The Writers of Wales Database
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Retired award-winning television producer, director and writer. Don, a native Welsh-speaker was born in 1933 at Pentyrch, Glamorganshire, on the slopes of the Garth Mountain into a family with deep roots in the ancient parish which is now part of Cardiff. He left Caerphilly Grammar Technical School to work in commercial and aerial photography, later receiving part time education at Cardiff Art College. After being engaged in the visual arts, he entered television joining Teledu Cymru in Cardiff in 1962. He became captivated with film editing and later with producing and directing. Following employment with TWW and HTV he eventually formed Ffilmiau Llewellyn Films, working for both ITV and the BBC before finally retiring.
In his career, he made many hundreds of programmes of almost every type imaginable but always retained a preference for in-depth documentaries - a field of work in which he was able to learn various aspects of the writer’s craft. Don achieved recognition for his work in some of the hardest arenas of competition. The film Purdy (starring Freddie Jones), chosen by the ITV network as their official entry in the Cannes Film Festival of 1970, was edited by Don. He was also editor of Thick as Thieves, the film that won the ‘Pye Oscar’ (Best Regional Production Of Any Kind) in 1972 - starring Leonard Rossiter and Corrin Redgrave. Programmes edited by Don gained first prizes at various European Festivals including Milan, Trento, and Budapest. He was senior editor on various major series including The Pretenders and Arthur Of The Britons. His later successes (as a director) included a gold medal at the 1983 New York International TV and Film Festival and a BAFTA Cymru award in 1992.
Among the several major ITV Network programmes produced and directed by Don are There Was A Crooked Man, the story of Welsh gangster ‘Murray the Hump’, which was filmed in Chicago and Oklahoma, and Wynford – A Miscellany, a tribute to Wynford Vaughan Thomas. Whilst his film editor’s craft was ‘writing with pictures and sounds’ the written word became an essential element in his work as a producer/director. TV narrations include: Survival of the Fittest (Gold Medal at New York International Festival, narrated by John Taylor and Maureen Staffer, late of BBC’s Woman’ Hour), Trailblazers (BAFTA Cymru winner – narrated by John Taylor and Suzanne Dando), Norman Nice to See You (narrated by Sir Harry Secombe) and We Only Came For Tea (narrated by Philip Madoc).
Don is a Life Member of Pentyrch RFC, of which he is a former captain and president and has been a member of the Welsh Rugby Writers’ Association for over three decades. He co-wrote A Club For All Reasons (Pentyrch RFC, 1983) with his brother A.R. Llewellyn, which documents the first 100 years of Pentyrch RFC.
Since retirement Don has been chairman of the thriving Pentyrch Local History Society which is extremely busy recording for posterity what is known about life in past times in the area of the Garth Mountain. He writes and edits a very popular quarterly 44 page document called The Garth Domain. He has been involved in some notable local history documents, all of which have been deposited at the National Library, Aberystwyth. Don writes regular features for the Welsh language 'Collectors’ magazine (Y Casglwr), and has also contributed to Rhwng Dwy Afon (a publication marking Eisteddfod yr Urdd) and Llafargwlad. Besides having an abiding love of literature, Don’s interests are many and varied, including his family, rugby, gardening, walking the countryside, history, and writing at every opportunity.
Whilst his work gave him the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of writing styles, the one ambition he has nursed for most of his life has been to master the technique of producing a novel. At the age of 76 his first attempt was accepted for publication so he can now put a tick against that particular item on his list of life’s dreams. The Kissing Gate, a childhood romance, was published in October 2009 by Dinefwr Press. Don is a Member of Academi.
With respect to There Was A Crooked Man
“…Don Llewellyn’s well-shaped and deliberately unsensational documentary on this charming, intelligent, home-loving monster…”
With respect to Wynford – A Miscellany
“…The most enjoyable factual programme of the year…”
The Western Mail
With respect to A Club For All Reasons (co-writer) (Pentyrch RFC, 1983)
“…A truly remarkable publication … wonderfully vivid and entertaining …compulsive reading...”
Cliff Jones, President of the Welsh Rugby Union
“...The best Rugby Club History so far...”
Alun Rees, The Western Mail
With respect to The Kissing Gate (Dinefwr Press, 2009)
“...I can’t repeat enough how much this book means to me. It caries the reader back instantly to a bygone, more innocent and wonderful time. This writer is a marvel and I take my hat off to him...”
“...The writer has a flair for words. The Kissing Gate enchants the reader’s senses and brings springing to life the childhood that though gone still haunts the memory..."
“...No surprise that Don Llewellyn who was indisputably Wales’ most accomplished film editor (and thereafter a distinguished director) should produce a work of high craft standards. Here he weaves an authentic screenplay of village life in the forties: a sense of place and territory, with a central love story, deftly, artfully and craftily confected into an accomplished work..."
Huw Davies, Dir. ContentFilm (USA), former Chief Exec. HTV and Channel TV
“...A lovingly-told tale that captures an age long since disappeared. The language used by the well-drawn characters evidences a knowledge of various dialect forms. Lovely memories from the ‘day before yesterday..."
John Edwards, retired educationalist and ‘Master of Wenglish’
“...The Kissing Gate is the most effective in this genre since George Ewart Evans’ The Voices of the Children (1947)...”
Professor Gareth Williams, Centre for Modern and Contemporary Wales, University of Glamorgan
“...An exceptionally good read with a story line that holds your attention from start to finish. A lovely book...”
Clare Potter, award-winning performance poet
“...The Kissing Gate is a delight in its freshness of touch and observation. Impossible not to enjoy as it conveys such tender memories of lives and things now utterly gone. It has a gem-like sparkle...”
Professor Dai Smith, Chair, Arts Council, Wales
“...Echoes of Laurie Lee and Richard Llewellyn … a most enjoyable nostalgic return to the ‘blue, remembered hills’ of childhood...”
Dr Eurwen Price, retd. educationalist and member of the Dylan Thomas Society of G.B.
“...Everything in the book is stamped with authenticity. A perfect backcloth has been woven. I wish the author much success...”
Tony Lewis CBE ex captain and president of the MCC. Former Chairman of The Wales Tourist Board
Pentyrch, Creigiau and Gwaelod y Garth (Chalford Press, 1997)
The Kissing Gate (Dinefwr Press, 2009)
A Club for All Reasons (co-writer) (Pentyrch RFC, 1983)
A Club for All Reasons (Pentyrch RFC 1983) OUT OF PRINT
This book not only celebrated the centenary of a village rugby club but also the essential character and humour of the local community
Now a collectors’ item, copies of A Club For All Reasons sometimes turn up for sale on the internet
Pentyrch, Creigiau and Gwaelod y Garth (Chalford Press 1997)
Compiled by Don Llewellyn on behalf of Pentyrch Local History Society for the Chalford Press ‘Archive Photograph Series’. Besides the illustrations, copious captions and texts cover the rich history of an ancient parish.
To find out where you can purchase this title, please click on its front cover
The Kissing Gate (Dinefwr Press, 2009)
A childhood romance set in an epoch when both hope and despair were sharpened by the challenges on the home front during the Second World War. Evacuees arrive from Kent like a swarm of friendly bees at a Welsh hill-village that ‘continues to smile beneath the summer skies’. Among the newcomers is the sublime Annabel who captivates Geraint at first sight.
The love story is driven forward by the emotional pains of a besotted young boy whose romantic intentions are repeatedly thwarted by self-inflicted doses of whimsy. Geraint feels that the blessing of the place for trysts and troths – the kissing gate at Tom the Tinker’s Meadow – will help him on his ‘journey of discovery’. Against a background of the beautiful Welsh countryside the relationship between two children unfolds within a community of colourful and memorable characters.
To email Dinefwr Press to purchase this title, please click on its front cover