Baglan’s Michael Sheen appears on BBC One tonight to present a documentary about the effect of the steel crisis on Port Talbot.
The Hollywood actor returns to his hometown to see for himself the impact hundreds of job losses at the steelworks is having on families.
The documentary entitled Michael Sheen: The Fight for My Steel Town, follows the news at the beginning of the year, when TATA announced 750 job losses; and two months later, the sale of its UK business.
Over the past five months, Sheen has been following the stories of people in the town who are affected by the steel crisis. In the documentary, he meets workers who’ve lost their jobs, businesses who fear for their future, and families whose lives have been turned upside down.
The actor, who has often used his profile to shine a spotlight on issues affecting Port Talbot, has said the steelworks played a “huge part” in his life. As a boy he would play football in the shadow of the plant. His mother, Irene, worked there as a junior secretary in the early 1960s; his father, Meyrick, was employed by an engineering firm which did work on the site.
Concerned for the future of Port Talbot, Sheen stresses the need for a plan for the town.
“We’ve seen in the valley communities here, in the de-industrialised post-mining era, that the communities have just been left, they feel abandoned, they feel forgotten.
“We can’t let that happen to this town. There has to be an alternative, no matter what happens to the steelworks, there has to be some kind of safety net for these people and this community because if it can happen here – a place that has been the heart of the British industry for so long – then it could happen anywhere.”
Michael Sheen: The fight for my steel town will be broadcast on BBC One Wales, Wednesday, June 8th, 8pm. Also to be made available on the BBC iPlayer.