'Hinterland' Co-Creator Ed Thomas Explains Why He Wanted Wales To Have Its Own Detective

'We Wanted To Bring Wales To The Party'

"Every country should have its own detective."

That's exactly how programme-maker Ed Thomas convinced the powers that be at S4C that, after Edinburgh's Rebus, Denmark's Sarah Lund and Oxford's Morse (amongst others), Wales needed its very own troubled, lonesome copper.

"It felt like Wales didn't have a voice in the international arena," says Ed. "We didn't seem to be at the party."

Wales has its very own detective now - Detective Inspector Tom Matthias, above with his team

The result… Hinterland and, at its centre, Detective Inspector Tom Matthias, played by Richard Harrington, Wales' answer to Wallander, with his furrowed brow, complex history and untapped compassion for even the most hardened of criminals.

The show is set and filmed in Aberystwyth, on the Welsh north-west coast, a location which presents both pitfalls and opportunity, according to Ed.

"It's very difficult to get to, it's a university town, and a coastal town, but there's this bleak hinterland within," he explains, with evident affection.

"We wanted to make it timeless and mythical, which meant avoiding all the suburbs, the coastline and even the technical stuff of a norman police station. We ended up with this absolute simplicity."

The decision to film Welsh, English AND hybrid version (10% Welsh, seen by most British viewers) was a financial one - with different distributors all needing different things, but the result has had an accidental bonus, according to Ed.

"We started filming when British viewers were watching the first series of The Killing," he explains. "So people were already used to subtitles, and even enjoying them, it seemed. I think there's a hunger for discovering something authentic.

"And with Matthias not speaking Welsh, it helped isolate him as a character," he explains, referring to actor Richard Harrington's ability to understand the language, but not speak it in the hybrid version.

"So it's all come together, to help tell these mythical tales, and remind people that the Welsh people have got lots to say."

So is Wales at the party now?

Ed sounds happier at this prospect than the permanently troubled Matthias ever could.

"Here's hoping."

Gwawr Lloyd, S4C's drama commissioner, says of the show, which has now been bought by Netflix for the US and Canada, and snapped up by German TV bosses, too:

“Y Gwyll/Hinterland has certainly captured the imagination of viewers in Wales and beyond, and continues to do so as the series is now being broadcast internationally.

"We’re really pleased that Y Gwyll/Hinterland will return with a second series - the audience can look forward to more nail-biting suspense and intrigue in stunning Welsh settings.”

'Hinterland Series 1' is now available in DVD boxset and as a digital download. Watch the trailer for the series above, with pictures below...



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