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Last Updated:  Friday, 14 March, 2003, 18:04 GMT
Sali Mali's countryside move
Sali Mali with children
Sali Mali could soon have her own village
A popular children's series could provide mid Wales with its first TV-based theme park.

Part of the sleepy village of Blaenpennal, near Tregaron in Ceredigion, will be the permanent location for a Welsh-language TV series based on the character Sali Mali.

But the owners of the site want to develop the set into a permanent tourist attraction catering for visitors when the location is not being used for filming.

The 1m venture is the brainchild of author Ifana Savill who wrote the S4C children's series Caffi Sali Mali, and will also create the new 52-episode soap for pre-school children called Pentre Bach (Little Village)

People could come to stay when the set is not being used for filming
Ifana Savill, writer

There are plans to renovate old buildings on farmland owned by Ifana's family, as well as adapting a row of houses and the former village post office as part of the set.

"We developed the concept of establishing a TV village where people could come to stay when the set is not being used for filming," said Ifana, who also works for the Welsh Books Council in Aberystwyth.

"We hope the village will be able to offer holiday accommodation for families or even a residential Welsh learners' centre located in an area where Welsh is very much the language of the community."

According to Ms Savill, the local community sees the venture as a major boost to the local economy.

Ifana Savill
Series writer Ifana Savill is behind the idea

"One farmer is training a cow to take part in the series and I want to show children about shearing and milking in other episodes," she said.

Her husband Adrian said preliminary discussions were under way on the project with the Welsh Development Agency, Wales Tourist Board and Ceredigion County Council about the plans.

"We want to make this a Portmeirion for children. At the moment the buildings are not in a good state and the project could cost up to a million pounds," he added.

Sali Mali and her friends including Jac y Jwc have been a hit with children since they first appeared in a series of books written by Mary Vaughan Jones in the late 1960s.

The first batch of 13 episodes of Pentre Bach will be filmed at Blaenpennal in April 2004.

BBC Wales' Steve Jones
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