The Village meets some of the men and women who help to run what is one of Wales’ premier visitor attractions.
From the chef and the gardener to the painter and decorator each of them tells what it takes to keep such a landmark destination in tiptop condition.
Cameras have been given unique access to show a year in the life of the iconic community near Porthmadog in Gwynedd.
They capture the beauty of four glorious seasons and the life cycle of the men and women who are the guardians of the village that has been called ‘an illusion; a playful contradiction’.
Portmeirion looks like an ancient Italian village. But it was created between 1925 and 1973 by the visionary architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis.
Now his grandson, Robin Llywelyn leads the team which runs the village.
Robin, the Managing Director of Portmeirion Ltd tells the programme: “Portmeirion really is the embodiment of Clough’s vision of the harmony between the manmade and the natural.”
“What Clough abhorred over anything was that the place should become some sort of a museum.
“He wanted the place to live and breath and be somewhere that inspired and allowed events to take place and things to happen.”
Portmeirion was the backdrop for the pioneering Sixties TV show The Prisoner. Now it attracts some 200,000 visitors a year.
The new series features a wide range of characters - some of whom have worked at Portmeirion for decades.
Martin Couture has been there for 42 years - starting when he was just 16 years old.
Now the Head Painter and Decorator, he tells the programme how he maintains the colours and style laid down by Sir Clough as the village was built.
“We have got about 80 different colours and we have got to keep a record of every colour we use.
“We write everything down in case the building needs re-rendering. We know then that we have got the correct colour to put them back again as Sir Clough originally put them.”
Head Housekeeper Rhian Roberts also features in the series. She helps look after the two four star hotels and range of holiday cottages on the site.
“Our job is to keep the people who come here as happy as possible and that’s our aim really, isn’t it?”
“I have been here 22 years. Why have I stayed so long? Well, I’m very fond of the place. I enjoy my work.”
Another star of the show is Location Manager Meurig Jones who looks after many of the film crews who visit Portmeirion from around the world.
He also tells visitors about famous VIPs who have stayed in the village, from Beatles manager Brian Epstein who had a cottage at Portmeirion for several years in the early 1960s to Jerry Lee Lewis and George Harrison who had his 50th birthday party there.
“Clough always wanted Portmeirion to appeal to creative people and of course it’s a wonderful venue for a whole range of different things.
“It’s a place you do get very attached to. I can’t imagine going anywhere else, to be honest.”
The ITV series is the latest to celebrate the diverse communities of Wales. It follows The Mountain , looking at people living and working around Snowdon in 2015, The Harbour, featuring Tenby in 2017 and The Strait - highlighting communities around the Menai Strait in 2018.
Both The Harbour and The Strait were broadcast across the ITV network. The Village will also be broadcast on the ITV network on a future date.
Each of the hugely successful series were created by Aled Llŷr from boutique independent production media Slam Media in partnership with Anglesey-based brand design and media company Cread Cyf and its managing director Stephen Edwards.
Said Aled: This series is a tribute to a remarkable place and special people who bring it alive. It’s been a joy to capture their passion and love for this unique Village.
Added Stephen: “It’s been a magical year of filming. We can’t wait for people to see the series.”
Jonathan Hill, ITV Cymru Wales Executive Producer on the series called it “a remarkable insight into the running of one of Wales’ most famous and iconic locations”.
Added Robin Llywelyn: “ It was a pleasure having the film crew with us over the course of the past year and we are very much looking forward to the series.
“We hope that everyone enjoys watching!”
The series airs on ITV Cymru Wales at 8pm on Monday 15th April and will then be available online on itv.com/walesprogrammes
Meurig (Location Manager - 14 Years at Portmeirion)
An integral part of the team, Portmeirion superfan Meurig is a walking encyclopedia and his tours of the village have become legendary. The village is a place that Meurig (by his own admission) has become very attached to, and during his time at Portmeirion he has met many a musical superstar!
Martin (Painter & Decorator - 42 Years at Portmeirion)
According to Nigel, Martin is Portmeirion’s Mascot having been at the village longer than anyone! He has maintained and painted the buildings at Portmeirion for so long, he is as much a part of the village as any edifice.
Nigel (Resident Artist - 34 Years at Portmeirion)
Nicknamed The Welsh Gaudi , Nigel has become infamous for pushing on his deadlines, but there’s no doubting the outstanding quality of his work and you can’t rush perfection. During the series, his projects range from restoring a pair of gold-leaf Taiwanese statues to creating an exact replica of Saint Peter!
Rhian (Head Housekeeper - 22 Years at Portmeirion)
Head housekeeper Rhian is a critical cog in the Portmeirion machine, who works untiringly behind the scenes to ensure things continue to run like clockwork. An embodiment of the diligent work ethic of staff at Portmeirion, Rhian gives us an insight to the work that is required to maintain the high standard expected by residents of the hotel and cottages of Portmeirion.
Delyth (Wedding Planner - 20 Years at Portmeirion)
In the first episode, Delyth can be seen jumping into the back of a van to hold a wedding cake, but going the extra mile is all in a day’s work for this wedding planner! Every wedding is as important as the last and it’s difficult to imagine a more beautiful place to tie the knot.
Gwynedd (Maintenance Manager - 5 Years at Portmeirion)
Maintenance Manager Gwynedd is a big man for a big job! His role extends to the maintenance of the entire village but his main passion is the gardens of Portmeirion. Gwynedd takes pride in remaining true to Sir Clough Williams-Ellis’ ethos that the plants should complement the architecture, and given that Portmeirion has its own micro-climate, the botanical possibilities are endless.
Rachel (Curator & Collections Manager - 1 Year at Portmeirion)
Rachel is the Curator & Collections Manager at Portmeirion, and although a new addition to the team, she’s as passionate about Portmeirion as the old guard and is a devoted fan of Susan Williams Ellis’ work.
Robin (Managing Director - 40 Years at Portmeirion)
As Sir Clough Williams-Ellis’ grandson and Susan Williams-Ellis’ son, Robin has assumed the role of Managing Director and continues to build on the family heritage at Portmeirion. Throughout his tenure, Robin has been an untiring advocate of local talent, produce and of the Welsh language.
Mark (Head Chef - 18 Years at Portmeirion)
Mark epitomises the ethos promoted by Robin of supporting local talent. Having originally learnt his trade at Portmeirion, Mark moved abroad to further his education and has now returned to assume the role of head chef in the hotel.
Lisa (Portmeirion Shops, Online & Social Media - 3 Years at Portmeirion)
As head of online retail and social media for Portmeirion Shops, Lisa knows better than anyone the importance of Portmeirion’s online presence as we move deeper into the digital age. By far the fittest member of the Portmeirion team, Lisa is also an avid runner partaking in the annual 6th Trail race through Portmeirion and the surrounding woodland.
Rob Piercy (Artist - 23 Years at Portmeirion)
Award-winning artist Rob Piercy has spent a quarter of a century capturing the beauty of this unique village on canvas. We follow him as he contemplates Sir Clough’s artistic intentions and searches for a new angle on this surreal village.
Slam Media Ltd is a boutique independent media production company with a reputation for excellence in delivering:
· Complex and ambitious Sports, Events & Reality programming. · State of the art insightful Documentaries. · Bespoke Corporate commissioned projects.
Created by award winning producers Geraint Lewis & Aled Llyr, Slam is a fully fledged, technically equipped independent production company whose output can be seen on ITV Network & ITV Wales, BBC Network, BBC Wales, S4C, SKY, ESPN & Channel 4.
Cread Cyf. is an independent brand / design / media company based in North Wales with an excellent reputation of producing and directing great projects and programmes for clients across Wales and UK.
We’ve worked on several projects with Slam Media for TV, Radio and corporate projects; a great partnership covering the whole of Wales and beyond!
Contact Series Producer / Director:
Aled Llyr, Cyfarwyddwr/Director, Slam Media Ltd