Page last updated at 10:08 GMT, Monday, 7 December 2009
Rhodri Morgan: Portrait of a First Minister

BBC Wales cameras followed Rhodri Morgan for his final year as first minister

As he steps down as the First Minister of Wales, viewers are offered a unique insight into the long-standing leader in a special one-off documentary.

Rhodri Morgan gave BBC Wales exclusive access during his final year in power.

The television portrait of one of Wales' most familiar faces delves much deeper than his usual appearances across the daily news.

Rhodri Morgan: Portrait of a First Minister is on BBC One Wales on 7 December at 10.35pm.

Rhodri Morgan and the Ryder Cup
Sporting life - Morgan is proud to help bring the Ryder Cup to Wales

From boosting Wales' profile through the Ryder Cup to an emotional official opening at Llandough Hospital - where he was admitted himself with a heart problem in 2007 - the film takes a closer look at how the Cardiff-born AM runs the country.

At home and at work, in Wales and abroad, BBC Wales' Gareth Jones gets behind the scenes and underneath the public image of Rhodri Morgan as he finishes his decade at the top of Welsh politics.

Professionally, he is not an emotional man and insists that he won't shed a tear at the end of his reign.

But emotions certainly run high when Welsh rugby is at stake and at the 2008 Wales v Australia autumn international, he is seen punching the air with joy at Wales' win.

"To be here now and able to award the winning trophy to the captain of Wales, and not the captain of Australia - when it could've gone either way that game, it was a real heartstopper," he said.

"It's such a privilege for me, I can tell you. If I was on my death bed now I could die happy."

Rhodri Morgan being interviewed in Cardiff Bay
Born: 29 Sept, 1939, Cardiff
Educated: Oxford, Harvard
Career: civil servant; Cardiff West MP 1987 - 2001; Cardiff West AM 1999 - 2009; Welsh first minister 2000 - 2009
Family: Married Julie, 1967, two daughters, one son
Quote: "Does a one-legged duck swim in circles?" (Winner of the Plain English Campaign's Foot in Mouth award)

There's no shortage of adrenalin in the job. The prospect of a billion people watching Wales' Ryder Cup event on TV in 2010 makes him a bit nervous, as does First Minister's Questions.

"It makes you slightly nervous, what might come up that you haven't thought about," he says.

"But then if you're not nervous, you're probably not going to perform."

There's much more to the First Minister than his day job. On Easter Sunday, at his static caravan retreat at Mwnt, near Cardigan, he shares his views on religion.

Morgan is proud of his non-conformist Welsh chapel heritage, but is now a rationalist.

He recalls the day when his grandmother - who was then in remission from cancer - demonstrated how much better she was feeling by doing some washing.

His aunt's reaction upset him deeply - she was horrified that someone would wash on a Sunday.

"It never crossed my mind. To me the big event was that my grandmother seemed to be getting better," he said.

"To my aunt, maybe the more important thing was that washing on a Sunday was something you just did not do. Something entered my mind then - is this religion really all it's cracked up to be?"

Rhodri Morgan: Portrait of a First Minister is on BBC One Wales on Monday 7 December at 10.35pm

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