Michael Sheen’s Valleys Rebellion
BBC Wales | 1 x 60mins
Actor Michael Sheen goes on a personal journey to find out why there is so much political disillusionment in Wales today.
Walking in the footsteps of the Chartists, who 175 years ago gave their lives for democracy, he asks why do ordinary people and politicians seem so far apart?
To commemorate the 175th anniversary of The Chartist Rising in Newport, actor Michael Sheen retraces the journey of the 20,000 Chartists who walked from the Gwent Valleys to the centre of Newport in a unique programme that examines Welsh people’s attitude towards politics and social change in 2014. What do people want from politics today and why do so many feel angry, alienated and let down? In the 2014 European elections, Blaenau Gwent had the lowest voter turnout in Wales, with only 27% casting a vote. Garnering opinion and gathering people, Michael Sheen’s journey ends at the Westgate Hotel, scene of the infamous riot that saw twenty two Chartists die at the hands of Government soldiers in 1839. Here, he will reveal a Welsh People’s Charter for our time, a manifesto of thoughts and ideas relevant to the social and political needs of our people in 2014. Although we mainly associate Michael Sheen with Port Talbot, he was born in Newport and roundly condemned the council’s recent decision to demolish the mural commemorating the events of 1839. Our aim is to both remember what the Chartists struggled and died for but also to explore the situation today, to question the apathy and see if the Chartist heritage is still living through us.