Welsh stars in Dylan Thomas venture

Blackpool Citizen: Under Milk Wood was written by Dylan Thomas. Under Milk Wood was written by Dylan Thomas.

Welsh stars including Sir Tom Jones, Katherine Jenkins and Michael Sheen are teaming up for a new hour-long TV version of Dylan Thomas' play Under Milk Wood.

The part of the narrator made famous by Richard Burton will be shared between cast members including Sheen, Matthew Rhys, Griff Rhys Jones and Holby City actress Rakie Ayola.

Other names taking part in the production, which marks the 60th anniversary of the first BBC radio broadcast of the play in 1954, include Ioan Gruffudd, Bryn Terfel and Charlotte Church.

Jenkins said: " It was wonderful to be involved in a project celebrating such a great Welshman. It's also been such a joy to collaborate with so many other Welsh artists whom I respect and admire. I hope the results are a fitting tribute."

The recording for the TV version, which will be shown on BBC Wales and available on the iPlayer, features performances in locations including two of the poet's favourite watering holes - Brown's Hotel in his hometown of Lau gharne and the White Horse Tavern in New York where he went on a drinking session that ended with his death.

Executive producer B ethan Jones said: "It's been an enormous privilege to work with such an extraordinary ensemble of Welsh talent for this unique presentation of Dylan Thomas' play, and an amazing experience to witness how this familiar text feels fresh and alive when read with truth and simplicity by this wonderful cast. It's almost as though this material is part of everyone's DNA. Our starting point was Dylan's only note to the original cast before the very first performance in New York shortly after he completed the play - 'Love the words'".

The work, described by Thomas as "a play for voices" and set in the fictional Welsh seaside town of Llareggub, was written in Wales and New York where it was first performed in 1953.

A film version, starring Rhys Ifans, is currently in development.

The only other film version, which dates back to 1972, starred B urton and his then wife Elizabeth Taylor.

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