It’s the reunion we’ve all been waiting nearly a decade for as Gavin, Stacey and the rest of the gang get back together for Christmas.
The last time we caught up with them all lovebirds Gavin and Stacey were expecting their first child and Nessa had just done a runner on Dave to raise her son, Neil the baby, with Smithy.
So what’s occurring these days? We’ve been treated to a sneak peek at the Christmas day special and it’s safe to say it’s a cracker!
While we’re sworn to secrecy over the exact storyline details, we can reveal that this festive season sees the Shipman clan head to Wales where the usual chaos ensues. Here the cast reveal a few backstage secrets about how it all came about…
Ruth Jones and James Cordon sneaked time together to write the show after texting each other ideas for years
While the show may have been off our screens for almost ten years, that hasn’t stopped Ruth and James plotting a comeback. Ruth, who plays Nessa, reveals: “Ever since it finished in 2010 James and I have always secretly text each other ideas for characters, a line for Pam, a situation for Bryn or a new job for Nessa, that kind of thing. One time I changed the lyrics to Adele’s Hello and made a Barry version which started, ‘Alright…’ So we’ve always gone back and forward with little ideas and then every now and again one of us would say, ‘Shall we do another one? A special?’”. But getting together was never going to be easy seeing as James has made a life for himself in Hollywood. Ruth adds: “We had to find time when he could take a few days off. So I went out there, we managed to get a long weekend where we mapped out the story. Then we found a week in February this year and I went out again, we weren’t lapping up the LA sunshine, we spent the entire week writing. We got to the end of the week and it was a bit of a journey, there were times during that week when we thought, ‘Let’s not do it’. But then it all came together into something we’re really proud of”.
The gang were contacted by Ruth and James personally asking them to come back but many thought it was a prank!
Once Ruth and James had come up with a script the next headache was whether they could get the entire gang back together for two weeks during the summer. That proved much harder than they thought. Melanie Walters (Gwen West) laughs: “I got a missed call from Los Angeles and I thought it was some sort of scam so I just ignored it! I thought I was being trolled! Then James rang me for the fourth time and left a voicemail, as soon as I listened to it I recognised his voice and that was it!”. But for Joanna (Stacey Shipman) getting a call out of the blue was a little more worrying, “Ruth got in touch with me on every form of social media, email and message, everything. I’m not very good at getting back in touch with people, I’m terrible. So I didn’t respond for a bit and then I realised I had all these missed messages everywhere. My first thought was, ‘It’s either something really good like the show is coming back, or something bad like she’s going to tell me there are some really dodgy pictures of me which are going to hit all the newspapers!’. So I phoned her back and I was so excited! I was hysterical!”.
They were all under strict orders to keep the Christmas special a secret
Ruth Jones was on the Radio 2 breakfast show the day before the special was announced and still had to lie to host Matt Lucas. She reveals she had to email the Little Britain star the next day to apologise when the news was finally revealed. Meanwhile, Larry Lamb (Mick Shipman) admits: “The easy bit was listening to what was going to happen, the hard bit was not telling anyone about it. I had three months of actually lying about it! We couldn’t say a word to anyone, even our families!”. The cast even talked in code to make sure they didn’t let the secret slip. Rob Brydon (Bryn West) laughs: “I was at the BAFTAs with Alison Steadman and she said, ‘I’m nervous about G and S’. I thought Gilbert and Sullivan, I thought she was nominated for a performance. Then ten minutes later I was like, ‘Oh, yeah!’. After that we set up a WhatsApp group and called it Gilbert and Sullivan!”. Alison Steadman (Pam Shipman) added: “I was so scared of writing an email about anything to do with it in case someone saw! So the codename helped enormously!”.
They say the show won’t be a Christmas turkey!
With expectations at an all time high, the cast are confident viewers will think it was worth the wait. Matt Horne (Gavin Shipman) says: “I actually think this is the best episode we have ever done. I think it’s absolutely sensational. Ruth and James have done a fantastic job. I think the fact that all the actors love each other and are genuinely having a good time, that comes across on screen. We had the best time doing this episode and I just hope everyone loves it as much as we do”. Larry adds: “I feel so extraordinarily overcome with emotion about it. It’s always nerve wracking with this kind of thing because it can go one of two ways, but this episode is utterly delightful. I’ve seen it and honestly I think it’s the best episode ever”.
Fans caused chaos during filming in Wales
Times have changed since they filmed the last series of the show, so when the cast stepped out in Barry they were swamped by fans. But at least this time it wasn’t as hostile as the very first series. Larry laughs: “The first time we ever filmed in Barry we were doing a travelling shot and there were kids throwing rocks at us! The police had to give us an escort! This time we were so inundated with people, there were at least 400 people there every time, it was quite extraordinary. What the show has done for Barry is great and the residents really appreciate that. They love it and they feel a part of it”. Ruth says she had her own way of dealing with the crowds: “Rather than just go out there as Ruth and ask politely, I went out as Nessa and was like, ‘Oi, we’re trying to film in here, have some respect!’ Sometimes people want to have photos with you and they’ll put their arm around you, what’s great, as Nessa I can go, ‘No, love. Don’t man handle me, who do you think you are?!’ I find it liberating being Nessa!”.
The good news is there could be a full series!
Fans will have to wait and see how the Christmas special plays out but we’re sure there will be calls for a full series. The great news is that all the cast say they would be up for it, so now it’s just left to writers Ruth and James to pull their pens out and get cracking. Ruth explains: “Hand on heart, at the moment there is no plan, there’s been no notes mapping anything out. But I think there is room for it to move on, so all I am going to say is, ‘Who knows?!”. Seeing as she’s admitted to lying over the show’s latest comeback, we have a sneaky suspicion fans won’t have to wait long for more.