The fantastic BBC Wales production of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood is on BBC Four this weekend.
Although we in Wales were able to see it weeks ago, it’s the first first chance viewers from across the UK the first time it will have been broadcast to the wider UK and features huge Welsh stars in the cast – including a very sleepy and reflective Tom Jones.
Filmed across the globe from New York to Laugharne, Los Angeles to Cardiff, the “play for voices” extracts the best vocal acting from the likes of Charlotte Church, Sian Phillips and Matthew Rhys.
So what can viewers expect from the star-studded reworking of a classic?
Here’s 7 things to look out for:
1. Tom Jones can act
Yes! That’s right, the singer pours his smooth as silk voice into the role of Captain Cat, narrating confidently from a swanky apartment overlooking the River Thames.
Time for a career change Tom? You definitely turn in a performance and a half.
2. Hollywood top turns remember where they come from
Rhys Ifans, Michael Sheen, Matthew Rhys, Ioan Gruffudd and Andrew Howard all take part in the production.
We know they must have hectic schedules, what with Matthew killing it with the series The Americans on television and Michael signed up for a list of projects as long as his arm, but that didn’t stop them taking time out to honour their great fellow Welshman, Thomas.
3. Classical cameos are on song
Bryn Terfel, Katherine Jenkins, Sophie Evans and Charlotte Church swap the high notes for a classic piece of Welsh poetry (okay, we know it’s a play, but it’s like poetry to our ears!).
Church sneers as Mrs Ogmore Pritchard, Evans and Jenkins bring an air of glamour to the proceedings and Bryn sings in an armchair.
4. Who knew they were Welsh? We did
Familiar faces such as Tom Ellis (Gary in Miranda), John Rhys Davies (Sallah in Indiana Jones and Gimli in Lord of the Rings), and Karl Johnson (who plays the indecipherable dog-handling copper in Hot Fuzz) all wax lyrical about the Llareggub residents like they’d never crossed the River Severn in their lives.
4. DCI Mathias smiles. Serious!
Another BBC Wales export to BBC4 Four Hinterland hasn’t got lots of laughs. Looking back, we’re not sure DCI Mathias once raised the corners of his mouth for a smile,
But in Under Milk Wood, actor Richard Harrington shows he has a big beam of a smile that can light up a room.
He’s still jogging though. Slow down, man!
5. You saw them here first
A fresh crop of Welsh actors are given a tremendous showing.
Iwan Rheon, Kimberley Nixon, Alexandra Roach, Craig Roberts, Amiee-Ffion Edwards and many more are showcased in this production, and they are definitely talents to shout about.
6. Oldies and goodies say hi
Dramatic, involving, scorning and comforting, the faces we all know and love evoke memories and emotions they are so skilled in extracting from an audience.
Sian Phillips and Jonathan Pryce are Mr and Mrs Pugh, the former drawing from her steely repertoire with great effect.
Robert Pugh, John Rhys Davies, Steffan Rhodri, Sharon Morgan, Eva Myles and Di Botcher are as engrossing as ever.
More on Under Milk Wood and its stars below