National Museum Cardiff is coming to screens in spring 2021 as the backdrop of a new original crime drama on S4C.
Yr Amgueddfa (The Museum) will be the channel’s first production to spearhead a new genre dubbed “the heritage thriller”, exploring the world of art crime through the story of a newly promoted museum director played by Nia Roberts.
Scripted by BAFTA award-winning author Fflur Dafydd and directed by Paul Jones, the drama is produced by Boom Cymru and will star some of Wales’s best-known actors, including Roberts (The Crown), Steffan Rhodri (Gavin and Stacey), Sharon Morgan (Pobol y Cwm) and Delyth Wyn (35 Diwrnod).
“The drama Yr Amgueddfa really puts the spotlight on National Museum Cardiff and enables television audiences across Wales to take a peek inside the museum and see it in a new light,” said Neil Wicks, deputy director general of National Museum Cardiff’s parent organisation, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales. “We’re very pleased we’ve been able to continue the television and filming productions at our sites this year, working within the Covid-19 restrictions.
“It’s been a difficult time for many organisations in Wales, including the museums sector. We’ve lost a significant amount of commercial income so being able to attract productions such as Yr Amgueddfa is fantastic.”
Fflur Dafydd also wrote the film Y Llyfrgell (The Library), based at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth. “It’s nice to be able to draw attention to Wales’s institutions in a more creative way,” she said. “It is some sort of mission in my work – going after things which feel a little bit invisible even though they are huge and important.”
Director Paul Jones said: “I remember as a young child being dragged by the scruff of my neck through the museum’s lofty galleries and then in my teenage years the galleries were a place to shelter from the rain on many a Saturday afternoon. Now with Yr Amgueddfa, I have the opportunity to visit once again, but this time creating a drama full of deception and plotting within its walls.”
Filming has already started at National Museum Cardiff, which joins a roster of museums who have hosted TV dramas in recent years. The V&A Dundee saw four nights of filming in 2019 for two episodes of the American television series Succession with Scottish actor Brian Cox. Meanwhile, the Big Pit National Coal Museum in Blaenavon, Wales (another Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales site) was featured as a filming location in season three of Netflix’s The Crown in 2019.