With the Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special just around the corner, I sat down with co-creator and star Ruth Jones (Nessa) and co-star Rob Brydon (Uncle Bryn) to find out more about the reunion and how it came to be in the first place.
Was it daunting when you and James first contacted the cast to tell them you had written the new special??
Ruth: Yes. We hadn’t told anyone we were writing it apart from our other halves so it was lovely to be able to tell them. We could have had a reaction like, ‘oh no I think you’re making a big mistake and we’re not doing that’, but thankfully nobody did say that. It was lovely because it was like giving somebody a present you thought they were going to like. Jo Page was hysterical.
Did writing in isolation with James help keep the initial pressure off?
Ruth: Yes. Once we’d told the BBC we were committed. When we did tell the cast we had to ask them not to tell their agents because we had to keep it as quiet as we could.
Were you worried that you wouldn’t be able to find the rhythm of the show again?
Ruth: James and I have always kept in touch. He’s one of my closest friends. It a year last September when I first when out to America to start trying to write it. I’d seen him before then and we just got straight back into it. We’re really childish together
How difficult was bringing back the old crew and finding new ones?
Ruth: Ten years ago the show was made by a production company called BabyCow. Now I’ve got a production company, James has a production company so the obvious thing was to make it as a joint venture. A lot of the crew were based in Wales I’d worked with them before on Stella and I couldn’t mention James because people might get suspicious.
How was it being back on Trinity Street and filming on the street again?
Ruth: It was brilliant. Everybody was really lovely. A LOT of people everywhere but it was just so lovely.
Rob: I felt as if I were one of the Backstreet Boys. Being surrounded by so many fans it made me realise how they must have felt in their heyday
Ruth: In between takes we’d go and say hello to everyone which was great.
It’s been ten years, do people still quote the lines from the show back to you.
Rob: I get called Brynn a lot! Often people will quote something to you and you’ll have no idea what they’re saying to you because the fans love the show so much and remember far more about that I do.
Ruth: Obviously I get ‘What’s Occurin’ and tidy. I’ve told this story before, but, I was at my mother inlaw’s funeral and in the line up afterwards, somebody came up to me and said, what’s occurrin’. It was really uncomfortable.
Do you still revisit the show?
Rob: If it’s on Dave I will watch it yes. It’s an ensemble piece so it’s not as if I’m watching it for my bits. When I do watch it I find I’ve forgotten a lot of it and I think, I have no memory of this or did we shoot this? It’s still very very funny.
Obviously, Nessa is a Mum to 10-year-old Neil. How did you go about writing and casting the role?
Ruth: I think Nessa’s a lovely mum. It was difficult to retain her Nessa-ness but also have her be a parent to Neil. I think she’s a lovely mum. The boy we chose was actually one of the original babies in the series. He hasn’t acted before and I think he’s brilliant. He was so excited by the whole process and just the sweetest boy.
How would you describe the special?
Rob: It’s always been a very warm show I think that’s why people love it so much and this is very warm and very emotional. As a cast, we all get on brilliantly and I think that comes across. I really hope people are going to enjoy it. It’s the happiest job I’ve ever done.
Gavin & Stacey returns Christmas Day at 8.30pm on BBC One.