Close
Flash is required to view this video

Factual

Gwirionedd y Galon: Dr John Davies

Historian Dr John Davies speaks from the heart on S4C

One of Wales' most eminent historians, Dr John Davies, will be opening the door to his home and sharing his ideas, beliefs and fears in an honest and personal portrait - Gwirionedd y Galon: Dr John Davies on Sunday, 29 December on S4C.

"To me reading is more interesting than speaking to people," says the 75 year old while contemplating life in his kitchen. "When I see people who don't read I can't imagine what on earth they do with their time. What else is there?"

It becomes obvious just how much Dr John Davies loves books as we see piles and piles decorating the shelves, tables and floors of his home. "I must have five or six thousand books here. They furnish the house in a way," he says.

One of the founders of the Welsh Language Society, a former lecturer at Aberystwyth and Swansea universities and the author of 11 volumes including Hanes Cymru / A History of Wales, Dr John Davies is a well-known figure in Wales - and even more so in Grangetown, Cardiff where he's lived for over a decade. Although he's fond of Grangetown, he was born in the Rhondda, moved to Bwlchllan near Lampeter at the age of seven and has also travelled widely.

"I've been in Cardiff since 1980 and in Grangetown since 2000, but I've spent a lot of time in Aberystwyth and Gors as well, so I haven't been here the whole time. But we're one population here and we get along in a wonderful way. I've always said that you can see the whole world in a square mile in Grangetown."

Gwirionedd y Galon: Dr John Davies follows John over six days in Cardiff, the Rhondda and Ceredigion and he talks about the things closest to his heart; his family, history, gardening, Wales, a Welsh identity and the Welsh language. John also contemplates many of life's mysteries, including death, taking long drags on his cigarette before sharing his thoughts which are often both mischievous and melancholy.

"I've met people who have lost touch with the real world and I think everyone over the age of 80 should be allowed to choose to leave this world in a painless and cost-free way.

"Scared of death? No. I wouldn't be surprised if, by the time I'm 80, I'll be looking forward to it, to slipping back into that black void. I don't think anything happens to you afterwards. Sometimes when I see some devout Christians I find the thought of spending an eternity in their company a very, very ghastly thought indeed."