Episode 3: Wales
Filmed on location in: UK and Ireland
From picturesque landscapes to cultural icons and from historical monuments to engineering greatness, Wales has forged a vibrant and unique identity within Britain. This is a land of myth and majesty, of legendary kings and warrior rebels.
From picturesque landscapes to cultural icons and from historical monuments to engineering greatness, Wales has forged a vibrant and unique identity within Britain. This is a land of myth and majesty, of legendary kings and warrior rebels. With more castles per square mile than anywhere else in the world, here lie the hills that put the Stone in Stonehenge and the secret hideaways where Led Zeppelin and Queen changed the history of rock. This is a country that bears the indelible marks of 2000 years of invasion, but that forged its own destiny from the great monuments of its industrial past. This show explores the incredible culture, architecture and engineering of a nation that never once lost its identity.
Descending over Snowdonia National Park, we discover one of Wales’s engineering marvels: the Snowdon Mountain Railway, a 4.7-mile train line running up to the summit of Britain’s second largest mountain, Mount Snowdon. Steam locomotives pull Victorian carriages all the way bringing over 130,000 passengers to the top each year. Wales is also home to the world’s highest aqueduct. Reaching a height of 126 feet, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct is a prime example of early 19th century engineering and still in operation today over 200 years since it was built. Dotted throughout the landscape we find many examples of the Welsh industrial past, from the coal collieries of the south to the slate quarries of the north and the steel city of Port Talbot. For generations coal, slate and steel were the prime sources of employment in Wales, with jobs being passed down from father to son.
Wales is also home to some of Britain’s best designed castles. In an attempt to bring the Welsh under English control, the medieval king Edward I constructed a ring of stone in north Wales, consisting of powerful strongholds like Harlech, Conwy and Caernarfon Castles. But today, culture has a much greater presence than war and Wales’s majestic countryside has attracted musicians from far and wide, including Led Zeppelin who recorded at Robert Plant’s cottage Bron-Yr-Aur. Rockfield Studios is another magnet for musicians. This is where some of the most iconic albums in music history have been recorded, by bands such as Coldplay, Queen, Oasis and Motorhead.
Wales itself has produced many artists, actors and creative icons, from music legends such as Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey to some of the world’s greatest actors such as Richard Burton, Catharine Zeta Jones and Anthony Hopkins, and the documentary reveals the extraordinary locations associated with these celebrities. Wales is also the birthplace of what is considered the greatest children’s author of all time, Roald Dahl. Dahl grew up in the Cardiff suburb of Llandaff, where he gained most of his inspiration to fuel his iconic novels.
Aerial Britain: Wales is a feast for the senses and a mine of fascinating tales and extraordinary characters. So come with us, soar high above fairy tale castles and over sparkling rivers, and meet a people defined by poetry, song and sport.