Jacob Ifan leads a new Welsh crime drama Bang with connections to Bladerunner and The Sopranos
Cuffs star Jacob Ifan has got himself a gun in S4C’s new crime drama, Bang, which is also available to watch on BBC iplayer now. Set in atmospheric Port Talbot the eight-part thriller casts Jacob as loner Sam Jenkins. When Sam’s dodgy neighbour bullies him into hiding an illegal gun, a world of possibilities opens up for the introverted warehouse worker. Emboldened by the gun, Sam embarks on a secret double life, kept hidden from his family and friends – especially his policewoman sister, Gina!
Intrigued? Here are six more reasons to tune into Bang…
The location and its connections to Bladerunner
“Port Talbot is a big character in Bang. Ridley Scott used a lot of its imagery for the look of Bladerunner and you can really see it - it’s all metal, smoke, fire and steel. It’s a striking place,” said Cardiff-born, Jacob. “When I was a kid and we’d pass through at night you’d see flames coming out of the towers. I was a big Lord of The Rings fan so Port Talbot was always a scary Mordor to me! Actually it’s really beautiful with mountains and sea in a landscape dominated by steelworks.”
The Welsh language Bang is a bi-lingual piece which effortlessly switches between Welsh and English without missing a beat.
Executive producer Gub Neal explained: “The drama switched between English and Welsh language in an entirely natural way to portray the dialogue as it’s actually spoken in this part of Wales. We’re incredibly excited to capture the imagination of viewers in Wales and well beyond.”
Don’t worry, there are subtitles.
The Sopranos connection
Musical sensation Alabama 3 have written the soundtrack and the score for Bang. That’s the same Alabama 3 who provided the theme tune, Woke Up This Morning, for HBO’s hit series The Sopranos.
Not only that but Rob Spragg – aka Larry Love from Alabama 3 – has a role in Bang as Douglas Rose, an aging, former gangster.
“When I first got the part I remember thinking The Sopranos theme song Woke Up This Morning by Alabama 3 would have been perfect for Bang. But we can’t compete with Tony Soprano!” laughed Jacob. “Excitingly, however, Alabama 3 are doing the soundtrack and title music for Bang. Rob Spragg from the band has a part later in the series suits him perfectly.”
The BAFTA-winning writer Bang has been created, written and executively produced by Roger Williams. His drama series Tales From Pleasure Beach was nominated for a BAFTA in 2002. He went on to win the BAFTA Cymru Award in 2015 for Tir.
Bang also had other heavy-hitters working behind the scenes. It is directed by Philip John (Outlander, Downton Abbey) and Ashley Way (Ripper Street, Stella), and produced by Catrin Lewis Defis (Broadchurch).
The rest of the cast
Although Jacob is the lead character, the support cast are nothing to sniff at. Doctor Who’s Nia Roberts plays Sam’s mum, Linda. Chris Reilly (Homefront, Call the Midwife, Game of Thrones) is stepdad Ray. While Stella’s Catrin Stewart plays Sam’s ambitious PC sister, Gina.
Other notable cast members include Casualty star Suzanne Packer in the role of Chief Inspector Layla Davis, Jack Parry-Jones (Our Girl) as PC Luke, and Gillian Elisa (Gavin & Stacey, Sherlock, Stella), who plays Sam’s loveable, old-school gran, Liz.
It’s on BBC iPlayer! The first episode of Bang began airing on Welsh channel S4C on Sunday 10th September at 9pm. Happily, however, it’s also available on iPlayer.
Talking about the opening episode Jacob revealed that both Sam and Gina are living in the shadow of the unsolved death of their dad, shot in front of Sam when he was six years old:
“Sam and Gina are still reeling from the tragedy and grief of losing their father. When Sam gets this gun it’s thrilling and empowers him. I’m trying to avoid the comparison of the Welsh Breaking Bad, but he does break bad in a way!”
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With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and www.whattowatch.com covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.
As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast.
After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.