As S4C celebrates its 30th anniversary, the Channel broadcasts a powerful drama documentary about Gwynfor Evans' decision to announce a fast until death in the campaign for a Welsh-language channel.
The drama documentary Gwynfor: Y Penderfyniad on Sunday, 4 November is a portrayal through drama, archive and witness accounts of the nationalist leader's decision to make a controversial stand as part of the Welsh-language TV channel campaign.
Gwynfor: Y Penderfyniad (Gwynfor Evans: the Decision), written by the Archdruid T James Jones and produced by Apollo production company, recreates a critical year in the life of Gwynfor Evans. Actor Aneirin Hughes portrays Gwynfor.
In September 1979, the new Conservative Government under Margaret Thatcher announced they wouldn't establish a Welsh-language television channel despite promising to do so in the party's manifesto.
That led to Gwynfor Evans announcing his protest to fast until death and within 12 months, the Government had changed its mind again and decided to establish a Welsh-language channel after all.
Producer Lona Llewelyn Davies said, "It is a warm and sensitive portrayal of a brave man who made a far-reaching decision that could have led to his death. The drama documentary is based strictly on the historical facts but also allows the imagination of author T James Jones to explore the psyche of Gwynfor Evans at the time."
Among those taking part are prominent members of Plaid Cymru at the time, Lord Wigley and Peter Hughes Griffiths; the media commentator, Euryn Ogwen; former chief executive of the Eisteddfod, Emyr Jenkins; Gwynfor Evans' son, Guto Prys ap Gwynfor; his daughter Meinir Ffransis, and her husband, the prominent language activist Fred Ffransis.
Author T James Jones explained that "to convey Gwynfor's thoughts and feelings alone in a drama portrayal was a very special challenge" and that "the script called for a similar treatment to composing a poem."
T James Jones said, "Gwynfor had suffered from depression following 1979 and this Government U-turn was arguably an opportunity for him to redeem himself in some way. I felt compelled to suggest this in as concise a way as possible in the monologue. On the other hand, I admired his courage and hope that will also manifest itself in the drama.
"One of the greatest mysteries was trying to imagine the feelings of his wife and life partner, Rhiannon. The marital relationship is given huge prominence and Rhiannon develops to be the story's heroine."
The 54 year old actor, Aneirin Hughes, originally from Penybontrhydybeddau, Ceredigion, is "a great admirer" of Gwynfor.
"It was a huge honour to be offered the part," said the actor, who lives in Monmouth, "I was aware of the importance of Gwynfor Evans at a young age and at the time admired his courage in making such a stand.
"It was a difficult challenge to portray Gwynfor because he is so well known and a man of a cerebral nature with a somewhat under stated expression. I really enjoyed working on T James Jones' script," said the actor, who portrayed the rugby coach Carwyn James in another S4C drama documentary written by T James Jones several years ago.