A documentary about two of Wrexham’s most famous residents is set to air on S4C tonight.
“Joe and Ruby” follows the story of 71 year old Joe Purcell and his pony Ruby, who shot to international fame after Joe was seen trying to board a train, go to A&E and enter several local pubs with Ruby at his side.
Now a show about their lives created by production company, Chwarel, is set to air at 9.00pm tonight on the Welsh language channel S4C.
“Joe and Ruby” is a half hour documentary which follows the popular pair in the wake of Wrexham Council’s decision to take Ruby into care after she was left unattended near the Maelor Hospital on a number of occasions, it also includes a factual insight into Wrexham’s gypsy community.
Sioned Morys who produced the programme said: “I had been interested in making a documentary about the contemporary Welsh gypsy, and had started to look into the community in Wrexham. I decided, after all the media publicity, that I would look in more detail at Joe’s life. We followed him for two months, and tried to get to know and understand his community better.”
“By the time we started filming, the local Council had taken over the care of Ruby, and in the programme we can follow Joe’s attempts to get the horse he holds so dear returned to him. We filmed mainly in the Wrexham area, but we also visited Ireland, to talk to members of Joe’s family there – the Purcell family from Tullow in County Carlow. They’re a prominent family in the world of breeding and selling horses.”
Sioned explained that Joe has lead a difficult life, she said: “Joe’s wife and daughter died two years ago and his story is a sad one. Having said that, I must say that working on this programme has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in my 20 year career as a TV producer and director.”
She added that it had initially been difficult to gain the trust of the gypsy community initially due to the reaction to shows such as My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
“At the beginning, we didn’t understand their world and they didn’t understand ours. Their site in Wrexham is next door to the site of this year’s National Eisteddfod. But they had no idea what an Eisteddfod was. They thought a massive horse fair was going to be held there! Eisteddfod officals have now welcomed them to the Eisteddfod field, the Maes, and taken them on a tour to explain what will be happening there. Joe now intends to visit the Eisteddfod, but without Ruby.”