Dic Jones poet and television pioneer

First published in News

National Eisteddfod Archdruid, Dic Jones was the subject of one of the first ever TV reality shows, clips of which are shown in the S4C programme Cofio on Monday, 27 July at 9pm.

Cameras from HTV followed the farmer-poet, his wife, Jean and three of their children, Delyth, Rhian and Dafydd, on a fortnight’s holiday to San Antonio, Ibiza in 1968, two years after Dic won the chair at the 1966 National Eisteddfod in Aberafan. It was a pioneering programme in more than one respect – filmed in fly-on-the-wall documentary style and one of the first programmes made in colour by HTV.

The clip shows the Archdruid swimming, diving and water skiing. But Dic Jones says he also found great pleasure in walking on the island and meeting the locals.

"The idea was to follow some ‘country bumpkin’ going on his holidays to a place like Ibiza," says Dic. However, the authorities refused the crew permission to film for the first week which left Dic free to walk around the island meeting local people.

"The local language, Ibicenco isn’t all that different from Welsh and I was able to talk to the locals in Welsh and they would answer in Ibicenco," Dic tells presenter Heledd Cynwal in Cofio. In the programme, Dic also recalls his early experiences of writing poetry – composing limericks at social events held by the young farmers’ clubs. "I started enjoying being seen," he says. "There’s a lot of that in being on stage, in this performing business to be honest. It’s part of your ambition."

The programme was recorded before the Archdruid’s current illness, which will keep him from taking part in the ceremonies at the Bala National Eisteddfod. But here he sheds light on poets, poetry and the Eisteddfod Chair.

"The Chair is not the prize. The prize is not the prize. The main prize, for me and for other poets, is to finish a work of art - and to finish it to your own satisfaction."

During the programme, Dic is also seen going on an emotional journey to Germany to discover what happened to an old friend, a former prisoner-of-war who worked on the family farm at Blaenannerch during the war years.

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