Meic Povey: 1950-2017

By Sion Eirian

Meic PoveyMeic Povey (pictured left), widely acknowledged as one of Wales’s most accomplished and prolific playwrights, died of cancer on Tuesday 5 December at the age of 67.

Meic hailed from a small Welsh speaking community in the heart of Snowdonia but moved to Cardiff to work 40 years ago and stayed there for the rest of his working life. After early employment as a stage manager, then a script editor on the nascent Welsh soap Pobol y Cwm, and even publishing a novel entitled Mae’r Sgwar yn Wag, Meic graduated to making a name for himself as a ground-breaking playwright and TV dramatist. He also found time to fit in some acting work, and his most memorable role was probably that of DC Taff Jones in Minder.

In 1991, he won a BAFTA Wales award for penning the celebrated film Nel, which like so much of his work was rooted in the Welsh heartland of Gwynedd. He won another BAFTA for the TV series Talcen Caled in 2005. His most innovative work was seen in his stage plays. Perthyn was the first Welsh language play to deal with incest and sexual abuse, and his latest play, Hogia Ni – Yma o Hyd was about three Welsh soldiers and post-traumatic stress disorder. He also wrote some memorable plays in English for Sgript Cymru, namely Indian Country (2003) and Life of Ryan…and Ronnie (2005). One of his last works was the Radio 4 drama Curious Under the Stars.

He was indebted to his early mentor Gwenlyn Parry, another iconic playwright who had grown up in the Welsh-speaking heart of north Wales and who brought Meic into the drama department of BBC Wales in the early 1970s. Meic himself went on to mentor many younger Welsh writers and provided S4C with many of their most successful popular drama series. In 2010, he published his autobiography Nesa Peth i Ddim, an anecdotal and jaunty recounting of his life and loves but also a heartfelt exploration of his grief after losing his lifelong partner Gwenda to cancer in 2007.