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Michael Sheen on why making an explosive new drama in his home town was a bruising experience…


Michael Sheen likens his TV directorial debut to getting into the ring with a heavyweight boxer. 

Mike Tyson says everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth, and I felt like I had a plan but was then punched in the mouth several times,’ laughs Michael, whose three-part drama The Way, about a family on the run in South Wales, comes to BBC1 this week.

‘Weirdly though, I also enjoyed it. It gave me the chance to be part of a story set and filmed in my home town of Port Talbot and it afforded me a power I don’t get as an actor. When people came up to me during filming with 100 questions, I had a wonderful feeling of importance.’

The Way is the gritty story of the dysfunctional Driscoll family – Geoff, Dee and grown-up children Owen and Thea – who have to put aside their differences and flee Port Talbot after getting caught in a civil uprising when the local steelworks is threatened with closure.

But it also has fantastical elements. Watch out for a medieval monk in a red robe and the ghost of miner Denny Driscoll. ‘There are supernatural elements because it’s about a family who are haunted by their troubled pasts,’ says Michael, who’s best known for movies such as Frost/Nixon and the TV hit Good Omens.

Michael Sheen (pictured) makes his directorial debut with The Way, a three-part drama airing on BBC1 this week

Michael Sheen (pictured) makes his directorial debut with The Way, a three-part drama airing on BBC1 this week 

‘It does address some dark and serious issues but it’s also colourful, vivid and full of humour – some of the qualities I associate with the community I come from.’

It was access all areas when the drama was filmed in Port Talbot last year – except in one part of town. ‘Forge Street was off limits because there’s a mural of Michael on a wall there,’ says Steffan Rhodri (Geoff). ‘It’s a tribute to a town legend who’s adored.’

Michael jokes, ‘I tried my best to get the mural on film but I couldn’t manage it!’

The dysfunctional Driscoll family must flee Port Talbot after getting caught in a civil uprising when the local steelworks is threatened with closure

The dysfunctional Driscoll family must flee Port Talbot after getting caught in a civil uprising when the local steelworks is threatened with closure

  • The Way, Monday, 9pm, BBC1 and BBC iPlayer.



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