TV DRAMA FILMS STORY OF ABERFAN

Cynon Valley - - FRONT PAGE - KATHRYN WILLIAMS kathryn.williams@waleson­line.co.uk

AWARD-WIN­NING se­ries The Crown has turned a South Wales Val­leys vil­lage into a scene from the 1960s as it cov­ers the events of the Aberfan dis­as­ter.

The show’s film crew has taken over an en­tire street in the Cynon Val­ley and is shoot­ing episodes that will cover the dev­as­tat­ing events of 1966.

Pic­tures show the dis­used Glyn­hafod Ju­nior School in Cw­ma­man dou­bling for Pant­glas Ju­nior School which was de­stroyed dur­ing the dis­as­ter.

The school is to be used to film scenes be­fore the colliery spoil tip col­lapsed and en­gulfed the site which left 116 chil­dren and 28 adults dead.

The se­ries will then cover the pe­riod up un­til Queen El­iz­a­beth II vis­ited the vil­lage days later.

Pro­duc­ers of the Net­flix se­ries say they have met with mem­bers of the com­mu­nity on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions be­fore film­ing takes place.

They say their aim is to “tell this story truth­fully and re­spon­si­bly so that the tragic events of 1966 are never for­got­ten”.

The Queen, who in the forth­com­ing third se­ries of the drama will be played by Olivia Col­man, vis­ited Aberfan nine days af­ter the dis­as­ter and three fur­ther times – most re­cently in 2012.

The Cw­ma­man street was closed off yes­ter­day and was lined with cars such as a Ford Anglia, with ex­tras dressed in 1960s fash­ions.

The scenes also saw a huge crane be­ing rigged with a rain ma­chine to recre­ate the tor­ren­tial rain ex­pe­ri­enced dur­ing the days be­fore the Aberfan dis­as­ter.

The pro­duc­tion team is also due to film at Big Pit in Blae­navon, Fern­dale in the Rhondda and at lo­ca­tions in Caer­philly county.

A spokesper­son for Left Bank Pic­tures, which is mak­ing the se­ries, said: “The third sea­son of the Net­flix se­ries The Crown will cover the ma­jor his­tor­i­cal events of El­iz­a­beth II’s reign from 1963-1977 and we all strongly felt that the Aberfan dis­as­ter and the after­math must be in­cluded, es­pe­cially as it con­tin­ues to hold a deep res­o­nance for the na­tion and the Queen her­self.

“As pro­duc­ers, we feel a re­spon­si­bil­ity to re­main true to the me­mory and the ex­pe­ri­ence of the sur­vivors so have met with com­mu­nity lead­ers, as well as the peo­ple of Aberfan on a num­ber of oc­ca­sions as part of our re­search and to dis­cuss our ap­proach.

“We have been made to feel wel­come by the res­i­dents who have been very help­ful in pro­vid­ing in­sight into one of the most tragic events of the 20th cen­tury.

“Our aim is to tell this story truth­fully and re­spon­si­bly so that the tragic events of 1966 are never for­got­ten.”

The episode is due to air late next year.

The Crown is one of the big­gest and most ac­claimed shows in re­cent TV his­tory, hav­ing scooped awards around the world. It was first re­leased in Novem­ber 2016.

Se­ries one and two covered the early years of Queen El­iz­a­beth II’s reign, from 1947-63. The lead roles of The Queen and Prince Philip were orig­i­nally played by Claire Foy and Matt Smith.

Now Broad­church ac­tress Col­man takes on the role of the Queen and To­bias Men­zies plays the Duke of Ed­in­burgh.

The next phase of the show cov­ers the ma­jor his­tor­i­cal events of the Queen’s reign from 1963 to 1977.

PIC­TURES: MARK LEWIS

Peo­ple in pe­riod dress and props in Cw­ma­man for the film­ing of The Crown

The crew at Glyn­hafod Ju­nior School

Props for the film­ing

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