Friday, 29 June 2018

Great book jacket disasters -- another for the list



Over many years of publishing, I have had my fair share of great book jacket disasters.  Not mentioning any titles here in public, however......

Anyway, it's good to know that I am not alone.  That august publishing house called University of Wales Press has just issued a classic, with what appears to be a baggy pair of Y-fronts shown in all its glory.  Oh dear......

Thursday, 28 June 2018

TV and the portrayal of Wales



Ffilm Cymru is, as far as I can see, the only part of the film and TV industry in Wales which actively encourages those who seek grant aid or other forms of funding to portray or represent WALES. It emphasises the need for more films telling the story of Wales, with the following words: "Ffilm Cymru Wales aims to identify and nurture Welsh filmmakers – particularly producers, writers and directors - by supporting and encouraging the development of their work and ambitions. We are also keen to encourage films with Welsh cultural content, reflecting Wales and Welsh life, as part of our portfolio." 

But within the past five years there has been a chorus of voices demanding more Welsh content in film and TV.

Professor Steve Blandford, in evidence to the Culture Committee, 2018:  “ I am among those who think that the establishment of a major TV production centre at Roath Lock has been a major boost not only for the Welsh television industry but for Welsh life. It creates the kind of confidence that has an impact well beyond the creative industries. However, it is undeniable that it has not, as yet, managed to also offer the space for the creation of Welsh-originated stories that explore life in contemporary Wales.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said in 2015 that BBC Wales should be given an extra £30m to make TV programmes that properly reflect the people of Wales.




BBC Wales Director Rhodri Talfan Davies said in evidence to the Welsh Affairs Committee in Westminster in February 2016: “In a sense what’s happened over the last seven or eight years spectacularly in Wales is production has been decentralised and we’ve built a real centre of excellence, particularly in drama and factual. I think the challenge in this charter is to make sure that economic and creative story also delivers a cultural dividend and that we see Welsh stories, our stories, reflected on screen not just in Wales but right across the UK.

Christine Chapman AM, then the Chair of the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee , said: “The significant decline in the BBC’s investment in English-language programming over the last ten years has resulted in fewer hours of Wales-specific programming and a schedule that has failed to capture and explore adequately the lives and experiences of Welsh communities, as well as the changing political landscape post-devolution........ It is about a greater diversity of programmes. We feel at the moment it could be rather narrow."



Angela Graham, chair of the IWA Media Policy Group, in the context of a submission on the future of the BBC in general and in Wales in particular, has also commented on the extent of London-based control and the problems faced by BBC Wales in delivering programming appropriate to the cultural needs and aspirations of Wales.

Some other quotes: “We will need to think hard about how we can strengthen our support for national and regional self-expression.” Rhodri Talfan Davies, Director, BBC Wales

A national broadcaster should have something to say, not just something to make. And if that nation is bilingual, then the stories it tells must be too. " Ruth McElroy

“Creative Industries is one of our fastest-growing priority sectors. We want to establish Wales as an international centre of excellence for high-end TV drama production worldwide and this investment is part of our plan to create a long-term, sustainable TV industry in Wales." Edwina Hart, then Minister for Economy. (This was a strictly economic vision — nothing in there about culture or national identity......)



Written evidence submitted by the Institute of Welsh Affairs (BIW 17). Quote:
Portrayal. Point 6.5. "The decentralisation of production has, however, created disappointment in one important regard. Even the BBC would have to admit that it has not led, as hoped, to a step change in the visibility of Wales on network television, particularly not in the field of drama. Series such as Dr Who and Sherlock have been great international successes, and have brought economic benefit to Wales, but they have not contributed to ‘representing Wales to the rest of the UK’. Their success has also obscured the decline in domestic provision specifically for the audience in Wales."

In the summer of 2014 Ruth McElroy of the University of Glamorgan re-ignited the debate about the manner in which the national identity of Wales is projected through the media -- and in particular through television programming. While acknowledging the great success of BBC Wales dramas like Dr Who, Torchwood, Sherlock, Merlin and Casualty (and recently Hinterland) she said: ".........the challenge now is to transform this network success into making a new BBC Wales that has something imaginative and entertaining to say to and about Wales and not just from Wales. Because whilst network successes like Doctor Who and Casualty can provide jobs in Wales (for my students included) what they have not really done is tell us very much about ourselves.




In December 2016 Ken Skates, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, produced ‘A Vision for Culture in Wales’. On television, the document said: “Looking ahead, we should press for more and better content and programming made for Wales, in Wales and about all aspects of Welsh life, including our culture and heritage.”

Film maker David Ball, in 2018 evidence to the Assembly's Culture Committee: "Wales will not nurture a domestic  (film and TV) industry and will not have the opportunity to inform the world of its history until the culture of money making is succeeded by the need to maintain its cultural identity."



In spite of all these fine words, my attempts to get a solid commitment to “telling the Welsh story for Wales and the world” into the guidance notes for TV support mechanisms has been resisted. I have written to the Culture Minister several times about this, and the issue has been sidestepped each time. So what did Ken Skates actually mean when he made the statement in the paragraph above? How exactly does he intend to “press” the programme makers and the producers of TV? Through quiet words over a cup of tea, listened to but then completely ignored?



Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Percentages more important than sales?



http://www.literaturewales.org/lw-news/winning-wales-book-year-gives-writers-book-sales-figures-substantial-boost/

This is a weird article from Literature Wales, flagging up the wonderful impact of the “Book of the Year” award on book sales. It’s in response to a critical article on the BBC Wales web site.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-44615365

In the BBC feature, mention is made of the fact that one of the shortlisted books (“Bad Ideas -Chemicals”) had sales listed by Nielsen of only 20 copies, while others had recorded sales of less than 100 copies. “Light switches are my kryptonite” by Crystal Jeans sold 49 copies; “All that is Wales” sold 34 copies; and a Welsh-languages title by Hefin Wyn sold 43 copies. On the other hand the best-selling book on the shortlist — a biography of David Jones — sold around 4000 copies, which is a respectable figure by any measure.

Y Lolfa put out a statement to the effect that all of its titles on the shortlist had actually sold more than 600 copies, declaring itself well pleased with these figures. This confirms in my mind the weird assumption that anything that sells 700 copies is considered a best-seller. (Speaking for myself, if any of my books was to sell less than 1000 copies I would consider it a miserable failure, and would
certainly not want to let the world know about it......)

I fully agree with Literature Wales and other commentators that the EPOS sales figures released by Nielsen only tell part of the story, since many small bookselling outlets in Wales do not belong to the
EPOS system. Nonetheless, BBC Wales has done a valuable service in bringing these figures to public attention, and we should all be appalled. Books that’s have EPOS sales figures as low as these should probably never have been published — and would certainly NOT have been published were it
not for the extraordinary subsidy system which keeps Welsh publishers and writers afloat, and protects them all from commercial reality.

The Literature Wales defence of the shortlist and of the value of the competition makes matters worse by flagging up the percentage increases in sales that have occurred as a result of the publicity associated with the competition. A 400% increase in the sales of a book that had previously sold only 20 copies still looks pretty miserable to me! And this has to be the most wonderful mathematical calculation of the year: “Pigeon went from selling three copies before the announcement in November to 46, representing a 1,433% boost week on week.” Ah, the enmdless beauty of statistics..........

Thus far I have been a lone voice — on this blog — in raising the issues of heavy subsidies and pathetically low sales figures in Wales. Now that the BBC has homed in on it, let’s hope that somebody pays attention and accepts that the myth of a vibrant Welsh publishing industry is not worth the paper it is written on. And while we are about it, might we suggest that the worth of a book is not measured by the prizes it wins, or the promotional activity of Literature Wales or Welsh Books Council, but by its sales figures?

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Top Welsh TV shows



This is interesting:  a list of the 50 top Welsh TV shows, assembled by the Western Mail newspaper.  Not everybody will agree with the content of the list, or with the order in which the shows are placed.  But it is a timely reminder that a lot of good and popular programmes have come out of Wales — even if many of the shows say nothing about our country other than that there are good studios and film-makers based here....

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/lifestyle/tv/50-greatest-tv-shows-ever-14444137

Welsh Govt evidence on support for film and TV drama

This is a long and important document, demonstrating plenty of activity across the board and very high expenditure.  Naturally enough, the emphasis is on the wisdom of all the decisions made and the good sense of all of the support mechanisms put in place.  Governments always have to demonstrate “value for money” when they are scrutinised.......

But it’s interesting, if you read the document, that the emphasis is on developing Wales as a great productive hub and on the strategies put in place in order to achieve this.  There is virtually nothing on the need to “tell the Welsh story” and to sell Wales to the world through film and TV.  Some of the respondents to the consultation exercise have raised this, but I’m not sure that the Assembly’s culture committee has been taking it very seriously either.

http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/documents/s76445/Paper%201%20-%20Evidence%20from%20the%20Cabinet%20Secretary.pdf

Here is a comment from TAC (the association of independent producers in Wales):

April 2018

From TAC evidence to the Culture Committee:

20. In December 2016 the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure produced ‘A Vision for Culture in Wales’. On television, the document said: “Looking ahead, we should press for more and better content and programming made for Wales, in Wales and about all aspects of Welsh life, including our culture and heritage.”[11]

21. TAC has been working hard to achieve this aim, by encouraging UK television broadcasting networks to spend more time in Wales, getting to know the production sector, and specifically the unique stories, ideas, talent, locations and perspectives it has to offer. In this, we have received some support from the UK Wales Office. TAC is also discussing with the UK Wales Office and UK Department for International Trade how they can further support the sector in Wales.

The Pinewood deal: money down the drain?




There has been more (rather bad) press coverage of the dealings between the Welsh Government and Pinewood Studios, following a Wales Audit Office probe and some other probing from the Assembly’s Culture Committee.  Minister Ken Skates gave evidence to the committee on 20th June, and grumbled at the negativity of the press coverage — but I sympathise with the press, since it’s one of their functions to scrutinize, and to hold government to account when there is evidence of foolish or misplaced expenditures of public funds.  I listened to some of the committee deliberations, and I could not see any great benefits flowing from the Pinewood deal apart from the association of the Welsh creative industries with a “strong global brand.”  Some of the Welsh Government’s own advisors — including Ron Jones of Tinopolis — seem to have advised against the deal, and there have been endless complaints from the Welsh production companies about the slow release of funds through Pinewood, and the conditions imposed by the company for diverting post-production work from other small indigenous companies within Wales into its own studios.

One might be forgiven for thinking that Pinewood got a rather smart deal and did very well out of it (and still does), whereas the benefits to Wales were marginal at best.........  And money still pours down the drain......

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/huge-costs-bringing-film-studios-14772183

https://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2018/06/welsh-government-admits-pinewood-studios-deal-not-good-value

Welsh Government admits Pinewood studios deal ‘not good value’

By:  Vivienne Russell, 14 Jun 2018

The Welsh Government has admitted that a relationship it entered into with Pinewood film studios did not provide value for money, according to a Wales Audit Office probe.

Cardiff struck a collaboration agreement with Pinewood in 2014 in order to promote TV and film production in Wales.

The government purchased a site at Wentloog in Newport for £6.3m, which it then spent £3.1m transforming into a film and TV studio. This was rebranded as Pinewood Studio Wales.

The facility was then leased to Pinewood for a 15-year term, with the first two years offered rent free. Pinewood was also funded to promote the studio and charged with developing proposals for a share of a £30m media investment budget set up by the Welsh Government to support TV and film production.

However, by 2016, the panel established to scrutinise Pinewood’s investment proposals raised concerns about the fund’s performance.

The WAO found almost half (£13.8m) of the £30m fund had been spent on 14 film and TV projects in Wales, yet these had only recouped £4.3m of the Welsh Government’s investment.

According to Pinewood, demand for the Wentloog studio was undermined by the opening of a rival production facility in Cardiff called Bad Wolf Studios, which had also received government funding. However, Bad Wolf’s owners and the Welsh Government dispute that the Cardiff studio affected occupancy at Pinewood, the WAO noted.

Pinewood’s new owners, who took over in January 2017, also had concerns about the size of the studio, which was not tall enough to accommodate the aerial camera angles required on higher budget film productions, limiting its appeal to the industry.

In October 2017, Welsh ministers decided the Wentloog lease and collaboration arrangement should be terminated. The media investment budget was put on hold.

A fresh three-year arrangement began in November 2017, costing the Welsh Government £392,000 per year plus an additional annual management fee payable to Pinewood. The size of this management fee was not disclosed due to commercial sensitivities.

“The Welsh Government has recognised that these financial projections don’t represent good value for money,” the WAO said.

“However, they considered that the new management services agreement with Pinewood, with the potential to generate commercial revenue streams for the Welsh Government, was better than the costs that the Welsh Government would otherwise incurred by leaving the site empty while looking for a new tenant.”

Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

Monday, 25 June 2018

Who will tell the Welsh story?

This is such an important submission that I thought it worth reproducing in full.  Since it comes from an industry professional who knows a great deal about film finance, and who has had many dealings with the Welsh Government creative industries team, I hope that the Culture Committee pays due attention to it, and takes on board its key recommendations......

(Note: there are two Dave Balls — one within the creative industries team, and the other who is an independent professional.)

——————————


Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru / National Assembly for Wales
Pwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu / The Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee
Cynyrchiadau Ffilm a Theledu Mawr yng Nghymru / Film and Major TV Production in Wales
CWLC(5) FILMTV12
Ymateb gan David Ball / Evidence from David Ball


TERMS OF REFERENCE

1). TO ACHIEVE CLARITY.
It would appear this sector has no clear line of approach to those media makers seeking co-operation in financing their intended product. There is no clear guideline similar to concise and accurate online applications existing in other parts of the UK. There appear to be far too many small offshoots in the creative sector, a tedious chain of command and a total reluctance to act in timely fashion. The decision making process involves far too many people and takes far too long. This is due to so many staff members being unqualified to operate efficiently. “Qualified” means a total understanding of the requirements of the media production industry. It also requires understanding of what the film maker is trying to achieve. There have been instances where project applications have been rejected as being either too commercial or not commercial enough, benefit to Wales irrelevant, itself a contradiction. The involvement in script assessment is also often undertaken by persons unqualified, which often leads to a negative response rather than a positive one, grossly unfair on the applicant. If the goal is to achieve clarity on policy, the entire departmental staff needs to be reassessed for suitability to the task.
In summary, a clearer line of application is required, together with a measured response in timely fashion by those professionally qualified to respond.

2). (1) ECONOMIC IMPACT.
There is an obvious beneficial impact to any region of Wales which welcomes a film or TV company. Certain areas of outstanding natural beauty are often featured in media production and local expenditure increases during this period. Given the localisation of the infrastructure based from Cardiff, generation of jobs is limited to local labour and the use of “supporting background artistes” or film extras. All employment is generally low paid and temporary, hotels and local authorities being the principal beneficiaries. Economic benefit to Wales is lessened by a number of “brass plate” companies supplying facilities through establishments such as Pinewood Studios, the revenues being filtered back to a non Welsh UK base. A similar scenario exists across the globe.

2). (2) CULTURAL IMPACT.
As a senior film maker (fifteen feature films made wholly or partly in Wales) the cultural impact is barely nominal, due to locations being “cheated” in Welsh regions. Being a minority language, it is difficult to foresee any change to this scenario. Even high end TV drama is filmed bi- lingual to achieve other sales in non-Welsh speaking areas (Hinterland). More awareness should be paid to this aspect; it is twenty years since “Solomon & Gaenor” made an impact on the world stage.

2). (3) VALUE FOR MONEY.
Filming in Wales represents true value for money, average production costs in the region of 35% cheaper than London. Obviously, all UK regions are more economically viable than the capital but do not possess the contrasting visuals available within short reach. Varied architecture also allows Wales to “double” for many other places at a fraction of the cost. This has proven a successful lure to foreign producers in the past and should be portrayed as an advantage; more visual awareness should be championed as a solid reason to film in Wales, in tandem with the economic benefit. However, producers are always looking for finance and a clear line of investment (rebate) for filming in Wales could be the added incentive to secure their business.

3). AFFECTING SUPPORT FOR THE SECTOR.
Without having sight of the Welsh Government’s new Economic Action Plan, it is impossible to judge any affect. Let us hope the true value of benefit is accorded to potential revenues from the media production industry. It has far too often been glossed over in the past. Using the multiplier, my fifteen films, all in the low to low/medium budget range, generated an economic benefit to Wales of over £70M in the decade 1997-2007. Larger productions would easily overtake this figure in a relatively short time.

4). FCW/BFI.
These institutions are difficult to access for the film maker and represent a daunting challenge. Whilst the BFI serves the UK, one has to question the disposal of resources at FCW. Given their overhead, it is hard to imagine their being able to invest significant sums to worthwhile Welsh productions and thereby making a solid contribution. It is known for them to have supported product with limited Welsh content in the past, something to cause arousal locally. Does their work complement that of the Welsh Government? The outsider viewpoint is they are representing them.

5). SUPPORT TO DEVELOP SKILLS.
It is always hard to develop skills or address skills shortages in this sector, given the often seasonal nature of production creating intermittent demand. Some years ago CYFLE appeared to be helping youngsters train in the media and this worked reasonably well, supported by most Welsh film makers. The increased production by the BBC in Wales in recent years is probably the only means currently of an introduction to the industry. There appears to be a void in opportunity which the Welsh Government would have little chance of filling given the sporadic nature. There are very few areas of skills shortage in Wales and crews are excellent, camera department being the notable area of shortage. Is there sufficient data to map existing skills? Wales has a crew database but this is not promoted; perhaps it should be. There is good reason to maintain an updated CV in the freelance media industry. Incoming film makers currently tend to bring in crews they know rather than shop locally, inadvertently denying jobs to first class local talent. It could be a case of advertising local skills (Welsh spend etc) rather than try to develop them.

OUTSIDE THE TERMS OF REFERENCE.
The committee asks if enough is being done to grow a domestic film industry and encourage film makers to tell stories about Wales.
The simple answer is no, nowhere near  (enough) is being done. The support for local product (outside S4C) is virtually non-existent although there is a need for expansion on the cause of the inertia. It is commonly believed the creative sector doesn’t “think Wales”, moreso of job retention. A case in point is a project entitled “The Lan” developed with the creative sector for two years between 2014 and 2016. This is one of the most historic true life dramas centring on the effects on a community following a fatal mining explosion in 1875 in Gwaelod Y Garth. The following persons gave their written support for the benefits to Wales (historically, culturally and economically):- Carwyn Jones, Rhodri Morgan, Dafydd Wigley, Derrick Morgan, Jane Hutt, Prof. Colin Riordan, Kevin Brennan, David Melding, Tony Benn and Jack McConnell. It became apparent that Pinewood Pictures, holders of the film fund, didn’t deem the project commercial enough. The creative sector followed the Pinewood initiative, unimpressed by its “Welshness” and disregarding the huge body of Welsh support. Frustrated after two years of negativity, a meeting was called and the producer was informed the sector budget had been exhausted, factually translating into “If Pinewood don’t like it we can’t support it”.
There are many examples of unilateral behaviour within the creative sector but important to point out to the committee that films about Wales do not receive anything other than commercial assessment which answers the question succinctly.
Wales will not nurture a domestic industry and will not have the opportunity to inform the world of its history until the culture of money making is succeeded by the need to maintain its cultural identity.
There is so much wrong with the modus operandi of the creative sector and the misdirected course they are forced to follow by the demands of outsiders, it is impossible to even consider the creation of an endemic film industry.


Sent from my iPad

Why stories about Wales are not being told......




This is an extract from Dave Ball’s written submission to the Assembly’s Culture Committee, during its consideration of the TV and film industries in Wales:

The committee asks if enough is being done to grow a domestic film industry and encourage film makers to tell stories about Wales.
The simple answer is no, nowhere near (enough) is being done. The support for local product (outside S4C) is virtually non-existent although there is a need for expansion on the cause of the inertia. It is commonly believed the creative sector doesn’t “think Wales”, (but) more so of job retention.

 A case in point is a project entitled “The Lan” developed with the creative sector for two years between 2014 and 2016. This is one of the most historic true life dramas centring on the effects on a community following a fatal mining explosion in 1875 in Gwaelod Y Garth. The following persons gave their written support for the benefits to Wales (historically, culturally and economically):- Carwyn Jones, Rhodri Morgan, Dafydd Wigley, Derrick Morgan, Jane Hutt, Prof. Colin Riordan, Kevin Brennan, David Melding, Tony Benn and Jack McConnell. It became apparent that Pinewood Pictures, holders of the film fund, didn’t deem the project commercial enough. The creative sector followed the Pinewood initiative, unimpressed by its “Welshness” and disregarding the huge body of Welsh support. Frustrated after two years of negativity, a meeting was called and the producer was informed the sector budget had been exhausted, factually translating into “If Pinewood don’t like it we can’t support it”.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Assembly consultations on film and TV in Wales



There are some interesting contributions listed here, including some "set piece" submissions saying what you would expect them to say.  But some of the contributors do at least express some opinions......

http://senedd.assembly.wales/mgConsultationDisplay.aspx?id=296&RPID=1510320504&cp=yes

More rumblings from the Welsh TV and film industry



Here are a number of stories from the BBC web site which suggest deep frustration within the industry about "the Welsh way of doing things" in the film and TV drama field.  Series like "Hinterland", "Keeping Faith" and "Bang" have done well, but they are all made on incredibly low budgets and although they may get network air time, the production companies, directors, actors and scriptwriters all seem to be pointing at big shortcomings in the system.........

Loss-making projects, the scandals associated with Bad Wolf and Pinewood, the convoluted financial support system, and the "exploitation" of Welsh production facilities by production companies that have no interest in telling Welsh stories or doing anything to promote Wales are all big issues.

Pinewood's Welsh TV and film fund frustrating, claim Bang producershttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-44081643

Actors missing out on TV and film roles in Wales, Equity union claimshttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-44385773?SThisFB

Julian Lewis Jones calls for more local talent in Wales-made films
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-44076476

Action film flop Take Down received £3m in Welsh loanhttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-42079457

Ffilm Cymru: Short films receive funding boosthttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-43737994

Some of the info from an FOI request:

Take Down, which was produced by Pinewood, was given a loan of £3.14m.   The production, which was shot in Pinewood Wales as well as Anglesey and the Isle of Man, has so far recouped £941,413.
According to the Internet Movie Database, the film was released on DVD in the UK in August 2016, although it appeared to have a cinema release in the US.

Glossy BBC Worldwide/Amazon Prime drama The Collection received a loan of £1.15m and a grant of £600,000 - ministers have recouped £119,075 so far

BBC Films' British war comedy Their Finest - which lists Pinewood as a producer - was loaned £2m and has recouped nearly £2.1m for Welsh Government, making a profit so far of £49,985

Horror movie Don't Knock Twice was given a loan of £629,516 and received a grant of £75,000 from the Wales Screen Fund. It has recouped £469,415 for ministers

It also listed a number of projects that have received loans from the scheme that are yet to reach a release:

£1.2m for Show Dogs, a comedy that is being released in the UK next year and was mostly shot at Pinewood Studio Wales
£2m for Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires, which also received a £673,784 Wales Screen Fund grant
£850,000 for World War 1 drama Journey's End, being previewed in Cardiff on Thursday - £80,000 has been recouped so far
£25,000 each for the development of a film called Lionel The First, TV show Jack Staff, and TV project Minotaur

A total of £317,000 has also been loaned to Tiny Rebel Games, based in Newport, for the game Dr Who Infinity, in partnership with BBC Worldwide.

=================

As one might expect, the BBC and the Welsh Government bat away the criticisms and concerns by stressing the positives (mostly about the economic spinoffs coming from the making of films and TV series in Wales) and ignoring the negatives.    But the Assembly's Culture Committee is currently investigating the film and TV industry in Wales, and it will be interesting to see what they come up with when they make their report.

Friday, 1 June 2018

The ideal Martha?



I found these two photos on Kezia's web site.  She and Rhiannon could easily be sisters! Kezia has a pretty large portfolio, including -- for some unfathomable reason -- various roles in bloodthirsty films about the Vikings.  Does she look like a Scandinavian princess in jeopardy?  Maybe, but she would make a pretty good Welsh Martha too......