UK Government celebrates 35 years of Welsh language broadcasting

Guto Bebb: S4C's anniversary a landmark for the UK's rich broadcasting sector

S4C occupies a hugely significant place in the cultural landscape of Wales UK Government Minister Guto Bebb said today (1 November) as the Welsh language broadcaster celebrates 35 years of high quality broadcasting.

After the first programme went on air on 1 November 1982, the channel moved from a bilingual to 100% Welsh-language service with the Welsh digital switchover in 2010.

Since then, S4C has grown to develop more and more original content reaching an audience of over 9 million across the UK. It has also expanded its online presence with 9.1 million TV viewers and 18 million viewing clips of S4C content on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube throughout the UK in 2016-17.

UK Government Minister Guto Bebb said:

S4C is a longstanding and significant part of the UK’s rich public service broadcasting landscape. Both the channel and its content make an important contribution to the cultural and economic life of Wales, to the prosperity of the Welsh language and to the strength of our creative sector.

From Patrol Pawennau (Paw Patrol) to Pobol y Cwm (People of the Valley), the channel serves all ages, who are both fluent Welsh speakers and those who are taking their first steps to learning the language.

This anniversary is also an important reminder of the role the creative industries can play in driving growth through the creation of jobs and attracting inward investment. The UK Government has repeatedly emphasised its commitment to a strong and independent Welsh language TV service. We want to see the channel thrive and embrace the opportunities of a digital age.

With a clear vision for the years ahead, S4C’s future is undoubtedly bright. I’d like to extend my congratulations to the new Chief Executive, Owen Evans and to each and every member of staff, who work with such relentless dedication to showcase the talents and capabilities of the Welsh creative industry. Here’s to another 35 years and more.

Further information:

  • Guto Bebb launched an independent review of the channel at the National Eisteddfod in August this year. The review, chaired by Euryn Ogwen Williams, will examine the channel’s remit, funding arrangements and its governance. The results of the review are expected to be published later in the autumn.
  • In March this year, the UK Government approved a £10 million loan for the relocation of the channel’s headquarters to Carmarthen, which will create more than 800 jobs in the local area. This cash will also mean that technical facilities can be shared with the BBC in Cardiff, reducing the S4C’s overhead costs and increasing its creative pool of talent.