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Gripping new drama exploring mental health and grief comes to S4C

29 Mar 2024 5 minute read
Creisis – S4C

A new drama is set to hit TV screens this weekend following the lives of staff at a Welsh mental health crisis centre – darkly yet humorously delving into the world of mental health and grief.

S4C’s new drama – Creisis – steps into the fragile world of mental health and grief following Jamie Morris’ story, a nurse who not only shoulders his patients’ psychiatric problems but who is also dealing with his own mental deterioration.

Falling apart

This six part drama series, written by Anwen Huws (The Light in the Hall) follows the lives of staff at a mental health crisis centre in the South Wales valleys, focusing on Jamie as his world begins to crumble around him.

Jamie works on the front line, looking after the most fragile people in his community. His personal and professional life is a mess, as he goes from one crisis to another.

Gwydion Rhys stars as Jamie

Gwydion Rhys stars as Jamie, in his first lead role in TV drama.

Gwydion’s experience on TV includes Hidden, Hinterland and 35 Diwrnod and his theatre experience includes Anthem (Wales Millennium Centre), Blue (Chippy Lane Productions), The Wood and One Man Two Guvnors (Torch Theatre) and American Nightmare (The Other Room).

Gwydion Rhys says: “Jamie is central to every scene in the drama and, although that was quite intense at times, I tried to use that intensity of the filming schedule to add to the performance.

“The process of developing Jamie’s character was a collaborative one from the start. Following the audition brief, I decided to tape one of the monologues on my mobile phone on my way back from the school run – hoping this would reflect Jamie’s struggles.

“I also worked closely with the production team to shape the character during the process.

“Although I hadn’t played the lead character in a TV drama before, the role was similar to a stage production. Jamie is an erratic character and very emotional, but I hope that the audience will sympathize with him. It was a pleasure to play the role and I made sure to appreciate the chance to be on set every day.”

Challenging themes

The Creisis cast also include Hannah Daniel (Keeping Faith, Hinterland, Holby City), Sara Gregory (Alys, Torchwood, Under Milk Wood), Alex Harries (The Light in the Hall, Keeping Faith), Richard Elis (Eastenders, Coronation Street, The Pact) and Arwel Gruffydd (Y Sŵn, Hedd Wyn).

Creisis is a Boom Cymru production, the joint production team behind the BBC’s Christmas drama, Men Up

The drama’s challenging themes focuses on the mental health of those working within the sector and reflects the stories of those living within the Welsh valleys’ communities.

The drama was filmed on location in Bridgend and Pontypridd, and taking care of the cast and crew’s own mental health and welfare during the production was vitally important.

A scene from S4C’s new drama, Creisis

Marged Parry, Boom Cymru producer says: “Creisis is a story of belonging and what it means when a person’s support system starts to crumble. This is what happens to Jamie. He feels the weight of responsibility on his shoulders increasing until it comes to a head; I’m sure that many will relate to his story.

“As producers we were keen to emphasise to cast and crew that our door was always open to discuss any aspect of the drama – we were all aware of the difficult themes that were being discussed in the scripts.

“During filming, there was a Welfare Facilitator present on certain days to offer added support to all members of the team.

“Trigger announcements were made on call sheets when scenes of a sensitive nature were being filmed the following day and, when needed, a further warning would be given on set.

“Throughout the filming process and beyond, many resources were made available to cast and crew to support them with their mental health and wellbeing.”

A scene from S4C’s new drama, Creisis

Gerwyn Evans, Deputy Director, Creative Wales added: “Creative Wales is passionate about supporting the screen industry in Wales, and about working with independent production companies and broadcasters to produce high quality bilingual content that’s intrinsically Welsh.

“Creisis is a truly Welsh production, from the writing to the cast, crew and filming locations. Not only that, these home-grown productions create quality opportunities for both experienced crew and trainees learning their craft, with six trainees including one apprentice having worked on the set.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the sector to make Wales one of the best places to establish a long-term career in screen.”

Gwenllian Gravelle, S4C’s Head of Scripted says: “I wanted to commission a drama that concentrated on mental health and how the system works at the heart of a close community. This drama succeeds in showing this as we watch our central character Jamie, losing his grip on reality.”

Creisis will be available to view on Sunday 31 March at 9pm on S4C, and on demand on Clic, iPlayer and other platforms.

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