Cometh the hour: S4C moves Tuesday and Thursday soap opera times to release hour-long prime-time slot
Welsh channel S4C has unveiled a new-look schedule for Tuesdays and Thursdays prime-time, beginning in the first week of 2018.
The channel’s twice-weekly soap opera Rownd a Rownd moves an hour earlier to 18:30 and the daily soap opera Pobol y Cwm moves half an hour earlier to 19:30 on those two nights to free a slot for hour-long programmes between 20:00 and 21:00.
These changes are part of an exciting new programme schedule set to excite viewers in the New Year, which will include new hour-long programmes starting with a popular wedding reality TV series and a major nature documentary series to kick-off the Tuesday and Thursday 8.00 o’clock pm slots.
Amanda Rees, S4C Director of Creative Content believes the changes will provide viewers with more choice at peak-viewing hours on S4C from the New Year onwards.
Amanda Rees said; “The channel’s programme schedule needs to change from time to time in order to answer the viewers’ needs. There is a family audience available to view at 8.00 that we are currently not quite reaching. We feel that this new prime-time schedule for Tuesdays and Thursdays provides an opportunity to capture that family audience as well as provide more variety for other viewers and that New Year was the right time to launch it.
“We believe that moving the twice-weekly drama Rownd a Rownd to 6.30 will work better for our viewers especially the younger demographic to which the show is targeted but who are currently watching mostly online.
“Moving Pobol y Cwm half an hour earlier means we can carry its big audience onto the new hour slot which will begin with a new series of the reality TV wedding show, Priodas Pum Mil and Iolo Williams’ new nature series filmed at the awe-inspiring Great Barrier Reef. All in all, the move brings more colour to prime-time on S4C.”
Amanda Rees adds, “I must thank the production companies Rondo Media and BBC Wales for their willing cooperation in making this schedule move. I must also stress that the changes coincide with our continuing emphasis on driving viewers to our catch-up online services on s4c.cymru, BBC iPlayer and other platforms.
“In bringing back the Sunday omnibus edition of Pobol y Cwm during the last 12 months and highlighting the Sunday omnibus of Rownd a Rownd, we are attracting new audiences from all over the UK to watch both on television and online from all over the UK.”
Llyr Morus, series producer, Pobol y Cwm said the change in the schedule was happening at a time when prominent characters such as Garry and Danni Monk, Dr Elgan and Mark Jones and his family had particularly strong storylines dealing with important social issues.
Llyr Morus said, "The Pobol y Cwm team is proud to be a cornerstone in S4C's schedule and we will start 2018 with new titles and a host of stunning stories for our old and new viewers."
Bedwyr Rees, Rownd a Rownd's Executive Producer from the Rondo Media company said the team was sure that the new time would be an opportunity to attract new viewers with major storylines for popular characters such as pregnant police officer Sian and John; Cathryn after her separation from Vince and tensions between Carys and her partner Barry.
Bedwyr Rees said, "Rownd a Rownd has a wide range of viewers and it is our hope that the new slot will appeal to families, allowing people of all ages to come together around the TV to enjoy them together. At the same time we are confident that our faithful congregation will follow us to the new slot. We are always looking for appealing stories, which embrace the imagination and offer something for everyone."
The special hour-long Christmas Day episode of the Welsh soap, Pobol Y Cwm, on S4C is going to be a cracker – with the lives of more than one of the series' characters set to change forever. But behind the drama, there is an underlying message about the difficulties faced by people suffering from chronic kidney disease.
The day's main social event is the village Christmas Parade with every character seemingly in good spirits, in more than one meaning of the word.
But as they sing their carols on the street, in the episode to be televised at 8:00pm on Monday, 25 December, a great deal is hidden behind the festive fun and laughter, with a whole host of ghosts past, present and future coming to the fore.
Arwyn Davies, who plays likeable rogue Mark Jones in this BBC Wales production on S4C, is looking forward to see the viewers' reaction to the Christmas Day episode.
"The whole cast enjoyed taking part in the Christmas Day episode, there is so much going on. And what is great about our family storyline is that there is a serious message behind it all, about the challenges facing people living with chronic kidney disease and the importance of kidney donation," says the actor and composer who was brought up in Swansea and now lives in Cardiff.
Mark has gone through the wringer recently, having heard he has to have a second kidney donated or be on dialysis for the rest of his life. His sister, Stacey, has already donated one kidney many years ago, and now he's hoping that his newly found half-sister, Non (played by Gwawr Loader) will donate another.
“This story line is particularly of importance for awareness in our 50th year of working with patients,” said Professor Roy J. Thomas of Kidney Wales. “Living with chronic kidney disease is a huge life challenge for those suffering when the only treatment at the end stage is dialysis or a transplant. Kidney Wales is currently working with those affected and especially looking at the mental effects of living with renal disease.”
"I can't reveal too much, but what happens on Christmas Day will shake the tree for the big Jones clan," says Arwyn about the former bad boy Mark Jones, who as the local postman, is at the heart of village life nowadays.
Series Producer Llyr Morus admits he is always nervous before the transmission of the Christmas Day episode, but believes that this year's festive drama will be a feast of festive fun for the viewers.
And he's grateful to the charity Kidney Wales Aren Cymru for expert advice in developing the storyline.
Llyr said, "Christmas Day episodes are always a pleasure to produce, but they come with high-stakes too. There have been so many memorable Christmas editions of Pobol Y Cwm over the years, there is always an air of expectancy.”
"This year, there are a number of strong storylines bubbling nicely around the Christmas Day edition, ready to explode. I can't reveal much without spoiling the fun – but I can say that one character will be fighting for his or her life by the end of the episode. A number of other tensions between characters come to a head; there will be unusual scenes on the High Street and high drama guaranteed in the Deri Arms."
Pobol y Cwm
Christmas Day 8.00pm, hour-long edition, S4C
No edition on Boxing Day
A BBC Wales production