Lockdown-hit Welsh tourism chiefs are hoping for a big boost as one of Wales’ most popular attractions stars in a television series to be shown on the ITV network across the UK.
The Village celebrates the work of the men and women helping to run Portmeirion - the iconic Italianate village made famous worldwide by the cult 1960s TV series The Prisoner.
Portmeirion is currently going through its first shutdown in 94 years because of the Covid-19 crisis.
And while viewers are being invited to enjoy a ‘virtual visit’ from the comfort of their own sofas for now, there are hopes that the series will bring a big increase in tourists coming to the area once lockdown restrictions ease.
Robin Llywelyn, managing director of Portmeirion, said: “On behalf of all at Portmeirion, I would like to say how delighted we were to take part in The Village.
“The series provides a behind-the-scenes view of the work that goes on to maintain and preserve Portmeirion for the enjoyment of future generations - work that is not normally seen by our guests.
“I think the series shows that Portmeirion is an integral part of the local community and plays a significant part in sustaining a viable economy in this rural area.”
Portmeirion, built on a private peninsula overlooking stunning coastal scenery has been described as “the Italian Riviera meets rural Wales with a riot of colour and architectural styles.”
It was created by the visionary architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis over two periods - 1926-1939 and 1954-1976 - by which time Sir Clough was well into his nineties.
It includes a group of colour-washed buildings around a central piazza, with scenic surroundings and extensive woodlands, including historic cottages, restaurants and two hotels.
ITV Cymru Wales first broadcast a six-part series about Portmeirion last spring, sparking a big boost in visitor interest. Now, staff are hoping that the new four-part network version of the series could have the same impact on viewers across the UK.
Meurig Jones, location manager at Portmeirion and one of the stars of the show, explained: “To have the series aired in Wales last year was brilliant for us, as it undoubtedly was a brilliant way of re-introducing ourselves to our fellow countrymen, especially to the ones living in the south of the country.
“To have the series broadcast nationally is beyond our wildest dreams, because the programme shows not only how beautiful the village is, but also how brilliant its creator Sir Clough Williams-Ellis was. To dream of undertaking such a project, and managing to complete it over 50 years, shows what a genius he was.
“All the staff who work here love the place, and I think this comes across brilliantly in the series. Hopefully, we'll be able to tempt many more people from further afield to come and see us when life gets back to normal, and I look forward to hopefully welcoming them here later in the year.”
Robin Llywelyn, who is the grandson of Sir Clough, added: “Portmeirion was built to illustrate the importance of sympathetic development, environmental protection and sustainability and these issues are as important today as they ever were.
“I’m glad that this message will now have a chance of reaching a wider audience on the UK network.”
The Village, a Slam Media production for ITV, will be broadcast weekly on ITV across the UK starting at 8pm on Tuesday 28th April. It will also be available on the ITV Hub.