This week sees the launch of a new detective drama on S4C the Welsh language television channel. Inspired by the noir dramas of Scandinavia namely The Killing and The Bridge the drama is based in West Wales particularly in the town of Aberystwyth. It has been filmed in Welsh and also in English. The first showing will be in Welsh with English subtitles starting this week 29th October. The series runs for four weeks each episode is two hours long shown over two one hour slots. It’s fair to say that it’s the most eagerly awaited new drama to be commissioned in Wales for many years.
The drama follows Richard Harrington as the troubled DCI based in Aberystwyth having left the Metropolitan Police in London. But I suppose the main character is the setting itself and it’s that which appeals to me enormously. Having a mainstream crime drama featuring the landscape and people of Wales is something entirely new and refreshing. It is this background that I try and achieve in my Inspector Drake novels. There is a sense of place and beauty that I want to marry with the surroundings of the coastal belt of north Wales with its tourist towns. And of course the diverse culture and language that all go to build the culture and community of Wales.
The first novel in my Drake series starts with the murders of two police officers on the Crimea pass [named incidentally after the prisoners from the Crimea war who helped build the first road over the mountain pass from Blaenau Ffestiniog to Llanrwst]. Now it’s part of the main north south road in Wales. All around the Crimea are the signs of the industrial past of Wales with disused slate workings and tracks scoring the landscape. Nearby is one of the largest downhill mountain bike tracks in Europe.
Scotland has many amazing crime writers who have given Scotland its reputation for Tartan Noir. It’s about time there was a body of crime writers in Wales now – maybe the new democratic structures will give us all the confidence to write great welsh crime fiction. I think Dragon Noir has a good ring to it.