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!


4 thoughts on “Hinterland

  1. Ooh, I missed this, I’ll have to check it out, though I do wish I could watch iplayer on my telly not just on the pc in the uncomfortable chair. Not a huge fan of dark, I watch Scandi noir for the language as much as anything, I’m enjoying The Bridge at the moment. I love listening to Welsh too, though I also only know a few words and I have never tried to sing in it, I’d love to give that a go! Any easy songs you recommend? I like learning songs in various languages, including one in Middle Dutch and a Norwegian dialect song about a giant pig.

    1. Yes, I like the language in the Scandi noir programmes. I suppose the most well-known song outside of Wales is possibly (although I’m no expert) Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah (Cwm Rhondda) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cwm_Rhondda. – If you know the tune you could look up the pronunciation. Also, Ar Hyd Y Nos (All Through the Night) is another Welsh song with a well-known tune http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ar_Hyd_y_Nos.

      The song about the giant pig sounds intriguing!

  2. I don’t tend to watch dark stuff like that as I find it too depressing (especially in January!).

    I think Wales is wonderful though – in the bleak midwinter as well as the other seasons. It is one of my favourite places. It makes me feel all creative when I go there! You were so lucky to do your library qualification at Aberystwyth 🙂

    1. You are probably wise not to watch dark programmes – I’m not sure what good they do anyone, really. Yes, I was lucky to live in Wales. Such a beautiful place, and sadly underrated by lots of people, I find.

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