Sometimes a potentially niche TV show becomes an unexpected sensation that makes people sit up and take notice. That’s exactly what has happened to BBC Wales drama Keeping Faith, which will now be shown across the UK on BBC1 after smashing multiple records.
The eight-part series stars Eve Myles, best known for her roles in Broadchurch, Victoria, Torchwood and A Very English Scandal, and tells the story of a lawyer, wife and mother called Faith who must fight to find the truth behind the sudden disappearance of her husband.
Almost 300,000 viewers watched each of the weekly episodes as they aired on BBC1 Wales, the highest audience for a non-network drama shown in the country for over two decades.
But Keeping Faith has proved to be a record-breaker on BBC iPlayer as well, with over 9.5 million requests to view the series so far – the largest ever for any non-network show on the BBC.
In the face of such popular demand, the broadcaster has decided to air the whole series across the UK on BBC1 this summer.
A joint commission between S4C and BBC Wales, Keeping Faith was shot concurrently in both English and Welsh – so there are actually two separately filmed versions of the drama, made by production company Vox Pictures.
The series was originally broadcast in Welsh on S4C, with the title Un Bore Mercher, before going out on BBC Wales in English.
“This series has been a real gem from start to finish,” said BBC Wales head of commissioning Nick, “and it’s testament to the strength of drama coming out of Wales right now.
“I’m so proud that audiences across the UK will now get to enjoy everything Keeping Faith has to offer. Eve Myles has been utterly brilliant and I know she’d be the first to say she was supported by a remarkable cast and the terrific production team at Vox.
“The increased investment in English-language programming at BBC Wales has been a total game-changer for us and Keeping Faith is one of a series of hits which can be directly linked to the new funding.”
S4C’s director of content Amanda Rees added: “This is a huge moment for S4C – the first time an original S4C/BBC Wales drama will be shown on BBC1 network and it is testament to what is possible when two, national broadcasters come together and make great things happen. That Eve Myles learnt Welsh for the part provides an inspiration for Welsh learners everywhere.”