The S4C Explosion

Wil Cwac Cwac

S4C, the Welsh Fourth Channel, began broadcasting in 1982 and its very first programme was SuperTed made by Siriol Animation.

Suddenly, home-grown cartoon characters spoke with a Welsh voice.

Other independent animation companies such as Hanner Dwsin and Bumper Films sprang up to service the new channel.

Some of the most recognisable Welsh cartoon characters; Wil Cwac Cwac, Hanner Dwsin and Fireman Sam were made at this time.

First appearing in 1987, Fireman Sam is now celebrating his 25th anniversary.

S4C quickly won an international reputation for award-winning animation under the stewardship of Chris Grace. His vision encompassed commercial, cultural and a diverse slate of short, personal films made by individual animators.

A Special Bear

SuperTed was created by Mike Young for his four year old step-son Richard who was scared of the dark, just like SuperTed. Directed by Dave Edwards, the series was sold to over 60 countries and the video rights were bought by the Walt Disney Company.

Fireman Sam

© 2012 Prism Art & Design Ltd.
© Hit Entertainment Limited

Commercial Animation

As S4C expanded, many popular cartoon characters followed in SuperTed 's footsteps: Wil Cwac Cwac, Toucan Tecs and Funnybones.

As the studios grew in confidence they made longer cartoons, half hour specials and eventually feature films.

The feature films were often co-productions made both here and in Eastern Europe and Russia.

Independent Animation

Over the years, the sort of animation commissioned by S4C has changed.

Films made for the channel by independent animators such as Joanna Quinn, Gerald Conn, Candy Guard, Clive Walley and Jane Hubbard won awards and became a regular feature in film festivals around the world.

These films were incredibly diverse. Some film-makers, such as Clive Walley, were essentially fine artists who made paintings that moved.