Believe it or not, it’s been ten years since we last saw Pam and Mick, Gavin’s parents on the hit BBC Three comedy Gavin & Stacey. Ahead of the highly anticipated Christmas episode, I had the chance to sit down with Pam (Alison Steadman) and Mick (Larry Lamb) to talk about the nerves before getting the script and relying on YouTube as a reminder of how to play one of the nation’s favourite matriarchs.
The return of the show has been shrouded in secrecy, how have you coped with meeting fans who want to know more about it?
Larry: I won’t tell anyone anything. I just say, if I tell you it’ll spoil your Christmas Day! As much as people want to know I’m sure they don’t want it to be spoiled.
Were you surprised at the huge reaction that the show received when the return was announced?
Larry: Not really. I’ve been going across the country since we finished making a lot of non-fiction with my son going around the country on our bikes and talking to a lot of people and it didn’t surprise me one bit!
It’s been ten years, how easy was it to slip back into Pam?
Larry: Are you asking me?! (Laughs) That’s a bit of a leading question!
Alison: I really was nervous. When we did the readthrough we were sitting at a big table and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’d been watching clips of Pam on YouTube because I wanted to hear again. As soon as we started reading I relaxed and I thought we’re going to be fine now.
Larry: The nervy bit comes before you read the script. You know you’ve signed for it and you’re going to do it, whatever happens, then you read the script and you just feel back in safe hands because Ruth (Ruth Jones) and James are such brilliant writers.
What did you think of the script when you first read it?
Larry: It’s brilliant. What they’ve done with it is exactly what needed to be done with it. We pick the story up and meet up with these people you already know.
When you got the call to ask you to return, did you have doubts or did it feel like a no-brainer?
Alison: There’s no way I would have turned it down. No way on this earth.
What was it like being back with James Corden? Has LA changed him?
Larry: He’s basically the same person don’t you think?
Alison: Absolutely. People have asked if he’s a bit starry now, but he’s just the same. He’s James and he always will be James. He’s got three lovely kids and they came on set and it was just so nice to him and everyone again.
Have you missed the show and playing these characters?
Alison: This is the only show I’ve worked on that when we wrapped ten years ago everybody cried. We’d love it so much and it was such fun and I don’t think I’ve ever cried when I’ve finished a job but I really did.
Is this there much laughter or messing about on set?
Alison: Well, we’re professionals and we have to get the job done.
Larry: There was one particular occasion, I think in series 2 where Alsion and Julia (Davies) just couldn’t stop laughing and that was making everybody else laugh. When you’re working on a drama and it’s supposed to be deadly serious you can collapse in laughter but when it’s comedy there’s so much pressure to get it right because if you screw up a take which happens to be the one the director really wanted to use it’s not good. So you’ve got no room for giggling.
Alison: But Julia Davies is so funny.
Will you sit down with the family and watch it at Christmas?
Larry: Yes of course. My family don’t know anything about it I’ve told them ‘I’m not telling you!”
There’s a lot of uncertainty in the country at the moment, do you think Gavin & Stacey is just what we need this Christmas?
Larry: They’ve always managed to get the timing right with this. It was right when it first came out and right when it finished. In all the things in the world to come out now in the midst of this horror show that’s going on, it’s glorious.
Alison: God yeah. Every time you turn on the news it’s so depressing so we need something to cheer us all up. I feel really privileged to be in one of the top spots on the television at Christmas. It’s pretty amazing.
Gavin & Stacey returns Christmas Day at 8.30pm on BBC One.