New S4C series will recreate the WW2 experiences of evacuees in Wales
A new S4C living history series will recreate the wartime experiences of English evacuees who moved into Welsh-speaking rural communities.
Eight non-Welsh speaking children from UK cities will be staying in a Welsh-speaking area of north Wales to face the same kinds of social and language challenges as evacuees in the 1940s.
Around 110,000 children were evacuated to Wales during the Second World War with most rural villages hosting children from cities such as Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester.
Welsh indie Wildflame Productions has been commissioned to make the multi-format Efaciwis across four different series.
Llinos Griffin-Williams, creative director of Wildflame, said: “None of the cast will speak any Welsh and most have never been to Wales before.
“Transported back in time to 1940s rural north Wales, they will have to face the same social and language challenges that their counterparts faced 80 years ago.
“We will draw on a range of experts and personal testimonies from real evacuees who lived through the experience to unpack the themes of wartime Britain and give a new context to the experiences young people faced at the time.”
Along with the main living history series, there will be a children’s version and two 60 minute documentaries looking at the impact of the evacuees on Wales.
Amanda Rees, S4C’s director of creative content, said: “Efaciwis is an authentic experiment that combines elements of history and language.
“Our viewers will be able to follow the fascinating journey of eight children from English cities as they try to cope with Welsh life in pure Welsh communities.
“This commission will be one of our key upcoming campaigns with a range of specialist formats for children, insightful documentaries and digital supplementary content too.”
In particularly Welsh-speaking areas, English evacuees often became fluent in the Welsh language but it also created tensions and accusations that it was weakening the language.