New Welsh noir! Hinterland Series 2

Series 2 of the acclaimed Welsh crime drama Hinterland kicks off on BBC One Wales with four 90-minute episodes from Wednesday, 23rd December at 9.30pm. Viewers outside Wales will be able to watch live on satellite (Sky channel 952 or Freesat 964) and cable (Virgin Media 864).

UPDATE: BBC4 will begin showing Hinterland on Saturday 23 April at 9pm. The 2015 special will be shown first (which is well worth watching), followed by Series 2 (5 programmes in total). Further information is available here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0791w11

See below for an overview of Series 2 and some great insights from Hinterland’s producers/writers and Richard Harrington, who plays DCI Tom Mathias.

hinterland 2

Here’s the BBC overview of Series 2, Episode 1: ‘In this new series, Mathias is under pressure. Meg, his wife, has turned up in Aberystwyth, and he’s under investigation by the IPCC. When a bus driver’s body is found shot on an isolated mountainside, the investigation provides a welcome escape. In his current state of mind, Mathias is fascinated by the lifestyle choices of suspect and ex-soldier John Bell. He also knows that he cannot avoid Meg for much longer.’

And rejoice! Here’s an absolutely wonderful two-minute sneak preview from Series 2, Episode 1… Just click on the image below.

Season 2 Episode 1 clip

Now for an (almost exclusive) extra:

I had the good fortune to attend a TOP-SECRET Hinterland press briefing in Cardiff, at which Richard Harrington (Tom Mathias) spoke about the making of series 2, along with its Fiction Factory co-creators, producers and writers Ed Thomas, Ed Talfan and Gethyn Scourfield. They had some very interesting things to say about DCI Mathias, the series’ Welshness and international success, and the musical adventures of Hinterband… 

Richard Harrington told us about the challenges of playing the troubled Mathias in series 2, as more of his backstory is revealed. He was aware that some viewers felt frustrated at not knowing more about Mathias by the end of the first series, but didn’t feel it was a bad thing to keep the audience waiting a little. Series 2 was all the more exciting due to Mathias’ character development – a ‘seismic shift that changes everything’.

Hinterland 1

Mathias in his caravan. They don’t make Harrington live there for the whole shoot…

The producers discussed the Welshness of the series from a number of intriguing angles. The brooding Ceredigion landscapes provide a ‘big space for big stories’. Hinterland is ‘a love letter to a disappearing Wales’ and a ‘distillation’ of a particular regional Welshness, but also a ‘made-up Wales’ that deliberately avoids contemporary political references to remain timeless. Harrington described the famously hostile Welsh weather as having a biblical feel and being an apt metaphor for Mathias’ mind.

Hinterland landscape 2

Close to the edge…

The producers are very proud of the drama’s Welshness. They talked of a Welsh ‘hunger’ for creating and consuming television dramas in both Welsh and English. These provide an opportunity to ‘reflect the Welsh back to themselves’ and to promote Wales to the world, which is a way of ‘helping people to get us better’. When the producers went to France, armed with images of amazing Ceredigion landscapes, they encountered a number of people who knew nothing about Wales, but loved what they saw. The series is shot completely on location in and around Aberystwth, and the producers feel this is key – they can’t imagine filming it in any other way.

Harrington spoke about the challenges of filming in two languages. The series is filmed twice over – once in Welsh for S4C and once in English (with some subtitled Welsh) for the BBC. This is hard work for the actors, who tend to feel more comfortable in one of the languages, and requires flexibility on the part of the writers – for example, they have to find ways around procedural police language that doesn’t work as well in Welsh. But working bilingually is also rewarding, and Harrington says he ‘finds certain emotions in Welsh’ that he doesn’t find in the same way when speaking English.

DSC_1785

Mathias’ colleague DI Mared Rhys, played by Mali Harris

Hinterland/Y Gwyll has been a huge international success. It’s sold to over 30 countries and has been picked up by Netflix. The producers hope this will lead to further success stories for Welsh-made drama, but stressed that understanding the ‘physics of distribution’ is vital. Hinterland is made with investment from S4C, BBC One Wales and other partners, and feel this kind of approach is the way forward. They clearly know what they’re doing, as series 3 has already been commissioned and begins filming in early 2016.

So how do cast and crew relax when they’re not filming? By playing in their very own HinterBAND, with Hannah Daniel (DS Sian Owens) on vocals and Harrington on drums. They’re so good that they headlined the Aberystwyth Carnival in the summer 🙂

There’s a great piece about Hinterband by Kathryn Williams – with photos – on Wales Online here. And here’s the band in action:

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas – Nadolig Llawen from Wales!

original_nadolig-llawen-tree-decoration

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34 thoughts on “New Welsh noir! Hinterland Series 2

  1. Pingback: Welsh delights: Series 2 of Y Gwyll (Hinterland) and Graffeg’s The Starlings & Other Stories | Mrs. Peabody Investigates

  2. I saw the series of three, but then wasn’t there another one, was it? I missed that; I wonder if it’ll be on again or whether I can justify buying the DVD! Was it just one I missed, Mrs P? Can you recall? I’ll check the iPlayer too as there’s all sorts of stuff on there you thought would’ve disappeared!

    • Hello crimeworm! There were four BBC Wales episodes and then a feature-length special that acted as the final episode of series 1. That final episode would be useful to watch if you can find it somewhere (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b054f2dt), but if you can’t I think you could still watch series 2 without too much of a problem, as relatively little has been revealed about the main characters’ backstories.

      • Great, thanks, I’ll have a look. I’m way behind on The Bridge (episode 4) but it is fantastic and I think it could be my favourite series of the three. Fabulous.

  3. Yes it was on after the Bridge last night, starts January on bbc 4 on Saturday nights obviously replacing the Bridge. Interesting ending to the Bridge, have they left their options open for another series?
    Hinterland looked really interesting from the trailer, did think it was another scandi crime drama!

    • Hi Brian – I’m really glad to see Hinterland getting so much great exposure across channels; it’s extremely good and has more than a hint of Scandi noir. If you’d like to watch the opening of series 2 on the 23rd Dec already, then…

      Viewers outside Wales will be able to watch live on satellite (Sky channel 952 or Freesat 964), cable (Virgin Media 864), and also live and on catch-up on BBC iPlayer (live: http://bbc.in/bbconewales; catch-up: http://bbc.co.uk/iplayer).

      I haven’t caught up with the finale of The Bridge yet, but saw that reactions yesterday were very good. Lots of people hoping for another series, I think!

    • Yes, quite right (and it is a tad confusing). Series 2 first shown in Welsh on S4C. Now showing on BBC Wales in English with some Welsh bits (also subtitled).

      In the past I’ve watched both versions and enjoyed. It’s interesting how the viewing experience changes when watching in English vs Welsh (not necessarily better or worse, but subtly different nonetheless).

      I think ‘some bristles’ might catch on 🙂

  4. Oh, how exciting, Mrs. P! I really did love series one, and I’ve been waiting for Series 2. Lucky you to get the chance for some ‘inside information’ on the series. I can imagine it’s a challenge to film in two languages; it can be difficult to convey the nuances you want to convey, especially if a language isn’t your most comfortable one. But bilingual TV does have a lot to offer. Looking forward to this one.

    • It is exciting! And I think Series 2 will be particularly rewarding in terms of finding out more about the main characters.

      It was great to have the chance to ask the Hinterland team questions directly. They’re hugely committed to the series and to creating quality Welsh drama, and have definitely not taken the easy road when opting to film bilingually. It creates lots more work and some thorny challenges, as you say. But I love that they decided to do it: it means they acknowledge the importance of the Welsh language to Wales, while also giving the series the best possible shot of being successful internationally by making the second version in English. There’s still a bit of Welsh in the English version too, which is great.

  5. Hi Mrs P. I’m so jealous that you met DCI Mathias, wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and keep the blog going, I love reading it.Karen.x

    • Hello Karen – he was lovely and even joined me for a photo in his woolly bobble hat 🙂

      Wishing you and yours a fabulous and very Merry Christmas. Will definitely keep blogging – thanks for reading and do keep dropping by! x

  6. Merry Christmas to you and your family. May you receive even more crime fiction in any form.
    I’m hooked on The Bridge, with two episodes left of season two and eagerly awaiting season three.
    But I really liked season one of Hinterland, but am glad to know about this feature-length ending to it, but don’t if I can it over here.

    • And wishing you a very Merry Christmas too, Kathy D. I hope you have a relaxing one, filled with good reading and cheer.

      The feature-length Hinterland episode really functioned as the end of season 1, and so I wonder if they’ve included it on the season 1 DVD (this would definitely make sense to me). It’s the one involving a fire at a family home.

      Glad to hear that you’ve been enjoying The Bridge!

  7. I really enjoyed series 1 of Hinterland, very dark and bleak in some places but brilliantly shot, but it took a fair old amount of time for BBC 4 to show it in England. I noticed that series 2 is starting on Dec 23rd for those lucky enough to have BBC1 Wales and or Sky etc, so no doubt BBC4 will keep us waiting for this series too…..Anyway, a merry Xmas and a happy New Year to all Mrs P’s bloggers worldwide.

    • Hello Kathy P – I think the wait for Hinterland on BBC4 will probably not be too long… I’ll update this post when I know more.

      I’ve now had a sneak preview of series 2, episode 1: it’s a cracker and is just as beautifully shot as series 1. You’re in for a treat!

      Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

  8. Dear Mrs Peabody Thanks for the news. Please tell me what follows The Bridge in the New Year and whatever happened to the Dr Blake Mysteries S3.

  9. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Mrs.P! I hope 2016 is full of great books, great students, and lots of love. Also, thank you for taking such good care of that Spanish student with a case of arrested development and a taste for crime fiction last May. You changed her life xx

    • Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Elena! May you have a fabulous 2016 filled with criminal delights 🙂

      And you’re very welcome. Haven’t forgotten about this year’s adventures. Am back in uni on the 6th and will update then…

  10. I was so excited to read you page. I live in the United States and have been waiting Not so patiently for the second season of Hinterland and now am desperate for either Netflix to pick it up again or for Amazon to offer it on DVD. We can’t stream BBC UK here in the US, not allowed. This is killing me! I have watched every clip I can find on the second season and every interview about the show. I was thrilled to hear they are starting on the 3rd season. Wheeeeee!!! Honestly may expire before I get to see the 2nd season lol. Thanks for keeping us informed.

    • Hello Ann! Great to hear that you’re a Hinterland fan and I really, really hope that you get access to season 2 at some point soon. Hopefully Netflix will do the right thing and pick it up, especially for you!

  11. Nice new look Mrs P! Hope the new term is going well! I missed Hinterland, as I was at my parents’ and my Dad gets really irritable when it’s something with subtitles 😦 I’m just hoping BBC4 will have it on at some point. That last series of The Bridge was, imho, the best yet. We’re currently watching something called Occupied, on Sky Arts, but only seen one thus far, though it’s Matrioshki is well worth a watch. Also catching up – slowly – on series 2 of both The Knick and The Affair.

    • Thanks, crimeworm – looking forward to publication now!

      BBC4 will definitely have Hinterland on soon. It features in their current trailer for programmes that are coming up, so the question is just when it’s going to air. Will let you know if I hear anything concrete. Perhaps after Trapped?

      Lots of viewers seem to have been blown away by The Bridge this time round – especially the development of Saga’s character. They needn’t have worried about Martin’s departure after all…

      Occupied sounds intriguing. Will check that one out, thanks.

      • Yes, let me know if you see anything, as I’ve not been watching much tv recently. Generally for BBC 4 it’s Saturday at 9pm to keep an eye on…But some unusual channels are picking stuff up (that’s why I need Radio Times, to show me every channel. And their recommendations are generally excellent.) Sky Arts has been doing it for a bit. Meanwhile, he’s going through a phase of these ghost hunter tripe-shows – that or football/F1. I’m away to read, I’ll see you tomorrow…

  12. Simply one of the best shows on television. Characters who allow us to feel their pain, see how flawed human beings are & still go on and do their jobs the best way they know how. Such good, serious, “meaty” episodes while the scenery literally takes my breath away. As dark, hard and unyielding as the show itself – powerful landscapes yielding powerful emotions.

  13. I have often wondered how some of these amazing (under rated) actors wind down. When you think of the powerful emotions they portray to pull the viewer in, it must take every ounce of mental angst the actor can muster and then some. It must surely take it’s toll in the real world. I applaud them all, because with bad acting a truly great piece of work can ‘bomb’ and the message is lost – These guys have it ‘nailed’ and if series 2 is anywhere near as good as the first, then I know I am in for a roller-coaster of a ride.

    • I agree – and am glad for their sakes that they have the band. It sounds like it’s an excellent and very positive release for them after a noirish day in front of the camera.

  14. talk about film noir….this one is really really dark….no crowded coffee houses …no lights…just nature and the leading man whom you can call depression itself…….and yet it is intensley watchable….more pls

  15. Nice blog, I just finished season 2 and am reviewing on my own blog. I, too, like murder mysteries and enjoy watching international murder mystery movies and series. Thank you for your insight. This is truly a dark, noir, series. I agree that it is very dark and depressing and thank goodness for the music in the background…..!

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