Keeping Faith‘s beautiful Wales filming locations are a key part of what has made so many viewers fall in love with the BBC drama.
“People have joked that the Welsh tourist board should be paying us money!” series director and producer Pip Broughton says.
Wales’s rural tourism industry (and its yellow raincoat manufacturers) can almost certainly look forward to a boom in business as the BBC Wales missing person thriller finally airs on BBC1 after becoming a word-of-mouth sensation on iPlayer earlier this year.
The drama was filmed in Wales, mainly around Laugharne – a town on the south coast which lies on the estuary of the River Tâf and was once home to the poet Dylan Thomas.
From the very beginning, director Broughton and screenwriter Matthew Hall knew exactly where the story had to be set. The location, as Broughton tells RadioTimes.com, is “very, very beautiful, and lyrical, but a place where dark things lurk.”
The estuary at Laugharne was one key location, as well as the nearby castle, the high street, and the beach.
“So often, when you get a drama, you think, ‘Ooh I’ll go recce-ing and find out where to set it,” explains Broughton. “It’s an add-on, whereas that [location] is central to our intention right from our start.”
The production team also went further afield. The court scenes were filmed at the Guildhall in the market town of Carmarthen, and at the Guildhall in Swansea.
A station in Pontardawe was used as the police station, while Barry Yacht Club and Porthkerry Caravan park were also used as filming locations, according to WalesOnline.
Why is the Welsh landscape crucial to Keeping Faith?
“It’s interesting, because I was very very clear that that was where it had to be set,” Broughton says. “I’ve filmed there before, and that estuary – what I love about it is that there is a sense of ebb and flow, and the light changes. When you live there you are part of that ongoing change, and how the light and the colour changes.
“And when you live in an environment like that, unlike say London, it becomes an emotional extension of you as a character.”
That’s important, because in the series Faith and her husband and business partner Evan (Bradley Freegard) have opted to move out of London to bring up their three children in this rural idyll. When Evan goes missing on his way to work, that idyll collapses as the tight-knit local community becomes increasingly claustrophobic.
“The idyll turns into a prison,” says Broughton. “But what’s wonderful is that you always have that beautiful background as the place where the bad stuff starts to kick in.”
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