Netflix to release first-ever Welsh language TV show as nation labelled 'success story' in industry
Netflix has revealed the first-ever Welsh language TV show will be released on the platform, hoping to build on the "success story" the nation already holds in the industry.
The global streaming service said it has bought the licence for Dal y Mellt - a crime thriller which follows a group of misfits as they come together to pull off a heist.
The name translates as 'Catch The Lightning' in English and was adapted from the novel written by Iwan ‘Iwcs’ Roberts.
It's been announced that the series will be available on demand with English subtitles from April 2023.
Benjamin King, Netflix’s director of public policy, UK and Northern Ireland, announced the news during a Welsh Affairs Committee evidence session on Wednesday (January 18): "I’m actually very pleased to be able to share with the committee this morning that we are soon to announce that we have licensed a wonderful show from S4C in the Welsh language – Dal y Mellt – which aired on S4C last year, and it’s coming to Netflix in April."
He told Welsh MPs that content made in Wales and about Welsh culture “travels extremely well” to audiences around the world.
He added: "Netflix could play a helpful role in complementing the intent 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 investment in content. We spend over a billion dollars every year here on UK-made content.
"But I think within the UK, Wales has consistently been the location for many of our most well-known and best loved shows. Most people are familiar with Sex Education and many people know as well that certain scenes from The Crown were filmed in Wales, but we also have a suite of other content that was made in Wales for example, our film Havoc, which is the largest feature film ever produced there."
More recently, the streaming service has made Welsh subtitles available on certain films such as The Adam Project and Red Notice, because of lead actor Ryan Reynolds’ connection as the new co-owner of Wrexham AFC, with the sports documentary 'Welcome To Wrexham' released on Disney+ in 2022.
According to Ofcom, 74% of viewers over the age of 13 watched Netflix in 2022, making it the most popular video-on-demand service in Wales.
It comes as the Welsh Government aim to create one million Welsh speakers in the nation by 2050, but saw a recent dropped of 17.8% in the latest census.
During the committee session, Commercial Broadcasters and On-Demand Services executive director, Adam Minns, explained how a thriving film and TV production industry had grown in Wales and said the focus of governments should be on building on that "success story".
"I think one of our biggest contributions has been to create jobs in Wales and stop the brain drain, which I believe has been a concern.
"We’ve helped create an additional 1000 jobs over the last five years. We’ve gone from a situation where there was literally one shown being made in Wales 15 years ago to Cardiff being one of the biggest production centres in the UK at the moment", he added.
He went on to say that areas surrounding filming locations benefited economically and that scenes set in Wales promoted tourism to the country.