S4C Authority

02/16/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/16/2021 05:06

Celebrities go on a road-trip to learn Welsh

16 February 2021

Here we go again! Iaith ar Daith is back on S4C with a brand new series as six celebrities go on a special journey - with a mentor for company and inspiration - with the aim of learning some Welsh.

Every week, beginning on Sunday, 7 March, one celeb and one Welsh-speaking mentor who is also a well-known face, travel to different areas of Wales in order to learn a little bit more of the language - and there will be several challenges along the way.

Here are the celebs who are taking part in the Iaith ar Daith Series Two:

Steve Backshall - The adventurer and presenter of nature programmes including Deadly 60 and Blue Planet Live. He is also a guest lecturer at University of Wales, Bangor.

Joanna Scanlan - Joanna is a familiar face thanks to roles in a number of popular television series and films including The Thick of It, No Offence, Bridget Jones's Baby and Notes on a Scandal, along with Welsh series, Stella and The Accident.

James Hook - Former Wales international rugby player.

Kiri Pritchard McLean - Comedian and writer who has won several awards for her work and is a familiar face on panel shows including Have I Got News for You and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

Chris Coleman - Former manager of the Wales international football team.

Rakie Ayola - An actor who has worked in film, television and theatre including Holby City, Silent Witness and Shetland.

And here are the mentors who have been on the road with them to help them develop their Welsh-speaking skills through offering their support - and setting a few challenges too.

Steve's mentor is the naturalist and Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams.

Joanna 's mentor is the well-known actor Mark Lewis Jones (Un Bore Mercher/Keeping Faith, The Crown, Gangs of London, Chernobyl).

James's mentor is rugby referee Nigel Owens.

Kiri's mentor is Wales's most famous drag queenMaggi Noggi.

Chris's mentor is the former Wales international footballer and presenter Owain Tudur Jones.

Rakie's mentor is the actor Eiry Thomas. (Un Bore Mercher/Keeping Faith, Stella, Enid a Lucy, The Accident)

Each of the celebrities has a different reason for learning Welsh:

Steve Backshall: 'Since I was knee-high, I've been smitten with Wales. It has wildness, it has history, it has wildlife, it has incredible coastlines. Wales has been such a huge part of my life but I don't speak a single word of the language and that's wrong. Now is my opportunity to set that straight.

Joanna Scanlon: 'I have been wanting to get back to learning Welsh for a long time and that's partly because I spend a lot of time in Wales. I really want to be able to converse in the language but I also want to be able to read the language. I have got more and more interested in Welsh culture and great cultural people and a lot of them write in Welsh. So I'd like to be able to read some of the language not just from now but all the way back through to the past.'

Kiri Pritchard McLean: 'I've been trying to learn Welsh on my own using apps over the last few years. Now that I'm back living in Wales in a predominantly Welsh-speaking area, I feel that it's important to my identity. I went on a Welsh course about 18 months ago and for the first time ever, I was managing to converse in Welsh. I felt so overwhelmed at being able to speak my language, I found it really emotional.'

James Hook: 'In the summer I retired from playing rugby so I've got a little bit more time on my hands. It's the perfect time for me to start learning the language.'

Chris Coleman: 'I feel like it's something I should have done a long time ago. It's always been there at the back of my mind that maybe one day I would learn and then this opportunity came about with Iaith ar Daith. I'm going to keep going until I can have a conversation in Welsh with another Welsh-speaking person.'

Rakie Ayola: 'Over the years, I've read poems and sung songs in Welsh but I learned them parrot fashion. I'm starting to forget what the words meant, my memory of them is fading and I don't like it. I'd like to renew and refresh my Welsh and learn some more - there's so much I don't know.'

On their journeys, the celebrities visit places which are of personal significance to them.

So Kiri and Maggi spent their time together travelling around Anglesey, where Kiri spent her childhood and where she now lives. Steve gets to know North Wales better because of his links with Bangor University and James Hook the Neath Port Talbot area where he was born and brought up.

There will be several challenges along the way too - how good is Steve Backshall at flower-arranging? Can Kiri get to grips with playing the drums? And how does Joanne get on with giving Shani the dog a bath in Carmarthen?

Iaith ar Daith begins on Sunday, 7 March at 8.00 on S4C with Steve and Iolo journey.

So come and join Steve, Joanna, James, Kiri, Chris, Rakie and their mentors - the laughter, the tears, the challenges as they begin on their unforgettable journey to learn Welsh.

Iaith ar Daith

Every Sunday night at 8.00, S4C

English Subtitles

Available on demand on S4C Clic s4c.cymru/clic, BBC iPlayer and other platforms

A Boom Cymru production for S4C

Boom Cymru has followed all the guidance, legislation and protocols that the Welsh Government has set to ensure that filming on Iaith ar Daith has been carried out in a safe way.