Oh, what’s occurring? The return of Gavin & Stacey for a Christmas special at the end of this year, that’s what’s occurring!
Following the blossoming romance between Essex boy Gavin Shipman (Matthew Horne) and Barry local Stacey West (Joanna Page) the pair’s long distance relationship soon merges together two equally strange families – along with their respective best mates Nessa and Smithy – from different parts of the UK. They might only be separated by the River Severn, but hilarious misunderstandings soon begin to spring up all over the place; who knew the politics of ordering an Indian takeaway could be so intense?
- Read more: Tidy! We spoke to the girl behind the epic ‘Gavin & Stacey’ party approved by James Corden
Running for three series, the much-loved sitcom ended for good back in 2010, with creators James Corden and Ruth Jones (who play Smithy and Nessa respectively) catagorically ruling out another season. “Where would we go with it?” asked Jones. “No, it’s really time to say goodbye to these characters now”
However, it now turns out that the pair have been secretly cooking up a Christmas special behind the scenes anyway. “Over the last 10 years we’ve talked a lot about Gavin and Stacey – where they might be today and what their lives might look like. So, in secret, we took the plunge and wrote this one-hour special.” they said.
We left Gavin and and a visibly pregnant Stacey standing on Barry beach at the end of the show, alongside Smithy and Nessa. The scene comes six months after Smithy – who has a baby with Nessa – publically objects to her marriage to Welshman Dave, resulting in the whole thing being called off. And last time we saw Smithy, he was campaigning to become the new head of FIFA in a one-off sketch for Sports Relief in 2016. Who knows where they’ll all be now.
The Gavin & Stacey Special is set to air on Christmas Day 2019 – until then, here’s a look back at the comedy’s most bang tidy highlights.
Is that ham, Pam?!
Forever 51 years old, Gavin’s mum Pam is an unlikely superfan of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; as well as involving her husband Mick in sexual fantasies concerning Camilla and Prince Charles, she occasionally refers to the late Princess Diana as “a hussy”. There are few things that Pam adores more than Camilla – but her number one love is a juicy cheeseburger. After a complicated misunderstanding involving dietary requirements at a party, Pam accidentally tells everyone that she’s a vegetarian, and instead of admitting her faux pas, she decides to carry on with the hopeless act. Throughout the rest of the show, Pam is the worst veggie in existence, begging Mick to secretly feed her morsels of sausage, chili con carne and pork chops at every possible opportunity.
Pam is later discovered gorging herself in the kitchen, by an outraged Stacey, who screams “Is that ham, Pam!?… “I’ve seen you, Pam. A scotch egg here, a bit of bacon there, putting those regular sausages into the Linda McCartney box”. Her darkest secret is one of the best touches in the entire show; someone should just tell Pam about the existence of vegan junk food, to be honest.
A borderline meat addiction isn’t Pamela’s only vice: she’s also partial to a ciggie, especially when she’s steaming drunk. “Smithy darling let’s do shots!” she yells in in one of her best scenes, chuffing away on her first fag since 1981 in the garden before before everyone congas to ‘House of Fun’ by Madness. What a legend.
Ribena, I know what you’re drinking
Thanks to one particular scene with Smithy and his sister Rudi – who decide to entertain Gavin over the phone when he’s at his new job in Cardiff – the entire nation still knows every single word to the rap from Estelle’s ‘American Boy’. Released in 2008, the certified banger features a guest spot from a pre-’808s & Heartbreak’ Kanye West. And if the line “Who killing them in the UK? Everybody going to say “You, K!” doesn’t immediately bring to mind the image of Smithy and Rudi swaggering haphazardly across a carpark, then you need to watch the below clip, immediately.
Dawn and Pete’s rocky romance
Pam and Mick’s best mates have what you might call a tumultuous marriage. Despite various attempts to spice things up – they try and fail to arrange a threesome, while Pete roleplays as the Dutch footballer Marc Overmars – Dawn and Pete spend most of the show bickering with each other.
Against all odds, Dawn and Pete renew their marriage, marking the occasion with disgusting initialled rings, and some strangely familiar vows. During the ceremony, Pete solemnly recites the chorus of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’, while Dawn picks out ‘Ben’ by Michael Jackson. Admittedly Jackson’s first number one hit was a love song written to a rat, but the sentiment is still sweet – in a way.
Doris the secret rockstar
Played by the late and great Margaret John, Gwen’s surprisingly rowdy neighbour Doris O’Neill was one of the best things about Gavin & Stacey. Don’t underestimate her just because she looks like a kindly old Welsh woman: throughout, Doris pulls the kind of raucous antics that make Liam Gallagher look like a presenter on Antiques Roadshow. Case in point, the time that she took ownership of the acoustic guitar at a Shipman/West family BBQ and smashed through this belting cover of The Smiths’ ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’. Gwan, Doris!
Then there was the time that Doris refused to stoop to preparing a salad that nobody in their right mind is going to enjoy eating anyway. “I can’t be arsed!” she tells Gwen. “I don’t even know why I offered.” And when Stacey’s clueless uncle Bryn troops in and asks after the cursed bowl of lettuce, D’ takes no prisoners. “Oh, where’s the salad,” she mutters, checking her pockets. “Where’s the salad… there’s the salad,” she shouts, whipping two fingers out of her jacket like the seasoned pro that she is.
Bryn and Jason’s fishing trip
Every decent telly show needs a harrowing secret squirrelled away somewhere, and the skeleton in Bryn’s closet comes in the shape of a mysterious fishing trip with his nephew. Years on, relations between Jason and Bryn are frosty to the point that they can barely sit in the same room. Ness’s on-off boyfriend Dave – the only character who knows their secret – regards the pair with suspicion at all times. “I know there’s times that he’s wondering how a man and his nephew ever could…” Bryn tells Jason, before Dave walks into the kitchen to get a glass of milk in the middle of the night.
Though we never learn exactly what occurred on the fateful expedition Bryn alludes to a chilly night where they had no choice but to spoon each other, while naked, for warmth. “We’re going to have this out, once and for all, man to man!” Bryn shouts. “You may know what happened, David, but you don’t know why it happened! It was freezing cold, it was! And when you are that cold…”
A semi by the sea
Outside of the notorious fishing trip, innuendos follow Uncle Bryn everywhere he goes, even as he tries to share his love of music with Gwen. A James Blunt mega-fan – much to Gwen’s irritation – he blasts ‘Wisemen’ in the car, howling along to the lyric about three wise men having “a semi by the sea” while giving his sister a death stare.
Fair play, Bryn is gifted with a sturdy singing voice. When he throws a surprise party for Gwen, he shines in a duet with Nessa; who effortlessly busts out the sort of pitch perfect harmonies that would leave Dolly Parton beaming with pride. The room breaks out into a line dancing routine as they sing a fairly impressive rendition of her Kenny Rogers duet ‘Islands in the Stream’.
The politics of ordering a takeaway
Long before he became super-famous for driving celebrities round in his Carpool Karaoke-mobile, James Corden spoke the truth as Smithy in Gavin & Stacey: let it be known that the sharing of takeaways is the practice of fools
. “What is it about a group of people ordering an Indian or Chinese or something, that it is somehow unacceptable to eat your own food that you order yourself?!” he asks with exasperation.
“I can guarantee someone – probably Stacey – will have ordered the korma, Mick, am I wrong, am I wrong? In my book, a korma is pointless! Futile!” Smithy speaking the truth. Mine’s a chicken bhuna, lamb bhuna, prawn bhuna, mushroom rice, keema naan, and nine poppadoms. Tah.