Ryan Reynolds announces launch of ‘Welsh Wednesdays’ on his new US TV channel
Ryan Reynolds has announced the launch of ‘Welsh Wednesdays’ on his new TV channel.
Six hours of Welsh language programmes will be broadcast to audiences across the US each week from this Wednesday.
The first shows include popular series The Red Wall (Y Wal Goch), Wrexham Our Club (Wrecsam Clwb Ni) and the short film Gareth Bale: Living the Dream (Gareth Bale: Byw’r Freuddwyd).
Other programmes range from the bilingual crime drama Bang to Petrol Head (Pen Petrol), about young people and their cars, to Vets (Y fets), which follows Ystwyth Vets in Aberystwyth.
It comes after the Hollywood actor’s production company Maximum Effort – behind the Deadpool films and Disney Plus documentary Welcome To Wrexham – struck a deal with streaming service Fubo to launch Maximum Effort Channel earlier this month.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) June 26, 2023
Reynolds and the co-owner of Wrexham football club, Always Sunny In Philadelphia creator Rob McElhenney, have promoted the Welsh language and culture globally since buying the team in 2020, leading some to label them as unofficial ambassadors to Wales.
Reynolds told the PA news agency: “As many have noted, there is an alarming lack of Welsh content available for American viewing pleasure. That stops today. Well, actually Wednesdays.
“We’re so grateful to S4C for helping bring Welsh programming to a broader audience.
“And to that broader audience: Don’t worry, I am told there will be subtitles.”
All programmes have been bought from Welsh language television channel S4C, which will supply Maximum Effort Channel with weekly programming including dramas, documentaries and entertainment shows as part of a long-term partnership.
S4C said the deal will create income for the channel and production companies behind the shows and enable further investment in the creative sector in Wales.
Established in 1982, S4C puts out around 115 hours of programmes a week, all through the medium of Welsh.
It can be viewed across the UK, with some programmes also available globally on S4C’s streaming and social media platforms.
Llinos Griffin-Williams, S4C’s chief content officer, said the Wednesday takeover will be an opportunity to showcase “Welsh culture, language and talent on the international stage”.
“Together with Ryan and the Maximum Effort team we have curated a slate of exciting shows for a global audience,” Ms Griffin-Williams said.
“This commercial deal will take Welsh language content to Hollywood and the world.
“It will benefit the entire creative sector and talent pool here in Wales as we showcase everything from S4C dramas to entertainment formats, documentaries and sport.’
She added: “We’re a small nation that punches well above our weight.
“Forty years ago, people campaigned to establish S4C as Wales’s national Welsh language channel – now we will be able to stream Welsh language programming to millions of people on the other side of the globe.”
Ms Griffin-Williams called Reynolds “our adopted Welshman” and said he understands the importance of Welsh culture and language, saying his respect and commitment to Wrexham and Wales is “unquestionable”.
The Welsh Government’s deputy arts, sport and tourism minister, Dawn Bowden, said: “This deal is fantastic news for Wales. It shows the strength of the Welsh creative sector and the international interest that exists for the content we create here.
“The creative industries play a huge role within the Welsh economy and the Welsh Government will work with S4C through Creative Wales to ensure we take advantage of the opportunities that exist globally.”
Welsh Wednesdays will begin on the Maximum Effort Channel on Wednesday June 28.
At other times, the Maximum Effort Channel’s content – curated by Reynolds – will feature mostly comedy shows like Alf, Absolutely Fabulous, The Kids In The Hall and his own Two Guys, A Girl And A Pizza Place.
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