It's the one we've all been waiting for... co-creator and actress Ruth Jones reveals What's occurring?’ in the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special…
One of the most hotly anticipated festive specials hits our screens on Christmas Day as much-loved sitcom Gavin & Stacey is back! Almost 10 years since we last saw the long-distance lovers, writers James Corden and Ruth Jones – aka pals Smithy and Nessa – are reuniting the whole gang, as the Billericay-based Shipmans head to Barry Island, Wales, to celebrate Christmas with the Wests.
As we re-join them, it seems Gavin (Mathew Horne) and Stacey (Joanna Page) are struggling with the challenges of parenthood. Nessa, meanwhile, has her own parenting style and Smithy can’t wait to spend Christmas with their son, Neil the Baby, now 12.
In Essex, Pam (Alison Steadman) moans to Mick (Larry Lamb) about having to spend Christmas in Wales, while Uncle Bryn (Rob Brydon) is bracing himself for having to cook Christmas dinner for over 13 people!
What could possibly go wrong in the Gavin & Stacey Christmas special? According to creator and star Ruth Jones, 53, quite a bit…
The internet went into meltdown when you and James teased that Gavin & Stacey would be coming back this Christmas. Why has it taken so long?
Ruth Jones: “Well, firstly, there’s the fact James and I live on different continents and have different schedules. Ever since the show finished in 2010, we’ve always secretly texted to each other ideas for these characters. But we wanted to be sure, if we did bring it back, that it was good because we didn’t want to risk people saying: ‘Oh, it’s not like it was’. We wanted to still pay tribute to what the series was but also bring it up to the present day.”
Were you pleased you could get the entire original cast back together?
RJ: “James and I contacted half the cast between us to ask if they’d be interested in doing it and they all said yes. And thank God they did, as we’d written the script by then! When we all turned up to rehearsals it was like a family getting back together again and it was really good fun. Rob Brydon kept us all entertained.”
So where do we find Gavin and Stacey when we re-join them at Christmas?
RJ: “Gavin and Stacey really are the heart of this show, so James and I knew it had to be about telling their story nearly 10 years on. In this episode, Mat and Joanna, as Gavin and Stacey, really capture what a lot of couples with young kids go through. After starting out on this big romantic journey, even though they still love each other, sometimes there’s no time for that romance. So it becomes about keeping ‘what they were’ alive.”
Did you relish the opportunity to play Nessa again?
RJ: “I find it liberating playing Nessa – sometimes during filming if I needed people to be quiet I’d shout [in Nessa’s voice]: ‘Oh, we’re trying to film here! Have some respect!’ What’s lovely in this episode is that we see how Nessa has developed as a mother – she retains her ‘Nessa-ness’ but she has a great relationship with Neil the Baby. Smithy and Nessa’s relationship has never been conventional and their journey here is an interesting one…”
There’s a great scene where Bryn and Nessa have a singsong in the pub on Christmas Eve…
RJ: “We wanted to choose a classic Christmas song but then ‘Gavin & Stacey’ it, so Nessa’s singing the male lyrics! I could’ve carried on singing all day.”
Everyone will want to know, does this Christmas special pave the way for a new series of Gavin & Stacey?
RJ: “No one will believe me but, hand on heart, at the moment there is no plan. Obviously there is room for it to move on, so all I’m going to say now is, who knows?”
The Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special airs on Christmas Day at 8.30pm on BBC1.