Wales’ only Welsh-speaking drag queen will make television history when she celebrates St David’s Day.
Tina Sparkle will be spreading her stardust on an irreverent new game show on S4C which will nominate a new patron saint for Wales.
She will be the first ever drag queen to star on the Welsh language channel.
The show will be broadcast just after a ground-breaking documentary about the ultimate Welsh hero, Owain Glyndwr.Tina – a “lot more refined and sparkly” than Lily Savage – will be sitting on her throne compiling a new Welsh dictionary in Dot Cym, a half hour game show which promotes Wales and the Welsh, but has a good laugh at the same time.
The show, which will be chaired by former football commentator Ian Gwyn Hughes, is the brainchild of Ceidiog Cyf, the award-winning TV production company set up by MD Nia Ceidiog in 1996. It’s being filmed at the at the company’s new studio complex in Treforest.
Tina (Mark Goodman) started her career in Somerset 10 years ago when the drag act failed to turn up one night and Pontin’s Blue Coat entertainer Mark literally stepped into her high heels.
“I’d been doing stand-up comedy and some singing and this drag act went down really well, I was supposed to do 45 minutes but ended up on stage for one and a half hours,” said Mark.
European tours were followed by a regular slot at Minskys show bar in Cardiff.
But Mark is really excited by the new game show which he’s hoping will become a series.
“I’m going to be sitting on my throne with a laptop creating my own modern Welsh dictionary – called Tiniadur. I’m going to be Ian’s Debbie McGee!
“There’ll be a lot of banter between us because personally I think I should be running the show and not him. I’d never heard of him before!” said Mark.
“My stage name comes from the Australian comedy film about ballroom dancing, called ‘Strictly Dancing’. I think I’m the only Welsh speaking drag act in Wales,” said Caerphilly-born Mark.
“People like Danny LaRue and Lily Savage were my inspirations, but I’m a lot classier than Lily!”
The two competing panels on the show include ‘Coming of Age’ star, comedian Ceri Phillips, Welsh language champion and former Big Brother competitor Glyn Wise, and Donna Edwards who plays Britt Monk in Pobl y Cwm, on one team, and on the other, comedian Eirlys Bellin, Radio Cymru DJ Nia Medi and writer and comedian Tony Llewellyn.
Gaynor Davies, S4C’s Light Entertainment Editor said “We’re delighted to have Tina Sparkle in S4C’s firmament. She’s glamorous, cheeky and highly entertaining!. A new star is in the ascendant!”
Ceidiog Cyf managing director Nia explained: “It’s going to be a panel game about Wales and the Welsh which is full of laughs and with an historic and hysterical performance by the very glamorous Tina Sparkle.
“The show’s chaired by Ian who everyone will remember as a sports reporter but who is now the Head of Public Affairs at the Welsh FA.
“In one of the games we will get the panel’s verdict on how members of the public interpret Welsh words. In another the panel will have to identify which guest is actually a real relative of a very, very famous Welsh person.
“Another will have our teams creating new Welsh words from English and other languages – and Tina will decide whether they can be allowed into her new dictionary. Then especially for St David’s Day they will be asked to nominate a new patron saint for Wales.
“It’s all a bit of fun with Tina’s fairy dust spread over it. This is the very first production from our spanking new studio at Treforest. I think it’s important we have some fun and not get too worried about what some people say about the Welsh. It’s important that we promote ourselves and the Welsh language, but it’s also important we have some fun too.
“We hope this becomes a regular show and looking to the future I’m sure it will draw in new viewers.”
The half hour show will be broadcast on S4C on Tuesday, March 1, St David’s Day, at 10pm.