Lost Boys & Fairies cast and creatives on the bold new series - "It's totally joyous, it's also absolutely heart-breaking - a real gut punch" (2024)

Published: 29 May 2024

Lost Boys & Fairies tells the fictional, tender, glittering story of Gabriel, a singer and artiste-extraordinaire at Cardiff’s queer club-space ‘Neverland’, his partner Andy and their journey to adoption. But Gabriel has a complex history and he will need to embark upon a journey of self-discovery before he can truly begin to parent 7-year old Jake.

Together with his partner, Andy, Gabe longs to adopt a child and to do so they must convince their social worker Jackie that they’re up to the task.

But Gabe is masking his demons: the effects of decades of shame having grown up in a society that overwhelmingly treated being gay as a sin; shame which Gabe is still processing.

Packed with songs, often used in surprising ways, Lost Boys & Fairies is a ‘coming of middle-age’ story, both bold and deeply heart-wrenching, filled to the brim with humour, redemption, and love.

Lost Boys & Fairies (3x60) is produced by Duck Soup Films for BBC One, BBC Cymru Wales and BBC iPlayer with support from Creative Wales.

The three-part series will be available in full on BBC iPlayer from 6am on Monday 3 June and airs on BBC One weekly from 9pm that night


Interview withDaf James(Creator, Writer, Music Director and Executive Producer)

How would you describe Lost Boys & Fairies?

I would describe Lost Boys & Fairies as a drama with music, that explores the themes of parents and children told against the backdrop of gay adoption, set in Cardiff.

It’s also a love story.

What inspired you to write it?

As with a lot of the stuff that I've written it's very personally inspired.

Though I draw from lived experience, I always adapt story. The themes and emotions resonate with my life but it’s not my autobiography; and roles like Andy, Emrys and Jake aren’t depictions of my family.

My husband and I first adopted eight years ago now. When we went through this process my world changed forever as a human, but also as an artist. I felt like I hadn't seen adoption represented authentically on screen, so it's something I feel really passionate about bringing to the television. That first year after adopting my kids was a challenging period because I went through so many emotions and feelings. My identity completely shifted; my frames of reference in this world shifted. I wanted to be able to put all of those things into a story.

How would you describe Gabriel and Andy's relationship? How did they first meet?

On the surface they're very different, I suppose – Gabriel is the artist, Andy is the accountant. They're incredibly understanding of each other. Andy is very stable, he's a rock and Gabriel needs that in his life. Gabe jokes about the moment when they first kissed in Neverland as the moment when Andy saved his life, because he was living a life of excess before they met.

But I would also say that Andy is attracted to Gabriel because Andy is also an artist in his soul. He's the homemaker, he is an extraordinary cook and baker, he has artistry in his fingers and in his heart. I think they bring out the best in each other.

Why have they decided they want to adopt?

They've decided to adopt a child because they've been together for a long time – eight years – and they've got what they consider to be a really stable relationship. Quite organically a space has opened up where they feel that they can share their love with somebody. Gabriel is conflicted about this, whether or not he's up to the challenge, which is part of the story.

What are the hurdles Andy and Gabriel face in their journey to adoption?

The brilliant thing about adoption is the people guiding the adoption process – the social services –want you to succeed. Children need homes, children need love, they need people to take them in. The assessment is from a child-centred perspective, it's to make sure that you are capable of taking on children where the likelihood is they've lived through trauma. It's ‘parenting plus’ in a way, if you're becoming a parent to an adopted child.

There's obviously a process that Gabriel and Andy have to go through. It's a personal process that makes you look and consider your own childhood, and the way that you were parented. In this story we see Gabriel facing a lot of the demons from his own past, his own childhood trauma that he hasn't processed yet. Going through this adoption process makes Gabriel look at himself, his relationship to his father, his relationship to who he was as a teenager and the things that he experienced there. That's all put under a magnifying glass, and those are the struggles that become challenging for him; in terms of whether or not he feels not only is he up to adopting a child, but whether or not he deserves to have a child. Gay shame has had that insidious effect on him: if as a child you’re constantly told by society that you are an abomination, often you grow up believing you don’t deserve to be loved or have a sense of self-worth.

Why is it important to tell a story like this?

It's important for me to put this story on screen because it's a queer, bilingual, Welsh/English drama about adoption on the BBC, which absolutely blows my mind. If somebody would have told me that as a kid that this kind of representation was going to be in the mainstream in this way, I wouldn't have believed it. This will be the most Welsh you’ve ever heard in a primetime BBC drama.

I think it's so important that we get to see these minority perspectives in the mainstream. It's my identity: I’m a queer, Welsh-speaking Dad. This is my normal.

But also, though it's a story about gay adoption specifically, I think these are themes that resonate with everyone. Everyone knows what it is to be a child. Many people contemplate if they want to become parents or not; and we've all been children to somebody.

Also, I'm a huge advocate for adoption, it's changed my life completely. If this story can encourage more people to look into it, I think that would be brilliant thing.

What are the key themes in Lost Boys & Fairies?

It's a show that looks at being a parent, parents and children. Beyond that, it's a show about identity, queerness, the Welsh language; and it’s a show about the diversity of love.

One of the other really crucial themes is one of trauma and shame - specifically gay shame. Thankfully we're living in a world now where gay people can adopt and get married. These are all things that when I was a kid, during the time of Section 28, I wouldn't have believed were even possible. When I got married to my husband, standing there was so deeply moving because we could now speak ‘the love that dare not speak its name’ in front of our community and family –our tribe – it was just extraordinary.

We exist in a space now where we feel relatively safe within our own communities. But it's easy to forget what it was like as a child growing up with the trauma of thinking you are an abomination. I was also very religious at the time, so when you grow up as a teenager thinking you are inherently evil or wrong and you can't share those thoughts, it has an insidious effect on who you are and what your identity becomes.

This is something I'm exploring with the character Gabriel - why he ends up in quite dark places and some of his behaviours. It's showing how toxic shame has had an impact on who he has become and his identity. And of course, when you become a parent, you are made to revisit who you are as a child. Certainly for me, when I first became a parent, all of this unprocessed stuff came out. I had to deal with it in order for me to be better equipped to deal with a child who themselves has lived through some incredible trauma. Gabriel needs to process his own trauma to be able to take on and deal with Jake's. This is how two ‘lost boys’ essentially find healing through each other and through the love that grows between the both of them.

How would you describe the tone and visual style of the series?

It's a drama but there's comedy in it. I think humour is very disarming, and you can take your audiences with you on a journey into emotional depths if you can make them laugh too. Music is also an incredibly important part of the show. Sometimes – as he sings in Neverland – the songs are like soliloquies for Gabriel, we get a sense of his interior world through them; sometimes the music spills out of the boundaries of the club and take on another form within the narrative. It's not a musical as such, but it is a drama with songs.

There's also a lot of magic realism in it. I come from a theatrical background – I'm also a playwright, composer and performer – so I've always loved finding playful ways to tell my stories. I've taken a lot of the qualities of magic realism I’ve explored in theatre and brought them into my TV writing. That’s because I think it makes for the most authentic depiction of life. We exist in both a concrete reality and an interior world simultaneously; and so, what we often experience is mundane and epic at the same time. In the same way, we can laugh and cry from one moment to the next in the most profound situations. When my mother died I keened so violently and loudly I started laughing at the same time because I was so surprised by the animalistic noise I was making.

How has musicinfluencedyou in writingthe Neverlandsequences?Dosongs help convey the character's inner struggles?

Music absolutely helps me write and always has. In fact, I would say because I'm a musician and a composer as well, I find writing scripts a musical experience. I tend to write them as pieces of music and that's why it's not just the words being said that matters to me, but the rhythm as well: the beat of dialogue, the pace of scene, the structure, or even how things are edited or cut together. I sense the structure of a script or a cut as a piece of music.

I've borrowed from the soundtrack to my life and I've brought that into Neverland. Musical punctuations help me to tell the story and to take the audience on an even more epic journey.

I composed the title song ‘Lost Boys & Fairies’ for a production of Peter Pan back in 2012 (and co-wrote the lyrics with playwright Robert Alan Evans). I’ve always wanted the song to have further life; the mood and essence of it is at the heart of the whole show.

What was it like working with the cast?

The cast are world-class. I can’t believe I have these tremendous actors performing my scripts. Sion and Fra’s chemistry is just astonishing, but all the performances have blown me away. In addition, there’s been something profoundly beautiful about Sion being cast as the lead. Sion’s first job, when he was still at drama school, was in my first play, a Welsh-language play called Llwyth (Tribe), which was also directed by Arwel who plays Berwyn (another beautiful coincidence). Sion played a young teenager, and the play was about five gay men on a night out in Cardiff. It wrestled with my queer and Welsh identity. It was the first queer Welsh-language play by a queer playwright. It went on to tour for two years and was hugely significant to me. So, to have Sion play the lead in this show, which has a direct line back to that is remarkable. We’ve grown-up creatively together. It meant that we had a short-hand and could be truly vulnerable with each other in the creative process. I can trust him with my soul, and I think he’s a staggering talent.

What can audiences expect from Lost Boys & Fairies?

I hope that audiences will be moved and entertained and that many will get a perspective on something they didn't know about before. As a writer I want to make my audience laugh, cry, and think. To feel and be entertained.

I hope the audience will fall in love with these characters and really care about what happens to them. Most of all I want them to be entertained. That's my job as a storyteller. It's a privilege to have this platform. I don't take that privilege lightly, I'm extremely grateful that I've had this opportunity.

What has it been like filming in Wales?

It’s been amazing filming in Wales. To film in my local area, and to have supporting artists from our local communities has been a way to show off Cardiff and Wales in all its glory. There’s been an astonishing shift that's happened in the last decades in terms of the industry in Wales with so many things being filmed in Cardiff, putting Wales on screen. Often, however, it's Wales standing in for somewhere else, but in this show Victoria Park is Victoria Park, Billy the seal - the statue in Victoria Park - is Billy the seal!

What advice would you give writers who want to draw on their own personal experience?

First of all, find your people. It's a vulnerable thing to be able to excavate your soul, excavate your past, and put it down on paper, then to share it.

I found my people with the producers, Duck Soup, and it's been the most beautiful process where I felt very safe all along the script writing process. The same happened when the BBC commissioners joined the journey and when we went into production. I feel very safe making this work. I was on set every day: it was a very collaborative, open, loving space.

I couldn't have asked for a greater director to make this work. James Kent led with such generosity and power, but also with total openness. He allowed my voice within that, it’s just been the most beautiful collaboration.

Because this is personally-inspired, finding a way of translating that into drama takes time. I think it's important to find a form that can hold your experience that isn't necessarily directly your experience. I've done that all through my writing career; my plays and radio plays often draw on my own experiences. All writers are different, of course, but writing for me is often a process of catharsis: I want to be able to work something out, process something in my past through giving it a structure. That helps me, and through being very personal, I'm hoping that it will resonate universally with a wider audience. It's taken me time to find a structure to hold my experiences in an adapted form.

Meet the Cast of Lost Boys & Fairies

Interview with Sion Daniel Young (Gabriel)

Lost Boys & Fairies cast and creatives on the bold new series - "It's totally joyous, it's also absolutely heart-breaking - a real gut punch" (1)

What can you tell us about Gabriel, the character you play in Lost Boys & Fairies?

Gabriel is who we follow through the story. He's got a lot of baggage and that plays a big part in this series in terms of the decisions and life choices that he has to navigate.

When we first meet Gabriel he and his partner Andy are sorting the house out, trying to get ready for their first adoption meeting. Gabriel's journey is massive. He is trying to keep certain things at bay that eventually come to the surface and have a real effect on both his life and his partner Andy's life.

What did you think of the scripts when you first read them?

The first time I read the scripts, I genuinely thought these are some of the best things I've ever read and I know a lot of people felt similarly. Daf has a way of making the images extremely clear so that I actually feel like I've seen the show already. His clarity is unbelievable, in the stage directions you get real visuals as to what he's seeing and what he's trying to get across. It makes it really easy to get invested in the story.

Why did you want this role? What hooked you in?

The main reason was my gut feeling after reading those scripts, because sometimes you read things and they don't necessarily chime with you but this one just felt just really special. Daf and I have known each other for a long time. To know that this story he's been working on for so long has got to the point where there's a script and I could read it, it just felt like a really lovely moment.

How would you describe Lost Boys & Fairies and the premise of the story?

I find it quite hard to describe because – and I know this gets said a lot, but – it genuinely does feel like there's a little bit of everything in this show. Daf has a way of doing that with his writing, with his stage work as well, he seems to be able to create these like completely full worlds where every character has their own unique journey. He manages to encapsulate so much stuff in everyone's narratives. I don't know if you can summarise it in a neat sentence, but I think Daf just creates a world that you fall in love with, with people that you really root for.

The show is Gabriel and Andy going through the adoption process and dealing with everything that comes with that. A lot of things in their pasts complicate their journey through this process. I think is a really amazing bit of storytelling and television.

Why you think this is an important story to tell?

I think it's an important story to tell because I think loads of people will feel like they're seeing themselves for maybe the first time on television. Daf's got a really unique voice and he's interested in stories that maybe haven't been told to the extent they should have previously. I think he likes to root for the outsider. I think he's managed to do that with this show. It's important because I think it'll move people. I think people will feel seen in this show in a way that they probably haven't in the past.

What are the themes of the story?

The show is mainly about this adoption process that Gabriel and Andy go on. But then Gabriel's world feels like a totally different thing, he works as a singer in a club and that's a really interesting side of the story. The performative element is really interesting and the show is the quite theatrical at times. Love, I think is the biggest theme, whether it's the absence of it or the presence of it.

How would you describe Gabe's relationship with Andy? How did they first meet?

Gabriel’s relationship with Andy is really beautiful, it feels really real. It's flawed, it's full of love, it's fiery. It just feels like a very real relationship. All those scenes between Gabriel and Andy will hopefully ring true because there's this real love behind everything the characters do - even though they clearly frustrate each other at times, mainly Gabriel for Andy!

Why do you think Gabriel and Andy have decided they want to adopt?

I think they've decided that they want to adopt because they've been together for a long time. They're at a point in their lives where they want a new chapter and that new challenge, they trust each other enough that they can do it together.

It's true, for Andy as well but I think it's mainly Gabriel, where in the adoption process a lot of things come to the surface that he's not dealt with in the past. These things sort of become roadblocks as he's trying to move forward through the process, it complicates things for both him and for Andy.

The character of Jackie (Elizabeth Berrington) becomes our social worker. She navigates us through the whole adoption process and tries to make sure that we stay open minded. Jackie guides us in the right direction. She's sort of our oracle.

Would you say Jackie becomes more than just a social worker to Gabriel and Andy?

Yes, absolutely. It becomes a really lovely personal relationship, especially for Gabriel. She becomes a real like guiding light for him.

What was Gabriel's and Andy's first reaction to Jake?

The thing I definitely think that Gabriel notices is there's a cheek to Jake, which I think they both really like. There is definitely a spark there that they don't necessarily have with some of the other children they've met in the process.

What's Gabriel's backstory and what's the relationship like with his father?

Gabriel's backstory is vast. He lost his mum when he was young, which has a massive effect on him, obviously. That has a really detrimental effect on his relationship with his dad, Emrys (William Thomas), who struggled to be as open as Gabriel needed him to be. They were constantly butting heads and seeing things very differently as Gabriel was growing up. Gabriel then goes to music college in London and lives a very kind of problematic life in London for a while. These are the roots of the issues that later come up as he's trying to go through the adoption process. I think he hopes that as he's getting older his relationship with his dad will mend itself. It doesn't and he realises it's something that is going to take a lot of work. The question is whether he feels he can get to that point or not.

Can you describe the Neverland venue featured in the story, the performances and the people who go there?

Neverland is the club that Gabriel performs at, and there's plenty of other performers there - comedians, dancers, drag acts, singers and all sorts. It's a fully inclusive, open, beautiful Babylon-y, Moulin Rouge-y, amazing club where everyone feels like they're welcome. The set itself genuinely had that feeling between the cast, supporting artists and everybody. It was a really special filming location for a week, really wonderful.

How did you find those performance scenes?

Performing the songs, it is a different world. I think that's what is really nice about this show - the theatrical element and the performative side, and then the more domestic stuff. In terms of filming the performances it's all storytelling. All the songs are there for a reason, they're part of Gabriel's journey.

I enjoyed those scenes more than I thought I would actually. I really enjoyed the world we all created with the costumes. The energy that we had to Neverland was really special and made all the performance scenes really fun. Those scenes went to a different side of Gabriel because he himself isn't massively performative, but then that becomes his outlet. When he's performing at Neverland that's his way of expressing himself, dealing with and processing things, he does that through song.

What have the costumes been like?

I have a wide range of performance costumes Gabriel makes himself, which is just really skilful. He describes himself not as a drag queen, but as a performer. His costumes aren't classic drag, they're more like works of art. It's just him expressing himself through fabric. The contrast between those performance outfits and his domestic side is that the performance ones aren't comfortable at all but they serve an aesthetic purpose that he wants.

Where is the series set?

Lost Boys & Fairies is set in Cardiff. We have scenes in Welsh and that's a very true representation of my life growing up in Cardiff. My relationships with people exist in Welsh, English and in both together going in between the two. That feels really genuine because I know that's how Daf and I have always communicated.

What is it about the show that will excite audiences?

I think the thing that will excite audiences is that it feels like we're telling a new story. Daf has a really unique voice, his way of storytelling is genuinely unlike anyone else's. He sees the world in a magical way and the music is intertwined with all of that.

What makes Lost Boys & Fairies a ‘must see’?

I think it's got a little something for everyone. I also think it's going to take people by surprise because I don't think people will foresee the journey that the characters go on. It's totally joyous, it's also absolutely heart-breaking - a real gut punch. But I just think people will root for the characters and will want to go on that journey with them, as troublesome as it can be later on down the line.

Interview with Fra Fee (Andy)

Lost Boys & Fairies cast and creatives on the bold new series - "It's totally joyous, it's also absolutely heart-breaking - a real gut punch" (2)

How would you describe the show?

Lost Boys & Fairies follows Gabriel and Andy as they go through the adoption process – the joys, trials, difficulties and experiences of going through that process.

How would you describe Andy?

Andy is Gabriel's very lovely, very sweet and perhaps a bit more sensible partner. He is an accountant who lives life a little bit more on the ‘straight and narrow’ which very much is in counterpart to Gabriel's excessive, colourful lifestyle. He is sensible, pragmatic, responsible, caring, loving and is very keen to pass on or to use those qualities when thinking about becoming a father.

Where do we meet Andy at the start of the series?

At the very beginning of the story Andy and Gabriel are being interviewed by Jackie, their social worker (Elizabeth Berrington), at the very first stage of the process of going through the adoption. They have been together for eight years and decided this is what they want to do next. Arguably, Andy is perhaps a little bit more further along that journey than Gabriel, but they've ultimately decided to go through with it. Then the audience gets to see a lot of flashbacks to give a little bit of context as to how the pair managed to get to this point in the story.

What can you tells us about Andy’s journey?

Andy is, happily for me, from Northern Ireland, which is very convenient. Andy and his mum Sandra (Maria Doyle Kennedy) have moved to Cardiff at some point in his childhood, leaving behind a messy marriage. He has spent the rest of his life in Cardiff with his mum. Then he met Gabriel and became completely transfixed by this utterly magnetic, amazing person, personality and performer, and he wants to create a family with him. I think in part because of his more broken childhood he's trying to perhaps put pieces back together that were broken when he was a kid. He wants to be the father that he never had.

How would you describe Andy and Gabriel’s relationship?

I think Andy and Gabriel's relationship is a fascinatingly beautiful one because on first notice one wouldn't necessarily put the two of them together. They're both very much individuals. Gabriel being a lot more obviously individual, effervescent, outgoing. Andy isn't necessarily those things in public, but I believe in their private life they have this amazing chemistry. Like so many couples they have like a secret language and a secret way of being with each other, which is completely at ease and beautiful.

They serve different functions in their relationship, I would say for sure. Andy is a lot more pragmatic, responsible and perhaps enjoys mothering Gabriel. In the story it is suggested because he has abandonment issues, issues from his childhood, which makes perfect sense, but he does gets a thrill out of it. I think he really enjoys doing the DIY and the cooking; nurturing, sharing and caring - all of the qualities that would make him a wonderful father ultimately. Gabriel - although being caring, loving and nurturing - provides those things in a slightly different way.

How would you describe the Neverland venue, the performances and people that go there?

Gabriel is a performance artist, it's not quite drag, it’s a lot more to do with his artistry, music and fashion. He works at a place called Neverland, which unfortunately isn't an actual club in Cardiff but it really should be. Neverland is amazing and absolutely wonderful, the set was unbelievable. It's a place in which everyone is invited, everyone has a free pass to this place. It's so free and liberating, colourful and noisy, it's just fantastic.

How do the musical and theatrical scenes compare to the more dramatic scenes? Which musical scene has been your favourite?

There is an amazing musical element to this story because, of course, Gabriel is a performer. That aspect of his life is beautifully and amazingly realised in the in the telling of it. We have these realistic performances where we cut to Gabriel performing at Neverland, but we also have moments in which the musical part of telling this story is a fantasy, imaginative moment. This is great because it means that I get to take part because Andy is not a performer, he's not a musical person but he can be in Gabriel's imagination.

We shot this amazing musical number for the beginning of episode two in Neverland which was It's Getting Better by Mama Cass. Andy got to wear something slightly more interesting than his usual garb. We had dancers and drag queens and lots of glitter and sparkle – it was just amazing.

Where is the series set? What qualities does the setting bring to the series?

Lost Boys & Fairies is set in Cardiff, Wales, where the writer Daf James is from. This story is partly inspired by his and his partner's experience going through adoption, so it was very important for him to have the geographical elements of the story told authentically. It's extremely helpful, certainly for me as an actor, being able to logically have a blueprint of where these things happen. Cardiff is such a gorgeous small city, even now I'm walking past places thinking that's where Andy and Gabriel kissed, it's nice to be able to visually see these actual places. It all boils down to being authentic and I think that's what we've managed to achieve.

I loved filming in Wales, I knew Cardiff quite well because I actually used to visit there quite a bit in my late teens when I came to sing with Welsh National Youth Opera. We did a few operas there every summer. Coming back to film here 15 years later it's changed quite a bit, but I absolutely love it. I find it quite similar to Belfast, being an old shipping working class city. It's got a lot of the similar qualities, the people are really friendly and accommodating. It's nice to bump into the same people when you go out for a walk, it's got a lovely community spirit.

What are the key themes of the show?

I think ultimately Lost Boys & Fairies is a love story, not in the typical ‘rom com’ sense, although there is a lot of that going on. I think it encompasses the term love on so many levels - the effect of the love between Andy and Gabriel, the love they have for their parents, and the love that they are harbouring that they want to pass on to someone else.

What is it about the show that will excite audiences?

I'm very excited for audiences to see this. I think it's a really, beautiful story. I think people will really respond to getting a unique insight into the amazing thing that adopting a child is. And apart from that we've got colour, music and dance, fantasy and everything mixed in between.

Interview with Elizabeth Berrington (Jackie)

What did you think of the scripts when you first read them?

The scripts are so much fun. They were really emotional, very truthful. Some of the storylines are partly inspired by life experiences of our writer Daf James, so they're really embedded in the truth. But there's also a fantasy element side to the character of Gabriel. There is lots of music and colour, lots to explore.

What can you tell us about your character, Jackie?

My character is called Jackie and she is a social worker. She is the lady who's going to take Gabriel and Andy on their journey towards finding a child and becoming a family. She's very experienced and has done this many times before so they're in safe hands when they meet Jackie.

What kind of journey does Jackie go on through the story?

Jackie, is a professional. When we first meet her, she's meeting Gabriel and Andy for the first time and doing her job, which she's very good at. But she really gets very connected to them. They’re expressive and creative, she gets quite personally involved with their journey. By the end of the series she's made friends and she's part of their new family world that they've created.

What made you want to be part of Lost Boys & Fairies?

I was delighted to be part of Lost Boys & Fairies because the scripts are so colourful and emotional, and the world of the story is hugely diverse. It's very exciting, very young, and it's just really brilliant to be part of that kind of storytelling.

What does Leo bring to the role and what's it been like working with such a young actor?

Leo is the perfect little boy to play the role of Jake - the young man in the show who is up for adoption. He is a very naturalistic actor. He's truthful and that's absolutely what you want when you're working with younger actors and children on a show. He's charming and gorgeous.

What makes this story special?

What makes the show so special and important is because this is a dramatised exploration about the journey of a same sex couple adopting a child; there’s many same sex couples who adopt children in the UK and it might not be something that our audience are aware or aware of. There is really great success for children who are adopted into same sex couples and that's a really exciting thing for the audience to know about. It's lovely to be part of that discussion.

What's it been like filming in Wales for you?

I love filming in Wales, it feels like a second home to me. I’ve filmed here many times before for various different shows. I come from a town called Wallasey on the Wirral, which is very close to North Wales, so as children we’d go to Anglesey. There's lots of very happy memories about being in beautiful Wales.

What are the key themes of the story?

I would say the key themes in Lost Boys & Fairies are love, personal redemption, courage and friendship.

What do you think it is about the show that will excite audiences when watching?

The show is a great drama because it is full of love, and loss, and excitement. There's also music and sparkles, a window into many worlds that our audience might currently be unfamiliar with and that's really exciting.

Why is this drama a must-see?

The show is a must see if you like an emotional roller coaster. If you like to have a giggle and a cry and a singalong, then it's for you.

What have been your highlights working on the series?

My highlights of working on the show have been to meet Daf James, our writer who's just such a bundle of energy, very kind and generous. One of the other things I really loved about the show is the world of Neverland, which has been created so beautifully by the art department. Stepping into this very diverse glorious world with all of our lovely actors and supporting artists, it's just been such a thrill.

Interview with Arwel Gruffydd (Berwyn / Fanny Ample)

Lost Boys & Fairies cast and creatives on the bold new series - "It's totally joyous, it's also absolutely heart-breaking - a real gut punch" (4)

How would you describe the Lost Boys & Fairies?

It's a story about a 30-something gay man who, along with his partner, puts himself forward to be an adoptive father. It's about his journey through that process, and during that process he goes on quite a journey of discovery and ultimately redemption. On that journey he discovers stuff about himself that he was perhaps unaware of or less aware of, stuff that he has to sort out before he becomes an effective parent. It's about that journey for a gay man who wants to be a father. It's a contemporary story, a story for our time, and it's a story that celebrates diversity and queerness in all its many guises.

What did you think of the scripts when you first read them?

When I first read the scripts I thought that they were quite amazing in the way that they took the audience on sometimes quite a challenging journey and sometimes a very joyous journey, the way that tragedy and comedy interweave so fluidly. One minute I was laughing, the next minute I was bawling my eyes out.

Can you describe your character, Berwyn?

I play Berwyn, but he does have an alter ego - Fanny Ample. Berwyn is a drag queen. He is, like myself, from North West Wales. A first language Welsh speaker who moved to London in the eighties it's a little bit like playing myself, I find a lot of myself in the character, which is great. He's also the owner and manager of a fictitious nightclub in Cardiff called Neverland, where Fanny Ample his alter ego is the maître d'. He’s best friends to the character of Gabriel. Because Gabriel lost his mother at a young age, Berwyn sort of falls into a slightly parental role. There's this multilayered relationship going on between them. I guess for fans of Tales of the City he's a bit of a Mrs. Madrigal kind of character - he's older than a lot of the other characters, he's been there, done that, bought the t-shirt and is a wise old queen. In the club we see him cast a parental eye over the tribe that frequent the club and its many entertainers, including Gabriel.

How does Berwyn feel about Gabriel and Andy trying to adopt a child?

Berwyn is delighted that they are trying to adopt a child. He is always supportive of Gabriel, and he knows that Gabriel needs to go on something of a journey perhaps in order to become an effective parent. Berwyn is so excited about it and so looking forward to being a ‘grandmother’.

What makes this story special?

I feel very much represented in this story. It celebrates queerness, it celebrates gay adoption. It's a very contemporary story, there's something very authentic about it, something very true and honest. It doesn't give us a sugar-coated view of what it means to be queer today, and certainly not a sugar-coated view about what it means to be a parent - or a gay parent today.

Can you describe the Neverland venue and the performances and the people that go there?

Neverland is a fantastical place. I just so wish this club existed, I'd be there every weekend. It's kind of where Moulin Rouge meets RuPaul's Drag Race. It's the Kit Kat Club with a bit of grunge thrown in. And even though it's a bit garage-y, it's still dripping in glitterballs and sequins. It’s rough around the edges but it's the coolest club imaginable. It's a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ people of all kinds of identities.

What was it like performing the musical sequences in Neverland, and how do they compare to the more dramatic scenes?

The story takes us to very different places - we've got very domestic scenes in the house and on the streets in Cardiff, and we go to this wonderful club that is Neverland to relax, to have fun, to celebrate being LGBTQ+ today. An important aspect of that is the musical sequences. We see Gabriel performing many times, with Fanny in the audience casting a parental eye over him.

What have the costumes been like and what's been your favourite to wear?

I've enjoyed wearing Berwyn’s costumes, he wears what he likes really. He's very much in touch with his feminine side and I enjoyed the conversations with Andrew, the costume designer. The final thing we would do is choose some rings or jewellery for Berwyn. Before I walked onto set I’d ask ‘is this right?’, and Andrew always used to say ‘Berwyn will wear whatever he wants, if you fancy it, go for it’, and I love that. Berwyn is not afraid to wear whatever he likes.

When Berwyn is Fanny Ample then he's a traditional drag queen - top to tail sequins, big wigs and glamour makeup. I've lost count how many wigs and how many dresses Fanny Ample has and how many I was wearing in a day when we're shooting those club scenes. I've never done drag before and it's been quite a personal discovery for me. I've so enjoyed all the costumes, they just look so amazing. It's been kind of empowering really, putting on that sequined frock, the big wig and high heels, the really tall stiletto shoes. It's difficult to let go of Fanny, out of all the characters I have ever played in my career I don't want to leave her behind. It's been quite a journey for me personally, actually.

What qualities do you think the setting brings to the series?

One of the aspects that's troubling Gabriel, with regards to his own identity is his identity as a Welsh speaker, as well as a gay man and going through the whole adoption process. He's almost a minority within a minority. In the way stories like Bend It Like Beckham or My Beautiful Laundrette explore the idea of being gay or part of the LGBTQ+ community from another minority community perspective, or another marginalized cultural perspective, Lost Boys & Fairies does the same thing but from the perspective of a Welsh speaker.

What are the key themes within the drama?

Obviously gay adoption is a very important theme in the show. I think the idea of gay shame also plays a really important part - the way that Gabriel has to exorcize himself of that gay shame in order to become an effective father. I think that's a really important story to tell because I don't think I've ever seen gay shame being tackled in such an honest, upfront way before on television, without it being very political, dry or actually too dark. The way Lost Boys & Fairies tells the story, or the journey, the kind of cleansing of gay shame in a very joyous and celebratory way is quite a triumph.

What have been your highlights of working on Lost Boys & Fairies?

The highlights for me have been the scenes in Neverland, the drag scenes I was part of. Dragging up has been an absolute joy. I'll never forget the feeling of inclusivity and joy that I felt in those Neverland scenes, we worked with the LGBTQ+ community in Cardiff as supporting artists. To be in a club, or the set of a nightclub, with all these people who are able to celebrate who we are in this space, even though it was an imaginary space, I just felt the joy in the room. That was quite a moving and quite a profound experience. I so wish this club existed, but it exists in this show and we can enjoy being part of it as an audience, hopefully as I certainly enjoyed being part of it as a cast member.

Interview with Sharon D Clarke (Claire)

Lost Boys & Fairies cast and creatives on the bold new series - "It's totally joyous, it's also absolutely heart-breaking - a real gut punch" (5)

Who do you play in Lost Boys & Fairies?

I play Claire, Jake’s foster mother.

How would you describe the series?

The story follows two young gay men who want to adopt a child, and it's about their journey with that subject. With Gabriel, it's about his journey of finding, accepting and loving himself, which then enables him to love Jake.

What did you think about the scripts when you first read them?

I absolutely loved it, I thought this is a story that I want to be a part of telling. The fact that it is a story about the rainbow community, that it's about adoption, that it's partly in the Welsh language. I'm really proud to be a part of this story.

How would you describe your character?

Claire is a little bit mischievous, she's very warm and vocational. She has fostered over 400 children. This is something that is a calling for her, something that she takes very seriously and is her joy.

Where do we meet Claire at the start of the series?

We first meet Claire when she meets Gabriel and Andy. They have taken an interest in Jake at an adoption event. Claire comes along to inform them of who Jake is and what he's like – and to suss out who these ‘could be, would be’ dads are. She kind of teases them when she first meets them to just set them a little bit off kilter and to see how they handle it, but she thinks they're good people.

What can you tell us about Claire's journey?

Claire's journey throughout the show is just one of making sure that Jake is going to be okay, and that Andy and Gabriel will be okay with him. I think it's hard for Claire in a way because she's probably had Jake the longest, he's probably been with her about two, nearly three years. She actually says in the script if she didn't have six children already she would adopt him. She has spent a great deal of time and effort getting this young man to be himself, to fulfil his full potential and to not be afraid of life - and especially of men because of the relationship he's had with his father. She loves him and she says it's going to break my heart when he leaves, she means that, she's grown very fond of him and he is, at the moment, a part of her family.

Can you describe Claire and Jake's relationship?

Claire loves Jake, she spent a lot of time with him. Claire's relationship with Jake is that for her, Jake is her biggest achievement, her biggest breakthrough. All her years of working with children really feels like it has culminated in Jake and how he has turned himself around from this frightened little kid who is hiding underneath the sofa. He's a funny kid, very witty. She makes him laugh, he makes her laugh. He's very loving, one of the things that Claire says is that she will miss his cuddles. I think they have a very strong relationship. She has made a breakthrough with him in the way that I think she's so proud of. I think they have a very good relationship, she's able to calm him when he needs to be calmed. He feels safe in her house, in her company with her family. She's very proud of that, she will look back on this thinking Jake got a great start here.

What does Leo (Jake) bring to the character, and how has it been working with him?

Leo is a typical boy child, he's into his computer games, he's funny on set. He's very much a rambunctious kid but he's also very sensitive. On camera he has a stillness and there is an innocence about the way that he plays Jake. He doesn't play him with a knowing quality. Everything is very fresh, and he's a very still performer. When he's on camera he's very focused, centred, very natural.

What was it like filming in Wales?

I have filmed before in Wales so it was like coming home. My best friend, my brother Damian, is Welsh and so I've been coming down to Cardiff, Dinas Powys and Penarth since I was about 18. It's been a chance to connect with my family again in a way.

What are the key themes of Lost Boys & Fairies?

The key themes, I would say, are love, finding yourself, finding family, and finding a way of being true to who you are.

Why is this show a ‘must see’?

This show is a must see because there's nothing like it. There's no story like this being told in this way and I think for that reason it needs to be seen. It's a really important message and a really important story that's being told.

Interview with William Thomas (Emrys)

How would you describe the character of Emrys?

He’s in his seventies, very staid and fairly religious. He’s not a very communicative man. He’s very insular and I think he’s quite happy with this. I don’t think he interacts greatly with other people and he especially struggles to communicate with and understand his son Gabriel. He hasn’t been able to forge a relationship with him.

What can you tell us about Emrys’ journey through the series?

The journey is quite a rocky one in the sense that he doesn’t have a very good relationship with his son, particularly through his teens and later early twenties. I think he’s quite disappointed that his son has rejected his musical abilities by leaving music college early and going off to do his own thing. I think that disappointed Emrys greatly. He’s been a widower since Gabriel was quite a young child so basically he has single-handedly raised Gabriel.

What does Emrys think about Gabriel and Andy trying to adopt a child?

I think at first he was a little staid with the idea and wasn’t fully onboard. He couldn’t quite understand what was happening and why they wanted to adopt. He’s a bit old fashioned in that respect. He doesn’t quite understand the world in which he’s a part of now, he hasn’t quite got a handle on it really. He doesn’t seem to be part of any community in the sense that he lives on his own and is very isolated, figuratively and geographically. He’s kind of cut himself off. He’s fairly religious and devout in a sense, so anything out of the ordinary like his son and his partner wanting to adopt just isn’t a part of his world.

Has the relationship between Emrys and Gabriel changed since Gabriel was a child?

I think the relationship has changed greatly. They were a very happy family unit when his wife was alive and it was the three of them. There was a lot of dancing and singing, particularly on family holidays. But then his wife passed away when Gabriel was a young child and I think that soured him in a sense and made him become withdrawn and into himself. He really didn't want to take a great deal of care over his son after that. I think he must have gone through the motions of providing food, money, etc and making sure his son was well turned out but I don’t think there was a great deal of love and affection there.

What makes this story so special and important?

I think that the elements of two people trying to adopt makes it interesting and special because I don’t think a lot of people realise the number of hoops that you have to jump through before you’re even considered for adoption. Adoption is a long, long process.

Interview with James Kent (Director)

Lost Boys & Fairies cast and creatives on the bold new series - "It's totally joyous, it's also absolutely heart-breaking - a real gut punch" (6)

How would you describe the premise of Lost Boys & Fairies?

I would describe Lost Boys & Fairies as a gay adoption story. It's a beautiful story about two young men and their struggle to adopt a child in the current world.

What was it like collaborating with the writer Daf James?

My collaboration with the writer Daf James has been extraordinary. We've seen eye to eye on almost everything. I find his tone so unique, it's both moving and funny, profound and shocking. He tells the world as he sees it, it's very authentic and also, in a way, kind of fantastical. You have these incredible flashbacks throughout the piece which give it colour, texture and a lot of information about the character of Gabriel.

What was it like shooting the musical sequences of the series? Did they pose a challenge, and how long did they take to rehearse?

I'm a huge fan of musicals and to find that there were music sequences in Lost Boys & Fairies was a great joy to me. Daf is extremely musical as a writer, his background is music and theatre. The two of us together working on which songs, how they would be done was both a real challenge and a great joy. What was a real revelation was hearing Sion sing. Seeing Gabriel on screen in Neverland, having those quite elaborate performances performed by a drag artist, it was really moving to see that happening.

Was it important to balance the comedic and dramatic moments within the series?

I think capturing Daf's unique tone - the poignant, tragic and I think in a way quite shocking moments - that was the biggest challenge for me as the director. I didn't want to let that side of the script down because I think that's what drew people to the story. But I think also casting actors who imbue those characteristics like Sion, Fra, Leo and Elizabeth, they captured the tone and had an instinctive ability to understand it. That made my life much, much easier.

What makes this story so special and important?

I'm a gay director and I think it's incredibly important to show the world that gay men and women are as capable of being a loving parents, just like heterosexual couples. But also that gay men and women have the right to be loving parents, to have parental needs. They have a drive to be parents and lots of children out there desperately need loving parents. So, to have that message at the heart of Lost Boys & Fairies was for me as a gay director, a very powerful thing to be putting out into the world.

What is it about this series which will excite audiences?

I think Lost Boys & Fairies will be exciting for audiences because they'll see this incredible tone that Daf James has - fun, and tragedy, and poignancy, all within the same storyline. To see this drag artist Gabriel and his life as a performer on stage, it's immensely colourful and larger than life, so I think that's very exciting. And to see the quality of the performances, not least from Leo as Jake, it's a really wonderful performance, and one that he really grew into as shooting went on.

What have been your highlights shooting the series?

For me, I would say the biggest highlight was walking into the club Neverland, seeing what our wonderful designer Keith Dunn had done with that old derelict Custom House – turning it into a kind of sanctuary, if you like, for the gay community in our story. I was very moved and blown away by the gorgeousness of that space and putting Sion as Gabriel on that stage in his incredible costumes and hearing that really beautiful voice, sing those ballads. I think that was a really, really powerful moment for me.

Key Cast

Sion Daniel Young - Gabriel

Fra Fee - Andy

Elizabeth Berrington - Jackie

Sharon D Clarke - Claire

Emrys - William Thomas

Maria Doyle Kennedy - Sandra

Arwel Gruffydd - Berwyn / Fanny Ample

Shaheen Jafargholi - Celyn

Leo Harris - Jake

Mali Ann Rees - Llinos

Gwyneth Keyworth - Becky


Creator, Writer, Music Director and Executive Producer: Daf James

Director and Executive Producer: James Kent

Executive Producers for Duck Soup Films: Rebekah Wray-Rogers, Jessica Brown Meek, Libby Durdy, Sophie Francis

Executive Producers for BBC and BBC Cymru Wales: Jo McClellan, Nick Andrews

Producer: Adam Knopf

Director of Photography: Philipp Haberlandt

Editor: Danielle Palmer

Casting Director - Lauren Evans

Production Designer - Keith Dunne

Costume Designer - Andrew Cox

Make-up Designer - Emma Cowen

Composer: Peter Gregson


Lost Boys & Fairies cast and creatives on the bold new series - "It's totally joyous, it's also absolutely heart-breaking - a real gut punch" (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rueben Jacobs

Last Updated:

Views: 6273

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rueben Jacobs

Birthday: 1999-03-14

Address: 951 Caterina Walk, Schambergerside, CA 67667-0896

Phone: +6881806848632

Job: Internal Education Planner

Hobby: Candle making, Cabaret, Poi, Gambling, Rock climbing, Wood carving, Computer programming

Introduction: My name is Rueben Jacobs, I am a cooperative, beautiful, kind, comfortable, glamorous, open, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.