28 September 2023, Cardiff: BAFTA Cymru today announces legendary Welsh broadcaster Hywel Gwynfryn as the recipient of this year’s Outstanding Contribution Award. One of BAFTA Cymru’s highest honours, this year’s Award is presented to a Welsh individual who has made an outstanding contribution to broadcasting.
For over half a century, Hywel Gwynfryn has been a household name in Wales as one of the country’s most well-known figures in the world of television, radio, and entertainment. As an influential broadcaster, lyricist and writer, his legacy can be seen, heard, and felt across all aspects of Welsh popular culture.
He started working for the BBC in 1964 and in 1968 fronted the show Helo Sut Dach Chi?, the first dedicated Welsh language pop programme on the radio. With very little Welsh language pop music played on the radio at the time, this was a ground-breaking move which eventually saw Gwynfryn receiving and playing demo tapes from bands and artists across Wales. He also introduced a more ‘chit chat’ style to broadcasting, which was a world away from the more ‘formal’ Welsh used in broadcasting at the time and attracted a younger audience. In 1970 he presented on Bilidowcar, a children’s magazine TV show and Wales’s answer to Blue Peter.
Since its inception in 1977, Gwynfryn has also been one of BBC Radio Cymru’s most well-known and much-loved presenters, fronting its flagship morning programme Helo Bobol and presenting shows such as Hywel a Nia, along with reporting annually from The Eisteddfod. Alongside his radio career, Gwynfryn has also presented TV current affairs programmes such as Heddiw and Rhaglen Hywel Gwynfryn and in 1990 he presented Ar Dy Feic, a TV programme following the fortunes of Welsh families who had gone to live in other countries. Considered a cult classic, Gwynfryn also wrote the film ‘Y Dyn ‘Nath Ddwyn y ‘Dolig’ with Caryl Parry Jones for S4C in 1985, which is regularly repeated on the channel during the Christmas period.
Hywel Gwynfryn said: “For the last sixty years, I’ve been listening to people talking to me about everything under the sun, while I’ve sat and listened. I’ve travelled the world and I’ve been paid for having a wonderful time. Now I'm to be presented with a BAFTA. It doesn't get any better than that.”
Born in Llangefni, Anglesey and educated at Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni and The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, Gwynfryn who lives in Cardiff, has also written several biographies for famous Welsh personalities namely the renowned actress Siân Phillips (soon to be released this Christmas), the great Welsh comedy duo Ryan & Ronnie, the late Oscar winning actor Hugh Griffith, along with soprano Margaret Williams. A notable and well-respected lyricist, Gwynfryn also penned Anfonaf Angel - one of the most successful Welsh language songs ever written with the music composed by Robat Arwyn. During a celebration of his 80th birthday in 2022, S4C’s Noson Lawen dedicated an entire programme to Gwynfryn’s work – including songs he had written for film and stage over the decades performed by some of Wales’s most well-known artists.
Angharad Mair, Chair of BAFTA Cymru said: “I am overjoyed to hear that BAFTA Cymru is honouring Hywel Gwynfryn with this year’s Outstanding Contribution Award. No one has dedicated their lives more to Welsh language broadcasting than him. As an icon of Welsh language broadcasting, he has not only shaped what Radio Cymru has become today but has contributed to so many cultural aspects of our lives. If you speak Welsh, you will have come across his work somewhere along the way. We look forward to celebrating with Hywel at the Awards in October.”
Now in its 4th series, Hywel can be heard presenting Swyn y Sul on BBC Radio Cymru with Welsh Soprano Elin Manahan Thomas every Sunday.
Hywel Gwynfryn added: “The important thing is that at 81 years old I’m still active, still writing, broadcasting, and producing - and that is such a blessing. My career and this Award are not just the result of my work, but the work of all the producers, researchers, sound operators and entire crews that have supported and stayed with me over the years. My thanks to them and to BAFTA Cymru for this award is enormous. Diolch.”
The Outstanding Contribution Award will be presented to Hywel Gwynfryn at the BAFTA Cymru Awards on 15 October. The ceremony will take place at the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales) in Newport for the first time and will be available to watch live on BAFTA’s YouTube channel.
Notes to Editors
For all media enquiries regarding the BAFTA Cymru Awards 2023 please contact: Nia Medi (Medi Public Relations)
A selection of imagery is available via BAFTA’s Thirdlight website here
BAFTA – the British Academy of Film and Television Arts - is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For more, visit www.bafta.org. BAFTA is a registered charity (no. 216726).
In Wales, BAFTA’s charitable mission supports creative communities across the country by highlighting the breadth and success of the production industry, identifying and supporting the next generation of talent, and bringing the very best work in Welsh film, games and television to public attention globally. The highlight of BAFTA’s events calendar in Wales is the annual BAFTA Cymru Awards, an independent platform showcasing the work that truly reflects the best of the country across film and television, making a difference to those producing creative work as well as those watching it. Find out more at www.bafta.org/awards/cymru-awards.