Skip to main content

TV on location: #MadeInWales

If you live in Cardiff it’s not unusual to see an ambulance from Holby City Hospital parked down the next road, a Cyberman marching down the high street, or a car park full of dressing room trailers and catering vans.

And it’s not just Cardiff of course. Wales has always been a favourite location for TV shows and films, and as more and more production companies base their headquarters here, there are more opportunities than ever for talented designers and set construction crew.

There are more than 8,000 creative industries companies active in Wales. 80% of creative industries activities are concentrated in South Wales with Cardiff at its core.
Clwstwr Creative Industries Report, 2020

Carry On streaming

We’ve all been making the most of our Netflix subscription over the last year or so, and here are some of the recent shows you might recognise, made on location in Wales.

Sex Education featured many beautiful locations from Usk to Caerleon, with much of the scenery filmed around the stunning Wye Valley, above, leading from Chepstow to Tintern and beyond.

In series three of The Crown, viewers went from Caernarfon Castle, below, for the Investiture of Prince Charles, to Cwmaman in the Rhondda Valley, where the Aberfan catastrophe of 1966 was filmed. Netflix’s twist on the King Arthur legend, Cursed, was among the most watched shows in 2020 and it’s no wonder, with breath-taking landscapes such as the Snowdonia National Park.

The End of the F***ing World was filmed at Swansea’s Bay Studios, but the black comedy also soaked up the beauty of the Afan Valley.

If you have Amazon Prime then you might also have caught HBO’s Watchmen last year, with scenes shot at Penrhyn Castle in North Wales.

Who and Where?

Changing channels to the BBC, Doctor Who is made right here in Wales with iconic scenes from the show and its spin-off Torchwood filmed in Roald Dahl Plass,  as well as in the College itself. And it looks like it’s here to stay with production shifting to Wales based production company Bad Wolf from 2023.

And that’s not the only other worldly drama to call Wales its home, a Pontcanna street in Cardiff became Oxford and the portal to another world in His Dark Materials, also made by Bad Wolf.

The set/production designer for the first two series of The Discovery of Witches on Sky was none other than James North – a graduate and Fellow of RWCMD. The incredible sets were built by 4Wood, linked with Bad Wolf, whose work spans across many of the shows mentioned here.

Students on our Scenic Construction and Design for Performance courses can go on placement with them, as one of RWCMD’s industry partners.

Interior scenes for Sky’s I Hate Suzie starring Billie Piper were mostly filmed at Bad Wolf’s Studios in Cardiff, as was Industry, which was set in London, though the crews were seen out and about filming in Cardiff and Newport. Look out for the second series of this, with scenes filmed here over the summer.

Wales Millennium Centre

Ac Yn Gymraeg

Carmarthenshire was the location for Keeping Faith, starring RWCMD grad Eve Myles, and Hinterland exposed the dark, moody landscapes of Ceredigion. It’s also the location for new Channel 4 and S4C drama, Y Golau/The Light In The Hall, continuing the trend of dramas being filmed simultaneously in the Welsh and English Language.

The Pembrokeshire Murders on ITV recently told the story of Welsh serial killer  John Cooper, with detective Steve Wilkins played by RWCMD Fellow Luke Evans, alongside grad Alexandria Riley among others.

The list of major TV dramas filmed in Wales in recent years seems endless, and includes Casualty, Sherlock, Merlin, The Accident, Being Human, Britannia, Gangs of London, A Brave New World, A Very English Scandal, Requiem, Da Vinci’s Demons, Ordinary Lies, Traitors, Wolf Hall, Decline & Fall, The Widow, The Pack and more, many featuring RWCMD graduates as well. How many have you seen?

Finally, we can’t talk about TV shows in Wales without talking about the iconic Gavin & Stacey which has made Barry Island famous. Make sure you pay a visit and grab some chips from Marcos Café.

Many of our students and alumni have gone on to work on productions filmed right here in Wales, and with the industry growing here, this looks set to continue.

Other stories