BBC Cymru Wales and Nick Andrews, BBC Cymru Wales’ Head of Commissioning have announced new factual entertainment programmes today with a mix of new and returning programmes.

The new programmes include Wynne Evans and Joanna Page: Lost at Sea (w/t) from Barn Media. Evans and Page will be  adventuring along the Welsh coastline with shared passions of the sea, food, and music. Each episode will see the presenters on their motor yacht, charting a course to new destinations that range from fishing villages to coastal towns and secluded hamlets. Wynne and Joanna will also explore unusual dining spots at each destination. Aboard their boat Wynne, 2023’s Celebrity MasterChef winner, will whip up delicious meals.

Wales’ Home of the Year, from IWC, (pictured) will return for a third series, this time with an additional Christmas Special. Once again the three judges – Owain Wyn Evans, Mandy Watkins and Glen Thomas – scour the country, seeking out Wales’ most beautiful, surprising and unique homes. They’ll judge them on architectural merit, interior design and personal style, choosing one finalist from each area every week to battle it out for the title of the nation’s most perfect pad. This year there will also be an hour-long yuletide special, where the judges will visit a shortlist of 5 homes, with one crowned as Wales’ Christmas Home of the Year.

Hunting Mr Nice is a BBC Factual and BBC Wales co-commission for BBC Two and iPlayer, produced by Kailash . The two-part series tells the story of Howard Marks, who grew up in a Welsh village, dabbled in dealing weed while at Oxford university, before building a worldwide drug-smuggling empire and even working for MI6, at the height of the America’s War on Drugs. This new insight tells the definitive story of the world’s most notorious cannabis smuggler – and the police who devoted their lives to bringing him to justice, along with members of his criminal inner circle breaking their silence for the very first time. Also featuring journalists, lawyers and Marks’ friends, the series takes us inside the cultural phenomenon of ‘Mr Nice’ to ask how he was able to become so criminally famous yet continue to evade justice.

Music and storytelling will come together in Kelly Jones with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, from BBC Studios Music. For this specially recorded performance, Kelly Jones forsakes the guitar in favour of piano and will be joined by members of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales as he debuts songs from his latest solo project. Following the huge success of the last Stereophonics tour and launch of his side project Far From Saints, Kelly Jones took himself and his recording engineer off to a remote Norwegian island to work on a brand new collection of very personal songs. Now he will bring those songs to life in an intimate performance filmed specially for BBC Wales at BBC Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff. Alongside the new material we may also hear one or two familiar songs in new arrangements.

In Chris Cooks Cymru, from Cwmni Da, fire-chef extraordinaire, Chris ‘Flamebaster’ Roberts, will take his passion on the road across his beloved Wales. Hooking up with renowned chefs, producers and local characters he will be showcasing top foodie destinations and cooking his go-to dishes along the way. He celebrates Welsh food, Welsh producers and Welsh communities.

There are plenty of viewer favourites returning for new series. Following the success of past seasons, Our Lives, has been re-commissioned for an 8th time. Made by six different production companies spread across Wales, the series will celebrate Welsh life in all its diversity. Three of the Our Lives programmes are co-commissions with BBC Network.

Dream Team (w/t), made by Rondo, is an inspirational observational documentary following Katy and her sister Emma who are channelling grief into something very special. Mobilizing the community of Brynaman, the sisters embark on an ambitious project: a charity football match between Wales and England, featuring big name football stars from the Wales Euro 2016 squad.

Dino Hunters (w/t), made by Brown Bob Cymru, will take us on a journey of discovery across the dramatic Heritage Coastline of Wales as leading Palaeontologist Cindy Howells explores Wales’ unique fossil record. With exclusive access to the archives at the National Museum of Wales, Cindy shows us the new discoveries being made by Wales’ dedicated community of amateur fossil hunters.

Skanda Vale Life (w/t), made by Carlam, tells the story of a multi faith community that has been based just outside Carmarthen for 50 years. It’s a centre to explore spiritual practice, eco-conscious living and it also runs a hospice – all with the help of local volunteers. An eclectic community of people from all sorts of backgrounds live on site but undoubtedly the most exotic residents are two elephants. Looking after animals and interacting with the elephants illustrates the community’s commitment to harmony and coexistence with all living beings. The majestic animals live in a huge purpose-built barn, have free roam of the fields and go for walks with their keepers – a resident community of Brothers – twice a day in the surrounding woodlands.

In Search of Lost Mines (working title), from Afanti, will shine a light deep beneath the Ceredigion countryside into mines that were once teeming with gold, silver, lead, copper and other minerals. Lesser known than the slate and coal mines of north and south Wales, most have remained untouched for more than a hundred years; their heritage and histories forever frozen in time. That is until now… when two unlikely friends go on a quest to keep the history and heritage of Wales’ lost mines alive.

Rockstar Shearers (working title), also from Cwnmi Da, is a compelling documentary that takes audiences on a journey into the world of competitive sheep shearing. The film follows the reigning Sheep Shearing Champion of the World, as he embarks on a mission to defend his coveted title. Once a year the tranquil town of Corwen in North Wales transforms into the epicentre of the global sheep shearing world. Hundreds of competitors from right across the globe – as far as Australia and New Zealand – and thousands of supporters gather annually for Corwen Shears or Cneifio Corwen in Welsh.

The Pigeon Fanciers of Rhyl (working title), produced by Doc Shed, is an exploration into the world of this often-overlooked sport that has united communities for centuries. This is a film about people obsessed with their birds, determined to beat their rivals as well as giving an insight into the amazing ability of the pigeons to somehow find their way home.

Nick Andrews said, “We’re delighted to be announcing these shows today. After a terrific response from the sector, and a further funded development phase, we know these series’ will delight our audiences here and across the UK. Talent fronted shows continue to make a real impact – they bring real joy – and BBC Cymru Wales is super proud to be working with such a warm and friendly family of presenters.”

The new shows will broadcast on BBC Cymru Wales and iPlayer over the coming months.

Pippa Considine

Share this story

Share Televisual stories within your social media posts.
Be inclusive: is open access without the need to register.
Anyone and everyone can access this post with minimum fuss.