Episodes

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The Winter Of Discontent2019012420190127 (RW)
20191024 (RW)
20191025 (RW)
20191027 (RW)
In a special programme to mark the 40th anniversary of The Winter of Discontent, Chris Stuart asks his guests to share their memories of this turbulent time in British political and economic history. Public sector pay strikes brought the UK to a standstill as tens of thousands of workers showed their anger at the government's attempt to impose a 5% pay ceiling.

Cardiff was among the cities hosting mass demonstrations as workers ranging from NHS staff to grave diggers went on strike in the biggest display of industrial action since the General Strike in 1926. As rubbish piled up in the streets, the opposition - led by Margaret Thatcher - attacked the Labour Government over its refusal to call a state of emergency. It was a dispute that would have a seismic affect, leading to the downfall of Callaghan and his government and consigning Labour to opposition for the next 19 years.

Joining Chris in studio to discuss the Winter of Discontent 40 years on are Lynn Abell, a former nurse and union rep; Dr Kim Howells, then working with the National Union of Mineworkers; former political editor and broadcaster Glyn Mathias and historian Professor Dai Smith.

Chris Stuart asks his guests to share their memories of The Winter of Discontent.

A look back in time with the voices of the people who can say "I was there".

Joining Chris in studio to discuss the Winter of Discontent 40 years on are Dr Kim Howells, then a National Union of Mineworkers official, former political editor and broadcaster Glyn Mathias and historian Professor Dai Smith. We also hear from people who were caught up in the industrial action 40 years ago.

A look back in time with the voices of the people who can say ""I was there"".

When Carrefour Came To Caerphilly2019062020190621 (RW)
20190623 (RW)
20191031 (RW)
20191101 (RW)
20191103 (RW)
Chris Stuart unites those who could say 'I Was There' at moments of Welsh social history. This episode recalls the arrival in 1972 of the UK's first hypermarket in Caerphilly - Carrefour - and how it changed the way we shop forever, heralding the movement of retail from the High Street to out-of-town developments.

Chris and his guests recall how the novelty of Wales' first hypermarket drew visitors from far and wide, captured headlines across Britain and used some left-field marketing tactics - including the placing of a giant mechanical gorilla in the car-park. Former goods manager Trevor Davies and till assistant Brenda Jarrett recall what it was like to work there while Ceri John Davies, who was a child in the 1970s, remembers the excitement of family outings to the store and the great distances customers would travel. Former BBC Wales reporter Jen Murray describes reporting on the giant gorilla for the UK news and posing Fay Wray-like on its hand - an image which ended up on the front page of The Times.

And Caerphilly councillor Lindsay Whittle - whose mother worked in the hypermarket's canteen - explores the impact on traders in the town and beyond and how the High Street was never the same again throughout Britain after Caerphilly Carrefour sparked a shopping revolution.

Chris Stuart reunites those who could say I Was There at moments of Welsh social history.

A look back in time with the voices of the people who can say "I was there".

Chris Stuart unites those who could say I Was There at moments of Welsh social history. This episode recalls the arrival in 1972 of the UK's first hypermarket in Caerphilly - Carrefour - and how it changed the way we shop forever, heralding the movement of retail from the High Street to out-of-town developments. Chris and his guests recall how the novelty of Wales' first hypermarket drew visitors from far and wide, captured headlines across Britain and used some left-field marketing tactics - including the placing of a giant mechanical gorilla in the car-park.

And Caerphilly councillor Lindsay Whittle - whose mother worked in the hypermarket's canteen - explores the impact on traders in the town and beyond and how the High Street was never the same again throughout Britain after Caerphilly Carrefour sparked a shopping revolution.

When Hollywood Came To Fishguard2019071120190712 (RW)
20190714 (RW)
20191114 (RW)
20191115 (RW)
20191117 (RW)
Chris Stuart reunites those who could say I Was There at a significant moment in Welsh social history. In this episode he travels to Fishguard to recall the time in 1971 when Richard Burton, Peter Toole and their production crew descended on the town to create the first ever filmed version of Dylan Thomas's play for voices Under Milk Wood.

In The Ship Inn – which proved a favourite watering hole for the Hollywood actors – he gathers Ruth Madoc, who was among the many Welsh actors in the cast, Hedydd Hughes who was a four-year-old extra in the film and Dylan Thomas expert Jeff Towns, who attended the premiere of Under Milk Wood and got to know its director Andrew Sinclair.

Chris also meets 96-year-old Jessie Williams who helped welcome the cast and would bring Peter O'Toole a coffee every morning as he sat on her doorstep. We hear how just about every Welsh actor of the time appeared in the film - including Ryan Davies, Victor Spinetti, Glynis Johns, Angharad Rees and Ray Smith and how Ruth Madoc shared her scenes with a young David Jason.

We also discover why Elizabeth Taylor wanted to be in Under Milk Wood and explore the camaraderie that developed between cast and crew and the people of Fishguard - the film featured locals from small children to pensioners, while their pets and farm animals were also given cameo roles.

Chris Stuart and guests recall Richard Burton filming Under Milk Wood in Fishguard.

A look back in time with the voices of the people who can say "I was there".

Chris Stuart reunites those who could say I Was There at a significant moment in Welsh social history. In this episode he travels to Fishguard to recall the time in 1971 when Richard Burton, Peter Toole and their production crew descended on the town to create the first ever filmed version of Dylan Thomas's play for voices Under Milk Wood.
In The Ship Inn – which proved a favourite watering hole for the Hollywood actors – he gathers Ruth Madoc, who was among the young Welsh talent in the cast, Hedydd Hughes who was a four-year-old extra in the film and Dylan Thomas Jeff Towns, who attended the premiere of Under Milk Wood and got to know its director Andrew Sinclair.
Chris also meets 96-year-old Jessie Reynolds who helped welcome the cast and would bring Peter O'Toole a coffee every morning as he sat on her doorstep.

Chris Stuart reunites those who could say I Was There at a moment in Welsh social history.

In The Ship Inn – which proved a favourite watering hole for the Hollywood actors – he gathers Ruth Madoc, who was among the many Welsh actors in the cast, Hedydd Hughes who was a four-year-old extra in the film and Dylan Thomas expert Jeff Towns, who attended the premiere of Under Milk Wood and got to know its director Andrew Sinclair.

Chris also meets 96-year-old Jessie Williams who helped welcome the cast and would bring Peter O'Toole a coffee every morning as he sat on her doorstep. We hear how just about every Welsh actor of the time appeared in the film - including Ryan Davies, Victor Spinetti, Glynis Johns, Angharad Rees and Ray Smith and how Ruth Madoc shared her scenes with a young David Jason.

We also discover why Elizabeth Taylor wanted to be in Under Milk Wood and explore the camaraderie that developed between cast and crew and the people of Fishguard - the film featured locals from small children to pensioners, while their pets and farm animals were also given cameo roles.

Chris Stuart and guests recall Richard Burton filming Under Milk Wood in Fishguard.

We also discover why Elizabeth Taylor wanted to be in Under Milk Wood and explore the camaraderie that developed between cast and crew and the people of Fishguard - the film featured locals from small children to pensioners, while their pets and farm animals were also given cameo roles.

When Radio Wales Began2018111320181118 (RW)
20181230 (RW)
In celebration of Radio Wales' 40th anniversary, Chris Stuart reunites some of the key figures from the station's earliest days to relive the story of how it began. Guests include veteran broadcaster Vincent Kane whose daily current affairs show Meet For Lunch show became essential listening and presenter Anita Morgan, the first voice to be heard on the newly launched station in 1978. Mid-morning presenter Dan Damon - who now works for BBC World Service - also adds his recollections.

As well as insights from those who were in front of the microphone we'll hear anecdotes from those who worked behind the scenes of Radio Wales 40 years ago - Kate Fenton and John Geraint, who were then young researcher/producers fresh from university.

And we'll hear how the early days of Radio Wales were marked by controversy and disquiet - some of it emanating from BBC Wales itself - as rival factions of journalists and those who championed a more populist approach argued over the direction the new station should take.

In celebration of Radio Wales' 40th anniversary Chris Stuart reunites its first presenters

A look back in time with the voices of the people who can say "I was there".

A look back in time with the voices of the people who can say ""I was there"".

In celebration of Radio Wales' 40th anniversary, Chris Stuart reunites some of the key figures from the station's earliest days to relive the story of how it began. Guests include veteran broadcaster Vincent Kane whose daily current affairs show Meet For Lunch show became essential listening and presenter Anita Morgan, the first voice to be heard on the newly launched station in 1978. As well as insights from those who were in front of the microphone we'll hear anecdotes from those who worked behind the scenes of Radio Wales 40 years ago.

When South Wales Got Its First Welsh Medium Secondary School2019062720190628 (RW)
20190630 (RW)
20191107 (RW)
20191108 (RW)
20191110 (RW)
Chris Stuart reunites those who could say I Was There at moments in Welsh social history. This episode looks back at the start of South Wales' first Welsh Medium Secondary School - Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen, which opened its doors for the first time in 1962. Reminiscing with those who were among its first intake of just 80 pupils, Chris explores how the school attracted youngsters from all over South Wales and was seen as a major milestone in the history of Welsh language education.

A look back in time with the voices of the people who can say "I was there".

Chris Stuart reunites those who could say I Was There at moments in Welsh social history. This episode looks back at the start of South Wales' first Welsh Medium Secondary School - Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen, which opened its doors for the first time in 1962. Reminiscing with those who were among its first intake of just 80 pupils, Chris explores how the school attracted youngsters from all over South Wales and was seen as a major milestone in the history of Welsh language education.

Chris Stuart reunites those who could say I Was There at moments in Welsh social history. This episode looks back at the start of South Wales' first Welsh Medium Secondary School - Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen, which opened its doors for the first time in 1962. Reminiscing with those who were among its first intake of just 80 pupils, Chris explores how the school attracted youngsters from all over South Wales and was seen as a major milestone in the history of Welsh language education. Former pupils Rhodri Davies, Colin Williams and Elinor Patchell share their memories while former teacher Gwen Aaron adds to the recollections.

Chris Stuart reunites those who could say I Was There at moments in Welsh social history. This episode looks back at the start of South Wales' first Welsh Medium Secondary School - Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen, which opened its doors for the first time in 1962. Reminiscing with those who were among its first intake of just 80 pupils, Chris explores how the school attracted youngsters from all over South Wales and was seen as a major milestone in the history of Welsh language education. Former pupils Rhodri Davies, Colin Williams and Elinor Patchell share their memories while former teacher Gwen Aaron adds to the recollections.

When The National Assembly For Wales Made Waves Across The World2019070420190705 (RW)
20190707 (RW)
Chris Stuart reunites those who could say 'I Was There' at a moment in Welsh history. This week the show recalls the day in 2003 when the Welsh Assembly become the first legislative body in the world to have equal numbers of men and women. To recall the impact achieving the 50:50 gender balance made Chris gathers together four women from across the political spectrum who were elected to the Assembly in that ground-breaking election - former AMs Jane Davidson (Labour), Lisa Francis (Conservative) and current AMs Elin Jones (Plaid Cymru) and Kirsty Williams (Liberal Democrat).

The women discuss the often controversial methods of positive action - "twinning" and "zipping" - that were taken by the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru respectively at the time to achieve a better gender balance and how the presence of equal numbers of women changed the tone of debate and the kind of issues and policies brought to the fore.

They reflect on the network of sisterly support that could transcend the political divide and reflect on whether things have got worse for females in Welsh politics more recently against a backdrop of toxic social media abuse and a more aggressive political climate.

Chris Stuart reunites those who could say I Was There at a moment in Welsh history.

A look back in time with the voices of the people who can say "I was there".

Chris Stuart reunites those who could say 'I Was There' at a moment in Welsh history. This week the show recalls the day in 2003 when the Welsh Assembly become the first legislative body in the world to have equal numbers of men and women. To recall the impact achieving the 50:50 gender balance made Chris gathers together four women from across the political spectrum who were elected to the Assembly in that ground-breaking election - former AMs Jane Davidson (Labour), Lisa Francis (Conservative) and current AMs Elin Jones (Plaid Cymru) and Kirsty Williams (Liberal Democrat).

Chris Stuart reunites those who could say I Was There at a moment in Welsh history.

When The Welsh Assembly Made Waves Across The World2019070420190705 (RW)
20190707 (RW)
Chris Stuart reunites those who could say 'I Was There' at a moment in Welsh history. This week the show recalls the day in 2003 when the Welsh Assembly become the first legislative body in the world to have equal numbers of men and women. To recall the impact achieving the 50:50 gender balance made Chris gathers together four women from across the political spectrum who were elected to the Assembly in that ground-breaking election - Jane Davidson, Lisa Francis, Elin Jones and Kirsty Williams.

Chris Stuart reunites those who could say I Was There at a moment in Welsh history.

A look back in time with the voices of the people who can say "I was there".

0301When Foot And Mouth Hit Wales2021022520210226 (RW)
20210228 (RW)
Mai Davies reunites those who could say I Was There at a flashpoint in Welsh history. This episode recalls the Foot and Mouth crisis of 2001 and its devastating impact on Welsh agriculture. Her three guests all experienced the crisis from different perspectives.

Anglesey farmer Gareth Wyn Jones remembers the huge psychological toll it took on his family as he and his heavily pregnant wife Rhian dealt with heartbreaking livestock losses across their 400 acres of farmland.

Former First Minister Carwyn Jones - then the 34-year-old newly appointed Agriculture Minister for Wales - recalls how it was a make or break period for him as a politician as the crisis, bigger than anyone expected, unfolded. And journalist and farmer Nia Thomas describes how she was plunged straight into the biggest story of her career after being made BBC Wales' first Rural Affairs Correspondent just a few weeks before the outbreak.

All three reflect on the emotional as well as the economic cost of Foot and Mouth to Wales as images of animal pyres and rivers running red with the blood of culled livestock were seared into their memories.

A look back in time with the voices of the people who can say "I was there".

A look back in time with the voices of the people who can say "I was there".

0302When Pope John Paul Ii Came To Wales2021030420210305 (RW)
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Mai Davies reunites those who could say I Was There at a moment in Welsh history. These week she asks her guests to recall the papal visit of John Paul II in 1982.

Huge crowds gathered in Cardiff on June 2nd, 1982 to see the pontiff become the first reigning Pope to visit Wales. Addressing 150,000 people at Pontcanna Fields, the Polish-born pontiff began the Mass in Welsh. The Pope's message: "Bendith Duw arnoch" - "the blessing of God be on you" - was received with rapturous applause.

Three people who were there on that historic day share their memories and reflections. Broadcaster and singer-songwriter Frank Hennessy recalls how he was asked to compose and perform an official song of welcome for the Pope.

"For me it was a great day," Frank remembers. "There was a lot of excitement running up, and relief that it went well. I can still remember every minute, every second of the day. I suppose it was the highlight of my career."

Retired teacher Carys Whelan recalls how she was asked to give a reading at the Papal Mass: "It gave me goose pimples, I couldn't believe they wanted me to do it," she says. "I lost so much sleep before the big day. I went to a boutique in Bridgend to get myself a good dress. It usually did wedding dresses. They were fascinated with me as I had to get a smart dress for the Pope! I did the Welsh reading - from the Second Epistle of Peter, about coming to the mountain of God. Another time I had to read it at mass a few years later and I couldn't read it. I was overcome with emotion. It all came flooding back to me."

And Canon Mike Evans - then a young Deacon - remembers how he served on the altar that day right next to the Pontiff: "I was there at the Pope's side the whole way through. I have really happy memories of the day – the youth mass at Ninian Park was incredible."

A look back in time with the voices of the people who can say "I was there".

0303When Welsh Women Marched To Greenham Common2021031120210312 (RW)
20210314 (RW)
Mai Davies reunites those who could say I Was There at a moment in Welsh history. This programme relives the 10-day peace march from Wales that sparked a campaign that captured the global spotlight and lasted almost two decades.

On 27th August 1981, 36 women, four men and several children set off from Cardiff to walk 120 miles to Greenham Common. The march was organised by Women for Life on Earth – a Welsh women's peace movement created in response to the growing threat of the nuclear arms race. They walked to the Berkshire airbase to protest against America's plans to store cruise missiles on British soil. And to demand a televised debate on nuclear weapons.

It was only ever meant to be a march. But when their journey failed to make the impact they had hoped for, the women set up camp at the airbase. Days of protest stretched into weeks, months and years as the Greenham Common Peace Camp became the world's most famous anti-nuclear campaign.

Joining Mai to relive those remarkable events are Ann Pettitt – then a young mother – who founded the Women for Life on Earth movement and organised the march from which the Greenham Common Peace Camp evolved; former MEP Jill Evans and CND Cymru chair Jill Evans who galvanised support in her native Rhondda for the march and became a regular protestor at Greenham and Cardiff councillor Sue Lent who made a spur of the moment decision to join the march - with her one-year-old son - just for the first day as far as Newport. She turned up in flip flops and ended up making the entire 120-mile journey with baby Chris in tow. She too became a committed Greenham campaigner.

Forty years on the women share their evocative recollections of the world-famous peace campaign that was rooted in Wales.

A look back in time with the voices of the people who can say "I was there".

0304When S4c Began2021031820210319 (RW)Mai Davies reunites those who could say I Was There at a moment in Welsh history - in this case the night S4C began.

When the Welsh language channel went on air on 1st November 1982 it marked the beginning of an exciting new chapter in Welsh broadcasting history. But it was also the culmination of an intensive campaign that had become literally a matter of life and death.

The fight for a Welsh language channel began in the 1970s as part of the bigger battle to keep the language alive. Both the Conservatives and Labour parties promised a Welsh language fourth channel if they won the 1979 General Election.

But shortly after the Tories came to power, the new Home Secretary Willie Whitelaw decided against a Welsh language fourth channel. This sparked a campaign of civil disobedience which included refusals to pay the television license and sit-ins at BBC and HTV studios.

But the most dramatic act of protest came from former Plaid Cymru president and the party's first MP Gwynfor Evans. In 1980 he threatened to go on hunger strike if Margaret Thatcher's government did not fulfil its commitment to provide a Welsh language TV service.

Before Gwynfor Evans could begin his hunger strike, the Government performed a U-turn and agreed to honour its promise. Two years later the channel was on air.

Joining Mai to relive the launch night are Sian Thomas and Rowena Griffin who were the 21-year-old new faces of the channel - joining elder statesman Robin Jones on screen as continuity presenters. And behind the scenes was an equally youthful Richard Williams who had got the job of Presentation Controller just two weeks before S4C went on air.

Sian, Rowena and Richard share their memories of that exciting and historic first night - and the pride they took in being part of a channel that had been the focus of such a passionate campaign to preserve the Welsh language for future generations.

Mai Davies reunites those who could say I Was There at a moment in Welsh history.

A look back in time with the voices of the people who can say "I was there".