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CROESO in association with First Cymru
29 February - 3 March

BBC’s new film Men Up, which was recently broadcast on BBC One, explores the lives of five ordinary Welshmen who embark on an extraordinary journey when they take part in the trial of a new drug which would later become Viagra.

The story

The drug’s abilities to reach the parts other drugs couldn’t reach were discovered when Pfizer was testing Sildenafil as a treatment for high blood pressure and angina in Merthyr Tydfil, with participating ex miners and steelworkers getting a little embarrassed in reporting that they were getting more and harder erections than usual.

Pfizer decided to test the drug with patients experiencing erectile dysfunction leading to the clinical trials at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital in 1994, which included men with diabetes and heart disease, as the side effects of these conditions can include erectile dysfunction.

Men Up mixes drama with humour to tell a beautiful story of a group of unassuming men dealing with the challenge of erectile dysfunction and its impact on their relationships, leading them to ‘man up’ and face some hard truths to reclaim their lives.

Leading the cast

Leading the cast of outstanding Welsh talent are Iwan Rheon (Wolf, Game of Thrones, Misfits), Aneurin Barnard (Dunkirk, The Pact), Phaldut Sharma (Sherwood, Romantic Getaway), Paul Rhys (A Discovery of Witches, Rellick), Steffan Rhodri (House of the Dragon, Temple), Mark Lewis Jones (Gangs of London, The Phantom of the Open), and Joanna Page (Gavin & Stacey, Dolittle).

Whilst we may be biased, we think the stunning locations of Swansea and the wider south Wales region play an equally starring role in telling this remarkable story inspired by true events.

Beautiful locations, but don’t just take our word…

“I’ve filmed a lot of cycling on the Mumbles which has been nice, there’s worse places! It’s great – I love working in Wales.”
Iwan Rheon

“It’s brilliant to film in these beautiful locations… It adds another element to this story, and it’s all rooted in its community and who these people are; it’s like another character.”
Alex Roach

Here’s some of the Swansea Bay locations that feature in the film…

Swansea Prom – the sequences of Meurig (Iwan Rheon) cycling along the prom throughout the film are beautiful. ///soccer.create.gift

Gloucester Place, Mumbles – the setting for Meurig’s home. Look out for the dancers in the street! ///talents.swims.direction

Langland Bay – Langland’s iconic beach huts provide a stunning backdrop for the heart-to-heart conversation between Tommy (Paul Rhys) and his partner Rhys (Nathan Sussex). ///variety.beaters.prowling

Pantycelyn Road, Townhill – Meurig chats with his pal Leigh (Dyfan Dwyfor) and even on a rainy day our ‘ugly, lovely town … crawling, sprawling … by the side of a long and splendid curving shore’ is quite special. ///demand.native.pouch

Guildhall, Swansea – it’s been many things on screen, including Whitehall, but never a police station, until now. ///paid.shady.shout

Mumbles Pier – setting for one of the film’s closing scenes when four of the men reflect on the journey they’ve been on together. ///earmarked.travels.linked

Watch Men Up

Men Up is currently available to watch in the UK on BBC iPlayer.

Swansea Council’s Destination Management and Marketing team provided advice and assistance to the production team, facilitating filming at the locations in the city.

For more information about filming in Swansea Bay, please visit www.swansea.gov.uk/film.