I’ve been watching Hinterland on the BBC iPlayer. I can’t really say I’ve enjoyed watching it,  on the whole, because the subject matter of the episodes so far has been almost unrelentingly grim, but I appreciate that it’s a ‘quality drama’ in the vein of recent Scandi noirs such as Wallander and The Killing. Apparently the makers of The Killing have bought the rights to Hinterland, which is probably a sign that it’s OK (if you like that sort of thing).

There are a couple of things about Hinterland that I have enjoyed. One is the beautiful Welsh landscape. The series is set in Aberystwyth, where I did my library degree. It’s quite fun to spot places I know, and it’s also made me realise how much of Aber (as it is known) I didn’t see while I was there. I used to live in North Wales as well (also as a student), and that is equally beautiful, possibly even more so in some parts. Obviously the BBC’s producers/writers/whoever decides these things have made the most of the Mid-Wales landscape – apparently they chose to shoot the series in winter, when it’s at its most foreboding (poor cast and crew!) – and it works really well as a character in its own right, just as well as the Swedish landscape in Wallander.  However, I feel I should say that Aber is really not such a grim place as it’s portrayed in Hinterland. I enjoyed my time there, and my memories are mainly of beach barbecues and long, happy days in the university library!

Sunset on Aberystwyth

Sunset on one of the days we had a BBQ (2003)

Big sand dune

Me and Mr C on a big sand dune at Ynyslas (2003)

The other thing I’ve enjoyed is hearing the Welsh language on (relatively) mainstream television. One article I read said they’d filmed the series twice – once in Welsh and once in English, but the version on iPlayer seems to be in a mixture of Welsh (with English subtitles) and English. I really like Welsh, even though I can only speak about 5 words of it. I tried to learn when I was in Wales, but other things (e.g. essays) got in the way, alas. It’s my favourite language to sing in. I’m sure it’s easier to sing in Welsh than in other languages, but I could be wrong.

I would recommend Hinterland if you’re a fan of dark mystery series – the acting’s good and it’s beautifully shot – but it really is quite bleak in outlook, so don’t watch it if you’re not feeling particularly cheerful!

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