Welsh delights: Series 2 of Y Gwyll (Hinterland) and Graffeg’s The Starlings & Other Stories

UPDATE: Hinterland series 2 airs on BBC One Wales on 23rd December 2015. For further details, see here.


Last weekend was a bumper weekend for TV crime drama in the UK. Swedish crime drama Beck aired on BBC4 on Saturday, and the second series of Welsh crime drama Y Gywll / Hinterland began on Sunday on S4C.

hinterland (1)

I hugely enjoyed the first series of Y Gwyll/Hinterland, which followed brooding DCI Tom Mathias and his team through a series of investigations in and around Aberystwyth in Wales. Well written and beautifully shot, with a brooding Cymru Noir feel, it’s polished crime drama that’s well worth viewing (see my earlier post here).

The second series kicked off in style, with Mathias (Richard Harrington) dealing with the dramatic fall-out from his previous case and investigating the murder of a bus driver. We also begin to find out more about Mathias’ troubled past, when his wife arrives from London out of the blue. I was pleased to see this aspect of the narrative getting more attention, as it was the only thing I felt was under-developed in series 1, and will help to add definition to Mathias’ character  – and to that of his partner DI Mari Rhys (Mali Harris), who’s also dealing with family problems.

Those of you who saw series 1 will remember that two different versions were aired – one in Welsh and one in English. The series now on S4C at 9.00pm on Sunday nights is in Welsh with English subtitles – and I do recommend watching this one if you can to get a real flavour of the language. If you’d like to catch up, you can do so via Clic, S4C’s online version of BBC iPlayer (the subtitle button is on the bottom right of the screen next to the volume). You can see the subtitled trailer for episode 1 below.

English version Hinterland (which still has some subtitled Welsh bits) will be broadcast on BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Four at a later date, yet to be confirmed.


Welsh publisher Graffeg has dipped its toe into fiction with an intriguing collaboration. In The Starling & Other Stories, edited by Ann Cleeves, twelve crime authors have contributed stories inspired by David Wilson’s bleakly beautiful photographs of Pembrokeshire, and the result is an aesthetic delight: a high-quality softback that features twelve black and white photos ahead of the resulting tales. It’s very lovely and would make a pleasing gift (check out the online sample here).

The authors are ‘The Murder Squad’ – Ann Cleeves, Martin Edwards, Cath Staincliffe, Chris Simms, Margaret Murphy and Kate Ellis – and six ‘accomplices’ – Christine Poulson, Helena Edwards, Valerie Laws, Jim Kelly, Mary Sharratt and Toby Forward. So far, I’ve dipped into ‘Homecoming’ by Cath Staincliffe and ‘The Starlings’ by Ann Cleeves (the latter featuring one of my favourite police investigators, Vera Stanhope) – both of which were great. Having the photographs as a starting point is also very effective: I found myself looking at the relevant photo in a fair bit of detail before reading the story, and was then watching out to see which visual or thematic elements the author picked up and how she wove them in. Great fun, and a feast for the eye and criminal imagination.

Further details about The Starlings can be found over at the Graffeg website.

9 thoughts on “Welsh delights: Series 2 of Y Gwyll (Hinterland) and Graffeg’s The Starlings & Other Stories

  1. All great news, Mrs. P.! And delighted that Hinterland is back. I really enjoyed the first series, too – very much. Sounds like some interesting developments coming up for the show…

  2. Good to hear ‘Hinterland’ got off to a great start, look forward to watching it on BBC4. Yes it was beautifully shot, good cast, & great stories.
    Last night I watched the 2nd Beck, very impressed, thought it was much better than the first. were they from diferent series? Certainly felt that way! Gun vald looked even more menacing without the
    beard & the croped hair. Also liked the way the two main characters hit off each other, also felt there was deffinate feel for the books in this episode.
    I have seen one of the earlier episodes, must have been ’98/99 @ the Broadway in Nottm. they used to have a Crime week, films, talks etc. It explains why I could never find it listed as a film.
    Remember enjoying it, his daughter poped up in this on e as well.

    • Hello Brian – I’ve just caught up with the second episode of Beck and totally agree with you. It was really excellent and so much better than the opener last week. This week’s was made in 2015 and was the start of a new series (last week’s was the end of the previous series and was made in 2010). I particularly liked the emphasis on the police work. As you say, much more of the feel of the original novels. Hooray! Really looking forward to the rest now.

  3. I really enjoyed Series 1 and now I’m trying to catch up on this brilliant Welsh Drama 2nd series on BBC iPlayer on my TV as I work when this is aired, BUT it seems they’ve only got put Episode 2 Pt 2. on the catch up- missing out Episode 2 Pt.1. The second episode is in 2 parts. Very frustrating but a superb series. Bob E.

    • Hello Bob – as it happens I was doing the same a couple of days ago, but did manage to find Part 1 on iPlayer. That was via the TV as well. Glad you’re enjoying the series in any case, and hope you find Part 1 soon!

  4. what happened to episodes 7 % 8 series two of hinterland, 5/6 was on 13th January on BBC1 Wales. It was not on on 20th Jan nor is it on catch up

Please leave your comment here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.