A-Z: The Welsh film and TV industry and those who keep it thriving

With Wales’ creative industries turning over more than £2.2 billion annually, the nation has established itself as a globally respected producer of quality film and TV

Productions such as His Dark Materials, Doctor Who and A Discovery of Witches have all emerged from Wales in the last few years (Credit: Alex Bailey)

The Welsh film and TV industry has grown exponentially in the last 10 years and currently employs more than 8,000 people across Wales.

Despite Covid-19 bringing productions to a standstill at times, Education Officer at Screen Alliance Wales (SAW), Rhys Bebb, believes Wales’ TV and film sector remains as strong as ever.

“The production industry at the moment is absolutely bonkers,” he says.

“We’ve been flat out since January with production for TV starting up all over the place”.

Considering 98% of enterprises in the nation’s creative industries are classed as micro-businesses, from prop makers and costume designers to SFX studios and production houses, it is the power of independents that will ensure the ongoing survival of this diverse industry.

Here are just some of the key players that keep it thriving:

A: Awen Media

Based in Caernarfon, North Wales, Awen Media was founded by Gwion Owain to produce compelling factual programming for both national and international markets. The independent production house was shortlisted for a UK BAFTA TV award in 2019 for its gritty documentary Ballymurphy Massacre about the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

B: Broken Hare

Broken Hare is a faux taxidermy modelling studio responsible for making the props for a number of high-end Wales-based TV and film productions including Doctor Who, Sherlock, and more recently, BBC’s hit show His Dark Materials.

C: Cloth Cat Animation

Cardiff-based Cloth Cat is one of the UK’s leading animation studios that has produced work for clients such as CBeebies, Netflix and Disney Junior. Its project Luo Bao Bei received an International Emmy nomination in 2019 with the production company continuing to push boundaries and create industry-cutting animation.

D: Dolbadarn Film Horses

The go-to supplier of horses for film and TV is located in the heart of the Snowdonia mountains, offering the ideal on-site shooting location. Having been operating for over 40 years, Dolbadarn has provided professionally trained horses to internationally acclaimed productions such as Game of Thrones, The Crown and War Horse.

E: Epic Militaria

Epic Militaria rents out military insignia and costumes for film and TV, as well as providing onset experts. The Aberystwyth company specialises in WW2 German, British and American Militaria, and has supplied gear for Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds and Brad Pitt blockbuster Fury.

F: Ffilm Cymru

Non-profit organisation Ffilm Cymru is the development agency for Welsh film. Through funding and training, it aims to develop and sustain the nation’s flourishing film industry in order to showcase talent on an international scale.

G: Gorilla TV

Known as Wales’ largest post-production service, Gorilla TV currently operates in Cardiff Bay and specialises in broadcast media and film. With recently upgraded state-of-the-art facilities, the production house is responsible for editing shows such as Doctor Who, Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special and One Born Every Minute.

H: Hijinx

Based in the Wales Millennium Centre, Hijinx is a unique production company that casts actors with learning disabilities and autism. With a global reputation for excellence, the leading theatre company puts on performances for both stage and screen that champions inclusion and works to change the lives of its participants.

Hijinx actors meet Lin-Manuel Miranda at Wolf Studios during the filming of His Dark Materials (Credit: Hijinx)

Head of film at Hijinx, Dan McGowan, believes that the company has an important place in the Welsh TV and film industry for bringing representation of disabled people to our screens.

“Our actors are at the heart of everything we do: their talent, passion, outlook, stories and skill are the driving force for all of our work which is successful because of them,” he says.

I: IJPR Cymru

IJPR Cymru was set up in 2017 out of Wolf Studios and is an offshoot off one of the UK’s leading media PR agencies. The company works with TV broadcasters and independent production companies based in Cardiff to distribute shows internationally and produce global campaigns.

J: Jamyama Studios

Jamyama studios is run by Welsh producer and composer Pete Bayliss to create sound for film, documentaries and more. Established in 2010, the studio produces original scores for moving picture and is home to the latest audio production technology.

K: Karl Evans Studio

Karl Evans is an artist and inventor who makes professional puppets, props and models for film and TV alongside his talented team. The studios located in Cefnypant, Whitland have supplied to shows such as Peppa Pig Live, Shaun the Sheep, and Big Brother.

L: Little Door Productions

Launched by Elwen Rowlands and Hayley Manning, Little Door is a female-led film and TV production company based in Cardiff. Set up in 2019, the indie aims to invest in local talent and produce shows directly out of the Welsh capital for an international market. Their debut production, BBC Wales crime drama series The Pact, is set to be released this year despite setbacks from Covid-19 restrictions.

M: Marigold Costumes

Marigold Costumes supplies costumes and bespoke designs for film, TV and theatre. Stocking over 100,000 items, they offer the largest original and reproduction stock in Wales. Staff at the wardrobe specialists include BAFTA-nominated costume designer Dawn Thomas-Mondo, among other industry leaders in design.

N: Needle Aerial Media

Needle Aerial Media is a Denbighshire-based company that works exclusively with ariel photography and video. Using the latest drone technology, they are able to capture footage from above to be used in programming and also offer post-production services.

O: One Tribe TV

Run by Dale Templar, the series producer of BBC BAFTA and Emmy winning series Human Planet, One Tribe TV is a highly acclaimed factual television production company with offices in Cardiff and Bath. The production house specialises in foreign and remote locations and is currently in production with Channel 4, as well as creating a BBC Wales Natural History series.

P: Paintbox Media Group

The multimedia company based in Torfaen provides photography, film and media services whilst also supplying talent to the creative industries. Paintbox regularly create their own dramas which are entered into a number of film festivals and competitions.

Q: Quality

As an industry that contributes more than £100 million to the Welsh economy, Wales has cemented itself as a producer of quality, internationally renowned TV and film productions. Some of its most successful shows include His Dark Materials, Doctor Who and Netflix hit Sex Education.

The production industry at the moment is absolutely bonkers

R: Real SFX

Real SFX are the special effects masters whose extensive portfolio include Doctor Who, Peaky Blinders and Luther to name a few. The multi-BAFTA and Emmy award winners most recently won a 2020 BAFTA Cymru award for their work on His Dark Materials.

S: Seraphim Pictures

Having recently reached their 15-year milestone, the independent film production company concentrates on producing short films and documentaries. Seraphim pictures has a keen interest in working with emerging talent and plans to move into feature film production in the long-term. They intend to move forward and complete production on their feature-length documentary I Am Dracula in 2021.

T: Technicolor Wales

Technicolor Wales are a post-production facility based in Wolf Studios which contain state-of-the-art suites and a space for VFX. The company supports all productions in Wales and most recently worked on Bad Wolf’s production of His Dark Materials. Technicolour’s extension from London in 2018 marks the continuing support for Wales’ flourishing film and TV industry.

U: Universal curriculum

In 2022, schools across Wales will implement a new universal curriculum that is set to teach by skill area and emphasise the importance of expressive arts. Moving to a more skills-based format demonstrates a shift to preparing young people for the industry, and Wales’ commitment to fostering the next generation of talent in the creative sector.

V: Vox Pictures

With offices in Cardiff and London, BAFTA award winning Vox Pictures is the television and film production house behind hit show Keeping Faith. Vox aims to create quality and thought-provoking programming, and released its brand-new fiery drama series Fflam for S4C on 10 February.

W: Wolf Studios

Wolf Studios are Wales’ largest studio facilities. Hosting 250,000 square feet of space and 5 separate stages, the last few years have seen them being used to film His Dark Materials and A Discovery of Witches. The studios have been instrumental in the growth of the Welsh TV and film sector with owners Bad Wolf being named the fastest growing firm in Wales in 2019, achieving a growth rate of 2668% from 2016-18.


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Y: – Youth classroom

Screen Alliance Wales (SAW) is committed to inspiring the next generation of Welsh film and TV makers at their dedicated educational space in Wolf Studios, the first of its kind in Europe. Offering interactive workshops and studio tours for young people, Lin-Manuel Miranda even paid a visit to the classroom whilst filming His Dark Materials to offer advice to aspiring creatives.

Rhys Bebb, Education Officer at SAW, describes the programme as “a little gateway into the industry” which has so far facilitated 2427 studio tours. Since September, SAW’s digital outreach programme has reached over 2000 people from various schools and organisations in Wales while in-person workshops are not possible.

Z: – Zipline Creative

Zipline Creative is a BAFTA award winning film, TV and radio production company that was set up in 2007 by two former BBC employees. The company has produced a number of quality programmes including acclaimed BBC comedy Rhod Gilbert’s Work Experience.

The Industry in Numbers

  • Wages in the film and TV sector are already almost double the Welsh average
  • Cardiff-based companies in film, TV, video, radio and photography employ more than 3,000 people (over a quarter of all those working in Cardiff’s creative industries)
  • 15% of enterprises in Cardiff are in the creative industries
  • Film and TV companies spent around £55m in Wales in 2018 – significantly contributing to tourism and raising the country’s global profile

(Source Clwstwr Creative Industries Report 2020)