Lowri Gwilym: Widely admired Welsh television executive

Lowri Gwilym was one of the most influential television executives in Wales.

Appointed in 2004 as editor for factual programmes and co-productions by S4C, the fourth channel now broadcasting entirely in Welsh, she was associated with many of the best programmes put out by the channel, winning several international prizes for her work.

She also made programmes for radio. One of the most admired to be produced by her for BBC Cymru, where she worked for many years as a freelance prior to joining S4C, was Beti a'i Phobol ("Beti and her people"), the Welsh counterpart to Desert Island Discs, in which the matchless Beti George asks guests to talk about themselves and then request music that has special significance for them. One of the most popular long-running programmes ever to be broadcast in the language, its accolade is said to be the equivalent of an OBE in Welsh-speaking Wales. When, earlier this year, it celebrated its 25th year, there was no hesitation in asking Lowri Gwilym to be Beti George's guest.

Lowri Gwilym was one of the daughters of the late Gwyn Williams, sometime Professor of English at universities in the Middle East, whose forefathers had farmed the bleak uplands of Mynydd Bach near Trefenter in Cardiganshire; she changed her surname when she was 18. The family took all their summer holidays at Trefenter, partly so that the girls and their brother Gwydion would speak Welsh, and this they all did to their father's satisfaction. The summer of 1951 which Gwyn and his second wife, Daisy, spent on the mountain, before Gwilym was born, was lovingly recalled by their father in Summer Journal (2004) which she and her sister edited.

On his retirement and return to Wales in 1969 he set about renovating the family's old home, and lived there until 1983, so the children had a strong identification with the area. It was his daughter's intention to settle in the village later this year with her partner, the journalist Meic Birtwistle, and their two teenaged sons, a plan cruelly thwarted by her unexpected death, after a brief illness.

Gwilym was admired by all who knew her. A vegetarian avant la lettre, she led by example and never pressed her opinions on those around her. Having thrown herself into country ways with passion and understanding, she made a lasting contribution to the cultural life of Mynydd Bach, especially to Bethel chapel and Cofadail, a community initiative in Trefenter.

Educated at primary schools in Libya and Turkey, she took her first degree in Welsh at Bangor, and went on to do an MLitt at Linacre College, Oxford. She brought to her work as a producer for radio and television a rare intelligence and an academic regard for textual precision, but also bore in mind the popular demands made by these media, as evidenced by programmes such as O Flaen dy Lygaid ("Before your very eyes"), the six-part series Women in Politics, Wynebau Newydd ("New faces"), Cefn Gwlad ("Countryside"), and O'r Galon ("From the heart").

High standards were important to her and she achieved them by applying an analytical mind and quiet determination to everything she undertook. Her stint on the nightly feature programme Wedi 7 ("After 7") taught her a great deal about the pressures of working to a deadline. Until recently she was content editor for the long-running current affairs series Y Byd ar Bedwar ("The world on Four"). One of her last triumphs, the documentary Dwy Wraig Lloyd George ("Lloyd George's two wives"), won a Bafta Cymru award earlier this year.

Her father, a poet and translator, had known Lawrence Durrell and moved in his literary circle in Alexandria between 1942 and 1951. Shortly after Gwilym's birth he moved to a chair in Benghazi and then to Istanbul; it was for Durrell that Gwyn Williams made his first attempts at translating Welsh poetry into English. His pioneer selection of "poems from the first thousand years of Welsh verse", entitled The Burning Tree (1956) and with a bilingual text, was dedicated to "my daughters Teleri and Lowri in the hope that they may grow up to read both sides of the book".

In both cases their father's hope was realised: Gwilym has been referred to as "the best-read person in broadcasting", and in both Welsh and English.

Given Gwilym's cosmopolitan background, it was hardly surprising that she also wrote verse and spoke several different languages, which made her something of a rara avis in the studios of broadcasting house, Llandaf. But there was also something warm and homely in her nature that endeared her to all her colleagues.

Lowri Gwilym, television executive: born Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire 14 October 1954; two sons with Meic Birtwistle; died Cardiff 21 July 2010.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: SEN Jobs Available Devon

Infrastructure Lead, (Trading, VCE, Converged, Hyper V)

£600 - £900 per day: Harrington Starr: Infrastructure Lead, (Trading infrastru...

Software Solution Technician - Peterborough - up to £21,000

£20000 - £21000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Solutio...

Supply teachers needed- Worthing!

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Supply teachers needed for va...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering