Swansea production designer Edward Thomas is awarded an Honorary Fellowship from UWTSD


Swansea production designer Edward Thomas, who is credited with bringing Hollywood to the city, has received an Honorary Fellowship from University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Ed Thomas

Mr Thomas was instrumental, along with Welsh television producer Julie Gardner, from Neath, in bringing worldwide hit series Da Vinci's Demons to Bay Studios on Fabian Way.

The show brought Hollywood scriptwriter David S Goyer to the city, as well as X Files and Breaking Bad writer John Shiban, who took on the role of showrunner.

It has certainly paid off, with Mr Thomas celebrating an incredible 18 nominations on last year’s Bafta Cymru shortlist following further success with Jack To A King, which was produced by YJB Films, the company that he jointly runs with entertainer Mal Pope.

Dr Ian Walsh, Dean of Faculty, Swansea College of Art said: “Ed Thomas is a real inspiration to young artists and designers looking to break into film and TV production. The hallmark of Ed’s work can be seen in the attention to detail and sheer quality of his productions. Ed brings that same commitment to ‘getting things right’ as he works to encourage and nurture the next generation of talented young people from across South Wales looking to enter the industry. I’m delighted that Ed has accepted our invitation to become an Honorary Fellow of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and particularly so as his Fellowship is associated with Swansea College of Art”.

After receiving the Honorary Fellowship, Mr Thomas said: “I am extremely grateful and honoured to become a fellow of the university. A university very close to my heart that still supports my endeavours within the film and television industry, 26 years after I graduated. A university that plays a significant part in the development of the creative industries in Wales that cannot be understated.

“For me it all started on the foundation course in Art and Design here at UWTSD. I had managed to gain an ‘unclassified’ at Art A Level much to the disappointment of my parents who found it difficult to see how I could possibly pursue a career in art and design let alone continue studying the subject.

“But I was lucky, the staff including a remarkable lady called Pat Briggs, saw something maybe the A Level teachers didn’t and had other plans for me. From the first day it was clear that I had found what I had been longing for, a space to be creative all day, every day. These people actually believed that if I developed the right skills, someone might be able to pay me to do what I loved best. I am delighted to be back here today. I hope the students graduating here today look back at the friendships formed and their time at this university and in our city of Swansea with pride and fond memories.”

Mr Thomas said the aim in setting up YJB Films was to create feature films and TV programmes for a worldwide audience. Set Fire to the Stars, featuring Lord of the Rings and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind actor Elijah Wood, was also filmed in Swansea, and Mr Thomas was at the heart of its production design.

He has previously worked on a host of productions, including Doctor Who, Torchwood and the period drama United.

In the Bafta shortlist, Mr Thomas, who most recently worked on Resident Evil: The Final Chapter in South Africa, received six nominations for Da Vinci's Demons, seven nominations for Set Fire to the Stars and a further five nominations for Jack To A King.

Mr Thomas, who was awarded a BA (Hons) in 3 Dimensional Design (Theatre Design) and graduated with a 1st for Chief Study from Wimbledon School of Art, was the production designer for almost every episode of Doctor Who from series 1 to series 5. He was also the production designer for every episode of Torchwood from series 1 to 3, the last two episodes of series 4 and UK unit work for the rest of that series and for series 1 of The Sarah Jane Adventures. The pilot Episode for Sherlock and season one of the acclaimed BBC dramas “Outcasts” and “Line of duty” were also designed by Mr Thomas.

 He also designed the TARDIS interiors and exteriors for Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith, the Torchwood hub and Sarah Jane Smith's attic.

Together with his production company, Mr Edwards has two BAFTA Cymru Awards for Best Production Design for Set Fire to the Stars, Everything Changes and The Waters of Mars and a Bafta Cymru Award and Bafta Award for Best Drama Series for Torchwood.