S4C’s children’s series Deian a Loli has gone from strength to strength since it first appeared on our screens in 2016, and this year, the cast and crew from Cwmni Da, Caernarfon won the BAFTA Cymru prize for the best children’s programme! If you are a fan, like my 5 year old daughter Elsi (and me too!), then you’ll know that the Mother of Deian and Loli is played by actress Sian Beca, and you may also know that Sian’s real life husband Martin is the director. Earlier on this month, Mam Cymru interviewed Sian about her role as an on – screen Mum and her life as a ‘real’ Mother to her two beautiful children; Elsa Grug who’s 6 and Seth Isaac who’s 3.
First of all, a massive congratulations to you and the rest of the cast and crew at Cwmni Da for winning the BAFTA Cymru prize for the best children’s programme. How does it feel to win such a prestigious award?
I’m delighted, and not only for myself, but for my husband Martin and everyone else who’s involved in the series. We all work extremely hard, and it proves that the idea and all the hard work has paid off. We live ‘Deian and Loli’ in or house! The kids come on set to film with us from time to time, and it’s fantastic to have such recognition for our work.
Why do you think this series has been so popular?
I think it’s popular because Deian and Loli are real kids, not animated characters like we see in so many kids programmes today. The programme portrays a credible and normal family, Mum, Dad and a brother and sister who live in a normal house in rural Wales. Children in Wales can relate to the characters who like to be outdoors, climbing trees and so on. The only difference is that Deian and Loli have secret magic powers, when they say the magic words “Ribidirew”, they can freeze their parents, which allows them to enter a world of fantasy and adventure! I know that lots of kids try to test this out on their own parents, but fortunately it doesn’t work, or god only knows what our kids would get up to! This element adds a great deal of adventure and excitement to the programme and kids just love to see what Deian and Loli get up to
How does it feel to play an on-screen Mum?
I’ve had to deal with the fact that this is the casting bracket I’m in now – we’re all getting older! Because I’m a Mum to a boy and girl in real life, it makes the job a lot easier, and I enjoy working with kids because I enjoy lots of fun on set and don’t take myself to seriously. I’m used to working with kids too as I’ve been in S4C’s Rownd a Rownd for a number of years.
Erin who plays Loli and Moi who plays Deian are very professional, they correct me and Carwyn (who plays the on screen Dad) and keep us on our toes! We all get on extremely well, they’re lovely kids and it makes the job that much easier and even more fun. We’re like a real family.
As a real -life Mum, are you similar or different to the Mum we see on screen?
I’m certainly stricter and angrier in real life!! I’m also a lot of fun and I believe in having as much fun as possible with our own kids, but it is important that our kids know the boundaries and know how to behave! My kids have to eat at the table, they also have to wear aprons to eat and brush their teeth, it makes life easier when there’s less washing to do! I’m strict with routines too, they have to get dressed before coming downstairs and they have to go to bed on time and so on. If they wake up too early, I tell them that the fairies are going to be angry with them, and that seems to be a good way to get them back to bed…at the moment!
What do you enjoy doing as a family?
We’re very fortunate to be living in Caernarfon, a beautiful part of the country with so many attractions on our doorstep. We’re members of the National Trust and enjoy visiting local castles like Penrhyn Castle and also Plas Newydd. We’re also season ticket holders at Greenwood Forest Park, it’s a brilliant place to visit with the kids in all weather. Elsa and Seth love being outdoors and enjoy playing in the mud and den building, they also enjoy cooking.
Cooking must run in the family as you also have your own catering company..
Yes! I set up Siwgr Lwmp when I was on maternity leave 4 years ago. I was keen to develop a company that would around the kids. I’ve always enjoyed collecting tea sets and crockery, and I went on to do a food hygiene course. Siwgr Lwmp organises afternoon teas for private functions and events, and I bake everything after the kids have gone to bed. It’s been a busy year due to the fact that Merched y Wawr Cymru are celebrating their 50th birthday this year, and I’ve been going from one event to the next! Elsa loves coming with me on the weekends, she likes laying out the napkins and teaspoons and it’s great fun to have her on board.
What advice do you have for other Mums?
Mums need to be organised! Don’t waste anything, recycle everything from food containers to hangers. I keep lists for everything, from what needs to be in the swimming bags to what to take on holiday to my parent’s holiday cottage in Aberporth in the summer and winter seasons – there’s less thinking and less stress when you’re organised! At the end of every day I clean up all the toys too, having a tidy house helps me to relax. Another tip is to take a potty with you, it’s a blessing on long journeys, never mind how old the kids are.
What would be Sian Beca’s perfect day?
Staying in my parent’s cottage in Aberporth with my family. I’ve been staying there since I was a child and I love taking my husband, children and Nel the dog there as often as we can. I’d walk around the charity shops in Aberteifi, then we’d go for a family walk on the coastal path – with the kids on their scooters. Dinner in the Ship before returning to the cottage for a bottle of wine after the kids have gone to bed, Perfect!
Mam Cymru would like to thank Sian Beca for her time and for inspiring us to be more organised! Visit S4C’s CYW page for further information on Deian a Loli and to watch previous episodes.
By Heulwen Davies, Mam Cymru.