Sibling rivalry - from North Wales to sunny Mallorca
Two sisters living in two different worlds, one in North Wales, the other running a hotel in Mallorca… but when tragedy strikes, old wounds open. This is the fascinating background to the colourful new three-part series Sombreros which starts on S4C on Sunday 4 December.
Filmed on location in North Wales and Mallorca, this is the first series experienced producer and scriptwriter Pauline Williams has written on her own. The drama series, a Cwmni Da production, has attracted a stellar cast, including the two fine actresses Gwenno Ellis Hodgkins and Betsan Llwyd.
Gwenno plays Elin and Betsan Llwyd her elder sister, Anna, in a cast which also boasts Dyfed Thomas, Rhys Richards, Delyth Eirwyn, Sioned Wyn, Carwyn Jones, Fflur Medi and Dyfrig Evans, as well as a number of Mallorca actors and Pepe the dog!
Elin, husband Mel, an artist, and their daughter Sioned, live in Cricieth, while Anna and husband Carlos run a successful hotel business in Mallorca. The two seem content with their lives, but an unforeseen tragedy exposes deep cracks in their relationship.
"The main themes of Sombreros are loss and death. With every loss in the story, something new is discovered about the characters," explains Pauline Williams, who has years of experience as a scriptwriter, script editor and television producer.
"Although death is the central theme, humour comes to the surface. I am not belittling death and grief but offer something more than darkness. Everyone deals differently with bereavement but what's interesting about loss is how people cope with it afterwards.
"Death opens the door to secrets which sometimes have been hidden within families for years.
But as Elin says in the drama series, 'The truth comes out in the end.'"
Although they have worked together on a stage play in the past, this is the first time for Betsan and Gwenno to work together on a television production.
"We work in similar ways," says Betsan.
"We are both quite meticulous in our preparation and discuss matters in great depth- on the set during the day and the previous evening. We are on the same wavelength, which is great."
"What is wonderful about this series is that there are several layers to these two characters," explains Gwenno.
"That's a breath of fresh air for me personally, as I tend to be typecast either as a barmaid or as a good sort who's a bit rough and ready! It's great to play such a different character."