Netflix has announced that it is releasing its first-ever Welsh-language TV show to its platform.
The global streaming service said it has bought the license for Dal y Mellt – a gritty crime thriller that follows a group of misfits who come together to commit a heist.
Based on a novel by Iwan ‘Iwcs’ Roberts, Dal y Mellt – which translates to Catch The Lightning in English – was produced and broadcast by public broadcaster S4C.
The series will be available to UK audiences on demand with English subtitles from April 2023.
Benjamin King, Netflix director of public policy, UK and Northern Ireland, made the announcement on Wednesday during an evidence hearing at the Welsh Affairs Committee.
Mr King said: “I am delighted to announce to the Committee this morning that we will soon be announcing that we have licensed a wonderful Welsh language show from S4C – Dal y Mellt – which was last aired on S4C in a year, and it’s coming to Netflix in April.”
He told Welsh MPs that Welsh-made content and information about Welsh culture “resonates very well” with audiences around the world.
And that Netflix “could play a helpful role in complementing the intention to promote and preserve the Welsh language”.
“The UK is one of the most important markets for Netflix, particularly in terms of production and our investments in content,” Mr King said.
“We spend over a billion dollars on UK content here every year.
“But I think within the UK, Wales has always been the location for a lot of our best known and most popular shows.
“Most people are familiar with sex education and many also know that certain scenes from The Crown were filmed in Wales, but we also have a range of other content that was filmed in Wales for example our film Havoc which is the biggest feature film ever produced there,” he added.
Havoc, which stars Tom Hardy and Forest Whitaker and is about a detective who must rescue a politician’s estranged son after a drug deal goes awry, was filmed and produced in multiple locations in Wales and is due for release this year .
A number of Welsh programs have made it onto the subscription service in recent years, including Hinterland and Keeping Faith, but have been broadcast in English.
More recently, Netflix has made Welsh subtitles available for certain blockbuster films such as The Adam Project and Red Notice due to lead actor Ryan Reynolds’ ties to Wales as the new owner of Wrexham Football Club.
Welcome To Wrexham, a sports documentary about the club’s purchase by Reynolds and Always Sunny In Philadelphia star Rob McElhenney, was released by Disney+ last summer.
According to Ofcom, Netflix is the most popular video-on-demand service in Wales, watched by 74% of viewers over the age of 13 in the last year.
The Welsh Government has set a target of creating one million Welsh speakers in Wales by 2050. Despite this, the latest census showed that the number of Welsh speakers fell to 17.8%.
The committee meeting also heard from the Association for Commercial Broadcasters and On-Demand Services (COBA), an industry association representing commercial broadcasters and on-demand services whose membership includes Now TV, Sky and BT.
COBA chief executive Adam Minns said Wales has grown into a thriving film and television production industry and governments’ focus should be on building on this “success story”.
“I think one of our biggest contributions has been creating jobs in Wales and stopping the brain drain, which I think has been a problem,” said Mr Minns.
“We have helped create 1,000 additional jobs over the past five years.
“We have gone from a situation where literally one was made in Wales 15 years ago to Cardiff which is currently one of the largest manufacturing centers in the UK.”
Mr Minns said that the areas around the filming locations benefited economically and that scenes shot in Wales boosted tourism in the country.
https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/netflix-to-release-first-ever-welsh-language-tv-show-42298132.html Netflix releases the first-ever Welsh-language TV show