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1993 - "Alice"

Alice Clothes

Alice Sketches

Cheshire Cat

Chess Game

Humpty Dumpty

Knave of Heatrs

Lion and the Unicorn

Mad Tea Party

Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee

White Knights

1994 - Final

Game 1 The World (1st idea)

Game 1 The World (developed)

Game 2 Paris

Game 3 Venice

Game 4 Egypt

Game 5 India

Game 6 Hong Kong v2

Game 6 Hong Kong

Game 8 San Francisco

Game 9 New York v2

Game 9 New York

Game 10 Return to Cardiff

Συνέντευξη / Interview

1. Did you watch JSF before you start to work for that project?

I hadn't watched JSF before starting to design the games in 1993, though I had seen the sets for the 1991 games which were designed by Ian Watson and was most impressed by them.

2. How you joined in the team of Ffilmiau’r Nant for JSF? Or how Ffilmiau’r Nant was chosen to work with S4C, was any competition?

Ffilmiau'r Nant had made to series of JSF before: in 1991 and 1992. Robin Evans and Sue Waters were the producers. I am not sure how they came to be chosen by S4C, but they are a very experienced company, that work in Drama, Sport and Light Entertainment. I had worked with them many times before, but always on drama. JSF was the first time I had designed anything like that, but I had tremendous support from Robin and Sue.

3. How many people were in your team for JSF?

The design team was very small: myself and Jane Roberts, my associate / assistant. We looked after the sets. The all important costumes were designed and supervised by Jan Marshall, though of course there was much co-operation between us. But of course there were many different companies involved putting the games together. Most of the companies and people involved had worked on the previous games and this was a tremendous help to me as I was attempting to do something quite new for me.

4. How difficult was to design the games?

To begin with I found it quite impossible, but as we had to have the ideas for the games down on paper very quickly I devised a style of drawing that would quickly and easily describe the games and hopefully make them look fun as well. The Alice games were in a way straightforward to design as they were to be based on the well known Tenniel illustrations to  the original edition of the book.
The four of us, Robin Sue Jane and me had brainstorming sessions: Robin and Sue knew what was needed and had most of the practical ideas. My job was to interpret them  and fit them to  the theme. Jane was an extremely experienced draughts person and her main task was sorting out the layout and making sense of my designs.

5. The main theme of the games (JSF 1993) came from S4C or from you?

The themes - Alice in Wonderland and The Signs of the Zodiac had been decided in advance by Robin and Sue.

6. How long it took to finish the project?

I was engaged to start designing the games at the beginning of January 1993 and they were recorded in July of that year. The actual designing had to be done in the main, by early March so they could be presented for approval at the joint production meeting in Geneva and in order to give the construction people time, but of course changes were made right up to  the last minute.

7. How long it took to set up the scenery for each program? (2 shows)

I can't remember exactly how long the fit up took: about 6 weeks I think to get the main elements in position and then about a week between to rearrange the sets for the Zodiac games.

8. Did you have any difficulties to design the games?

The main difficulty was the fact that I had never designed anything like JSF before and also that I am myself not a sporty person, so I had to rely on advice, particularly from Robin but also Denis Pettiaux on what was physically possible. The other difficulty, well challenge really ,was give variety to each game as basically the main thing was to run, climb, fall-over and get wet, and there are only so many ways that that can happen. Each game lasted about 3 minutes, and anyone, even the slowest can travel quite a distance in that time, yet each game had to be contained within quite a short space. As there were so many construction people involved one of the main challenges was to make sure that everything fitted together when the separate pieces were delivered to the set.
There was very little time to test and adjust for errors. At Bodelwyddan the site it-self was very difficult as it sloped, so the first thing that had to be done was for the scaffolders to build a vast platform to give the games a level playing field. Not a cheap thing to do!!

9. Could you tell us how much it cost each show?

I can't remember the exact figure but it seemed a lot to begin with, but not enough when it came to actually making each game. So many things to duplicate and make strong enough to last and yet the life of each item was so short. 

10. There were any problems during the show? If yes, how you manage to overcame with them?

I can't remember a particular problems during the show except that it rained some of the time, which was typical of North Wales, but in a way this was a sort of advantage as it made the set look very shiny, but it would have been better if it had been warm and sunny. My main feeling was of relief that it was all there and working. Most of the problems fortunately happened before.
One was very scary when one of the scaffolders came to the office to say that the scaffold structure had shifted. It took a lot of skilled work to put that right.

11. Are you proud about that project?

From feeling very challenged when I started to seeing it through to completion was very satisfying. I remember seeing it altogether for the first time and thinking it looked like a giant piece of Pop Art.
I was as much concerned with the appearance of the whole set as I was with the mechanics of the games and the way the games looked next to each other was very important: it created an atmosphere as well as being good fun.
Yes I felt quite pleased with it. I think now when times are tougher, that JSF appears over elaborate for what it is, but it was fun at the time, if nerve wracking. And I met lots of very skilled people who worked on it.

12. Do you remember something that happened during the shows and we don’t watch it on TV?

I can't say I do. It was very exciting seeing it all come together and seeing so many people having such fun.

13. Many fans of JSF admit that the shows of S4C for JSF 1993 & 1994 were excellent and many believe that was one of the best shows! How that makes you feel??

At the time I had no idea how it compared with others, but it was very gratifying to know that it was very well received.

14. Did you design also the games for the final of JSF 1994 or only for the shows of 1993? If yes, were any differences between 1993 and 1994?

Yes, I designed the final of JSF in Cardiff in 1994. The main difference was that I knew what to expect and that I had longer to think about it, though it still had its nerve wracking moments. The site in Cardiff was easier to work on as it was flat. As it was a protected site we had to be very careful of the grass. We put down a white surface that allows the grass to breathe and grow. It looked pristine when it went down, but as it went down about a month before the recording the grass had time to grow through it and I never felt it looked as good as it should, but there was nothing to be done about it.

15. Which show (1993-1994) you prefer most?

Difficult to say. Possibly 1993 as it was the first. They were very different. The Games of 1993 were based on well known stories, while the 1994 final was more up-to-date and futuristic, in an 90s sort of way. Certain games were my favourites. From Alice the Chess Game was a big challenge, and most teams failed to complete it but was a fun idea and in the 1994 final Denis PettiauxI especially liked the Eifel Tower game.


1993 - Zodiac

CancerCapricorn Gemini

Leo Libra Pisces

Sagittarius Taurus


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