the spectacular locations across north Wales.

Based on testimonies from real-life prisoners and prison guards, the six-part series Bariau explores the complex interplay between four central characters on both sides of the law

With support from the Welsh Government through Creative Wales, the studios have two fully soundproofed studio stages offering a total of 20,000 square foot of filming space, for Welsh production companies to use and to attract film and television producers outside of Wales to film in the area.

Gerwyn Evans, Deputy Director, Creative Wales:

“ARIA is also part of a new pan-Wales skills initiative, Wales Screen Academy, which was launched recently. Led by University of South Wales, in partnership with Bangor University and Screen Alliance Wales, the project will create three new Screen Academies inside Cardiff-based Greatpoint Studios, Dragon Studios in Bridgend and Aria Studios on Anglesey, to deliver the skills, education and training for people to pursue a career in film and TV. This announcement sends a very positive message to the industry – Aria is open for business, and we hope that this will lead to more production companies choosing north Wales as their next location.”

Bariau follows the success of S4C’s first major bilingual crime drama Bang, which was set in Port Talbot. Created and written by Roger Williams, the first series, which was broadcast in 2017, was shortlisted for the Writers’ Guild Award and won best drama awards at the BAFTA Cymru Awards and the Celtic Media Festival. It was the first S4C drama to be acquired by the BBC in its original form and was sold to territories worldwide including North America, Canada and Sweden.

S4C Drama Commissioner Gwenllian Gravelle:

“Bariau reflects the harsh reality of life inside a modern prison in Wales – with Welsh speaking and English speaking characters – as you would expect to find there, played by outstanding talent. We’re delighted that recent dramas such as Dal y Mellt and Y Golau (The Light in the Hall) have enjoyed worldwide success and we hope that audiences in Wales and far beyond, will connect with this compelling series.”

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