Posted on 2nd December 2020

Bang’s journey to the Green award at the Edinburgh TV Festival

Bang is an award-winning bilingual crime drama set in the town of Port Talbot in Wales, but that isn't the only special thing about it.

S4C’s Bang had the honour of winning the Green Award at the Edinburgh TV festival in 2020, we spoke to creator Roger Williams about how the team got there.

Bang is also a fantastic example of a production which received albert Certification for its sustainability efforts. albert Certification is awarded to productions on a case by case basis, with a “best endeavours” approach built in. This means that certification isn’t withheld if a production is a filmed in an area where ‘green’ facilities or suppliers are lacking, which might be the case for regional productions filming outside of a city.

In these instances albert looks for evidence that the producer and production team are making the strongest choices around sustainability that they possibly can  with an understanding that ultimately there will be limitations that are outside of the their control.

Getting Started

The journey began as Bang was midway through filming its first series, and Roger went to a training session with the Carbon Literacy Project, which was part of a BFI funding requirement for a film project he was working on.

“Being able to get away from the hectic set for half a day and fully immerse myself in the ways a production could bring sustainability to their set was a lightbulb moment for me. Before, when the question of sustainability came up there was an attitude of ‘we’d like to do more but need more time and money to commit’. Post training, I realised there was so much that could be done immediately. ”

Roger began implementing these immediate changes as soon as he returned to set, starting with reducing paper use, reducing disposable cutlery use and having conversations with the catering department to offer a more sustainable menu and reuse any uneaten food.

Sustainability in Series 2

Going into Series 2, there was a bigger opportunity to put sustainable practices into action. Roger took the decision to shoot as much as possible in one location.

The key and ethos of the production was that if we film in an area, we need to root ourselves in the place, the place being Port Talbot where the show is set. We had to find a base where we could make the show work and have enough space to adapt rooms and build sets and house the production base. Everything was housed in one location, catering, editing and so on, we didn’t need to hire trucks.”

This hyper local approach to production meant the cast and crew were within walking distance of filming locations (such as a local gym and local rugby pitch), reducing the need for long distance transport. It also meant that all materials had to be sourced locally, benefitting local businesses in the area.

Other benefits of this approach included positive effects on team building and cohesion among the cast and crew due to having the team all in one place. The production house was also close to the local train station, meaning cast and crew could travel to work by public transport.

The sustainable approach to production also helped because the show was being made on a dramatically lower budget than most BBC and ITV dramas. The decisions we made about sustainability actually helped lower costs, when the idea beforehand had been that making sustainable changes would be costly.

— Roger Williams, Creator of Bang

I took it on myself to be the sustainability marshal on set, I’d walk around the production offices, questioning certain behaviours (lights being left on, waste, catering leftovers) and slowly brought everyone round to a more sustainable way of thinking .

Only through practice and implementation can you encourage this sort of good behaviour. We wouldn’t have gone on this journey unless we had gone through albert certification.

When we make the next show, the lesson learned is not to listen to the voices that demand a quick turnaround. Younger members of the team were happy to adopt the production’s sustainable ambitions and their enthusiasm for what we were trying to achieve quashed any resistance from members of the team who might have been more sceptical at the outset. It was entirely a positive experience.”

Find out more about Bang at S4C’s website, and about their Green Award win here