Hinterland was released on DVD yesterday. What language was it in? Hinterland/Y Gwyll, an Aberystwyth detective drama, was filmed in both English and Welsh (each dialogue scene being filmed twice, English first for the benefit of non-Welsh speaking members of the crew). It was shown on S4C in Welsh last Autumn, and it’s just finished a run on BBC 4, having been shown on BBC One in January (UK folk – you’ve a couple of days to catch it on iPlayer). I’d expected these BBC broadcasts to be in English, but family in England tell me they had bits of Welsh (with subtitles) in.
This version, variously described a ‘bilingual’ (by S4C) and ‘hybrid – English with Welsh snippets’ (by Arrow Films) makes some kind of sense. It seemed surprising to me that everyone in the show should speak one language when we’re a bilingual country. Any pub, any train carriage, in the office at work, if you listen to the conversations taking place, some of them will be in Welsh, many of them will be in English. I don’t get to Aberystwyth as much as I’d like, but on the occasions I’ve been there, I’ve heard plenty of English spoken as well as welsh. In Y Gwyll, apart from the shipping forecast, and the message on Mathias’ ex’s voicemail, no English was heard. In the bilingual Hinterland, I can imagine having Mathias as a non-Welsh speaker could add to his outsider status. It’s not contrary to the narrative, but it does change it. I’ve also read Harrington say the Welsh is more emotional, but makes the procedural stuff more snappy – so they played up the geekiness of that.
I think there was a ‘pure’ English version, and that it has never been aired on TV because they created the hybrid version to replace it. But I think it was screened at BAFTA, in London, last October. But when they realised audiences would accept a more Welsh version, they re-edited it. The bilingual version was, according to Wikipedia, what screened in Norway and, presumably, will be the version that goes out on US Netflix. It looks like that’s what is going out on DR in Denmark. (In Belgium, it’s the Welsh version that will go out.)
So which of the three versions are on the DVD? The listing is not that clear.
Arrow Films confirmed to me the DVD released this week is the hybrid.
But the good news there is the Welsh version will also be released, we just don’t know when. S4C have confirmed this, but again, alas, without a date.
The new series – starts filming in September and will have five parts – is filming in English and Welsh (though presumably they don’t need to film quite as much English as last time…?)
Update: The Welsh language release will be out on 30 June.