Lush Gavin & Stacey Facts To Take You Straight To Barry Island

Gavin & Stacey, created by James Corden and Ruth Jones in 2007, revolves around the lives of two families - one in Billericay, Essex, and the other in Barry, Glamorgan, Wales. Gavin and Stacey (Mathew Horne and Joanna Page) start a whirlwind of a long distance relationship and audiences get to see their love blossom and their eccentric families interact. Our Gavin & Stacey facts include where the scenes set in Billericay were actually filmed, why three USA remakes have been turned down and how much older Nessa is than Stacey.

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Gavin & Stacey, created by James Corden and Ruth Jones in 2007, revolves around the lives of two families - one in Billericay, Essex, and the other in Barry, Glamorgan, Wales. Gavin and Stacey (Mathew Horne and Joanna Page) start a whirlwind of a long distance relationship and audiences get to see their love blossom and their eccentric families interact. Alison Steadman and Larry Lamb play Gavin's parents, Pam and Mick, while Melanie Walters portrays Stacey's mother, Gwen, and Rob Brydon appears as Stacey's uncle, Bryn.

The sitcom, produced by Baby Cow Productions for BBC Wales, consisted of three series and a total of twenty episodes. It originally aired from 13 May 2007 to 1 January 2010 on BBC Three and later on BBC One. Notably, episodes from the final series were broadcast on Christmas Day 2009 and New Year's Day 2010, becoming significant highlights of the BBC's prime-time seasonal programming.

Our Gavin & Stacey facts include where the scenes set in Billericay were actually filmed, why three USA remakes have been turned down and how much older Nessa is than Stacey.

1. Gavin & Stacey Is Multi Award Winning

Under the direction of Christine Gernon, who had previously helmed BBC sitcoms like One Foot in the Grave, Gavin & Stacey achieved both critical acclaim and widespread popularity. 

In a 2019 poll conducted by Radio Times, Gavin & Stacey secured the 17th spot among the greatest British sitcoms.

In April 2008, the show won two BAFTAs: the Audience Award and Best Comedy Performance for James Corden. In December 2008, it won the Best TV Comedy award at the British Comedy Awards. Rob Brydon was nominated for Best Comedy Performance as Bryn in the 2009 BAFTAs.

In the National Television Awards in January 2010, Gavin and Stacey won the award for Best Comedy.

Additionally, in January 2020, the series was honoured with the "Impact Award" at The National Television Awards.

2. The 2019 Special Attracted 18.49 Million Viewers In The UK

In a much-anticipated return, Corden and Jones co-wrote a Christmas Day 2019 special for BBC One. The episode attracted a staggering 18.49 million viewers in the United Kingdom, making it the highest-rated non-sporting event in a decade and the most-watched comedy in 17 years.

3. The Main Characters Have The Surnames Of Serial Killers

Some of the main Gavin & Stacey characters were given surnames of infamous English serial killers, namely Harold Shipman, Fred West, and Peter Sutcliffe. In a 2009 interview, Ruth Jones mentioned, "I suppose we were hoping that people wouldn't realise, and then when it does come to light, it's even more delicious..."

4. Noel Sullivan And John Prescot Made Cameo Appearances

Towards the end of the final Gavin & Stacey series, Noel Sullivan and John Prescott made brief cameo appearances.

5. James Corden Came Up With The Idea At A Wedding Reception

The concept for Gavin & Stacey originated when actor James Corden had an idea during a wedding reception. He further developed it with co-writer Ruth Jones, whom he had met while working on the ITV drama Fat Friends. 

6. Gavin & Stacey Was Originally Called “It’s My Day”

Corden claims that his inspiration came from the true story of his best friend Gavin, who met his wife over the phone at work and arranged to meet in person. They initially pitched the idea to the BBC as a standalone play titled "It's My Day," but the BBC requested a full series instead.

7. Horne And Page Were Chosen Quickly After Auditioning

The roles of Gavin and Stacey were cast through an auditioning process, but Mathew Horne and Joanna Page were quickly chosen due to their exceptional chemistry. Corden and Jones wrote the roles of Nessa and Smithy for themselves. 

8. Uncle Bryn Was Specifically Written For Rob Brydon

Some characters were specifically written with certain actors in mind, such as Uncle Bryn for Rob Brydon, who had been Jones' schoolmate. 

9. Alison Steadman Was Always Meant To Be Pam Shipman

The character Pam was written with Alison Steadman in mind, as she had also worked on Fat Friends. Jones had previously collaborated with Julia Davis on the sitcom Nighty Night, and the role of Dawn was tailored for her.

10. Adrian Scarborough Was Cast Due To “The History Boys”

Corden had acted alongside Adrian Scarborough in the Alan Bennett-penned play and film, The History Boys, which led to Scarborough being cast as Pete. The roles of Mick and Gwen were filled through an audition process, while Gavin's friends were also portrayed by Corden's co-stars from The History Boys.

11. Billericay Was Also Filmed In Wales

The three series of Gavin & Stacey were primarily filmed in Cardiff, with locations in Barry and its surrounding areas, including Dinas Powys, Sully, and Penarth, representing parts of Billericay. 

Gavin's house, with the address "23 Limetree Avenue," was set in Billericay but was actually filmed in Laburnum Way, Dinas Powys, Wales.

12. Gavin & Stacey Increased Tourism In Wales

The show's popularity is credited with boosting tourism in Barry, particularly at the popular Barry Island seafront, as visitors were keen to explore the various filming locations. 

The opening episode featured location shooting in London's Leicester Square, filmed in 2006.

13. James Corden Wanted Viewers To Feel Like They’ve Been On “A Little Trip”

Following its debut on BBC Three, the instant success of Gavin & Stacey led to the commissioning of a second series. Reflecting on the second series, 

James Corden expressed in interviews that, "It's the show that we wanted to make. If people like it, they like it; if they don't, they don't. That's a nice feeling, that's quite freeing... There's more of a journey and more of a story. We hope the viewers will feel like they've been taken on a little trip by it." 

Ruth Jones added, "Series one had a very specific storyline, boy meets girl, and it ends in a wedding. We don't have the same type of storyline in the second series. It's now girl living with boy's parents in Essex and the joys that might entail."

114. There Was Uncertainty Regarding The Production Of A Third Series 

In an April 2008 interview, Ruth Jones stated, "We never intended to write a second series, let alone a third. We don't want it to become predictable. We will see how the Christmas special goes and take it from there." 

Corden further explained, "We will write one if we can make it better. We have to be true to ourselves."

By September 2008, Corden and Jones had completed the final draft of the Christmas Special, but they decided not to pursue the third series at the time due to other work commitments and their determination to avoid delivering a subpar script. 

However, Corden and Jones eventually announced the production of a third series on 21 December 2008, just before the airing of the 2008 Christmas special. Jones made the announcement during her final BBC Radio Wales Sunday Brunch radio show, which was performed live on Barry Island.

15. There Is A Special Gavin & Stacey Behind The Scenes Documentary

Following the premiere of the 2008 Christmas special, BBC Three aired a behind-the-scenes documentary about the special called "12 Days of Christmas."

16. Gavin & Stacey Was Described As The Biggest Hit Since Little Britain

Following the conclusion of Gavin & Stacey series 2, The Guardian hailed the show as "BBC 3's biggest breakout comedy hit since Little Britain," while Deborah Orr described it as "amiable, unpretentious, well-scripted, nicely acted, and archly amusing. It's a good series, taking its place in a well-worn comedic progression, stretching back to The Liver Birds."

The Independent highlighted the show's evolution from a respectable debut on BBC Three to an award-winning program with mainstream popularity, especially after the BBC One Christmas special. 

With its growing acceptance among mainstream audiences, the article expressed the view that Gavin & Stacey had the potential to become an "audience-pleasing family sitcom in the tradition of Only Fools and Horses and The Royle Family—churning out series after series and Christmas special after Christmas special." 

17. Gavin & Stacey Had A Mini Musical Sketch For Comic Relief

In the fifth episode of the second series (the April 2008), Bryn and Nessa performed a duet of "Islands in the Stream" at Gwen's birthday barn dance. This performance was adapted into "Barry Islands In The Stream," a musical mini-sketch aired for Comic Relief on 21 February 2009. The sketch featured a storyline where Bryn and Nessa were invited to compete in the World Karaoke Championships in Las Vegas. 

During their journey, they bumped into Nessa's old friend Tom Jones, who joined them on stage. The sketch also included Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees. "Barry Islands In The Stream" was released as a charity single and debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart on 15 March 2009.

The live performance of "Barry Islands In The Stream" was also featured in the Top of the Pops 2009 Red Nose Day special.

18. Smithy Gave Advice To The English National Football Team

For Red Nose Day 2009, the main telethon event for Comic Relief, a second sketch aired featuring James Corden in character as Smithy. He had a chance encounter with the England national football team and provided them with advice on tactics and teamwork. 

Two charity episodes have been created as a "spin-off" of Gavin & Stacey, featuring James Corden reprising his role as Smithy.

For Sport Relief 2010 on 19th March 2010, James Corden appeared as Smithy in a lengthy sketch centred around coaching. In the sketch, he encounters England footballers such as David Beckham, John Terry, and Rio Ferdinand. Previously, Corden had recorded a live 9-minute segment during the December 2009 BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony. The segment portrays Smithy receiving the Coach of the Year Award for his influential coaching of several British sports stars. Smithy humorously declines the award and proceeds to deliver a rant to the assembled sporting stars, criticising their focus on celebrity and urging them to return to basics. The sketch includes flashbacks of Smithy coaching Tom Daley, Andrew Flintoff, Andy Murray, Jenson Button, David Beckham, and the Manchester United team.

James Corden, as Smithy, also featured on the 2010, 2011, 2013, and BBC Sport’s Personality of the Year award.

19. Smithy Appeared On Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Roadshow

James Corden reprised his role as Smithy again on Michael McIntyre's Christmas Roadshow on BBC One on 25 December 2011. The sketch featured Smithy participating in a dating-show style spoof with Miranda Hart, playing her TV alter ego.

20. The Gavin & Stacey Boxset Was Released Before All The Episodes Had Aired

Despite not all of the series three episodes having aired in the UK, BBC Worldwide decided to release the complete DVD box set on December 7, 2009, just in time for the Christmas season. 

This decision received some criticism, with Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat media spokesperson, expressing concerns about the devaluation of the license fee. However, the subsequent episodes continued to attract high viewership.

21. Gavin & Stacey Has Been Broadcast Worldwide

Gavin & Stacey has been broadcast on various international channels, including BBC Entertainment, BBC America, and BBC Canada. It has also been screened in Australia (Seven Network, 7TWO, ABC2, and UK-TV), Belgium/Flanders (Acht), Israel (HOT V.O.D and Yes Stars Comedy), Ireland (RTÉ Two), the Netherlands (RTL 8), Iceland (Stöð 2), New Zealand (TV ONE), Portugal (RTP2), Sweden (SVT), and Spain/Catalonia (3XL). Despite attempts, various adaptations of the show have not achieved the same level of success as the original.

22. There Was Meant To Be A US Version Of Gavin & Stacey

In March 2008, it was reported that the American network NBC had acquired the rights to produce an American remake in collaboration with Baby Cow Productions. The initial concept, as mentioned by Corden, was to have Gavin hail from New Jersey and Stacey from South Carolina, with their meeting point in New York City. 

However, in December 2008, Jones revealed that the NBC project did not proceed as planned, stating that the script was not impressive. Nonetheless, ABC expressed interest in developing a pilot, and Corden and Jones served as executive producers for the ABC version while searching for a suitable writer to adapt the show.

23. There Was A Second Version Of Gavin & Stacey Planned In The USA

In September 2009, there were reports that ABC had commissioned a pilot for an American remake of Gavin & Stacey. The pilot was set to be written by Stacy Traub and Hayes Jackson and produced by BBC Worldwide. However, the series was not ultimately picked up for a full season.

24. A THIRD American Remake Was Planned And Scrapped

On May 8, 2013, Fox announced that they would be airing an American remake titled Us & Them as part of their 2013-2014 schedule. Thirteen episodes were initially ordered. However, production went into early hiatus, and it was later revealed on October 11, 2013, that only six episodes would air before the show was halted altogether. Unfortunately, in June 2014, Fox announced that these six episodes would not be broadcast on the network.

25. Gavin & Stacey Was The Last Comedy On BBC Three Before It Went Online

The first episode of Series 3, Episode 1 of Gavin and Stacey marked the end of comedy programming on BBC Three before it transitioned to an online platform.

26. The Occupant Of Gwen’s House Has To Move Out To Film

The terraced house in Barry used as a filming location is actually someone's real house, complete with furniture. The occupant graciously "moved out" during the filming days.

27. The Jamdani Hash Was Fictional But Now Exists Because Of Gavin & Stacey

The "Jamdani Hash" curry mentioned in the series, described as duck cooked with honey and lime, is a fictional dish. However, a curry house in Cardiff, frequented by Ruth Jones, has created the dish and included it on their menu as a tribute to the show.

28. Originally Corden And Jones Wrote It Was An Hour Long Special

Originally, James Corden and Ruth Jones wrote a standalone hour-long episode centred around a family wedding in Wales. They developed a backstory for the couple getting married, which eventually became the foundation for the Gavin and Stacey relationship. The BBC liked the backstory so much that they requested Corden and Jones to expand it into a six-episode series, culminating in the initial wedding episode.

29. Almost Every Episode Begins With A Phone Call

Almost every episode of Gavin and Stacey begins with a phone call between Gavin and Stacey.

30. James Corden And Sheridan Smith Were Reportedly Engaged!

Smithy and Rudy (James Corden and Sheridan Smith) who play brother and sister on the show, were actually a couple in real life from 2007 to 2009 and were reportedly engaged before permanently splitting up.

31. How Much Older Is Nessa Than Stacey?

While Nessa's age is never explicitly revealed on the show, Ruth Jones, the actor who portrays her, is actually 12 years older than James Corden. In one scene in series 2, the characters discuss that no one is certain of Nessa's age, not even Nessa herself. However, in the 2019 Christmas Special, Nessa mentions that when Stacey was 17, she was around 35, making her approximately 18 years older than Stacey. At the start of the series, it is mentioned that both Gavin and Stacey are 26 years old, indicating that Nessa was 44 at that time. Ten years later, she would be around 54, roughly the same age as Uncle Bryn. Some sources state Nessa's age as 56 in 2019, indicating that she is in her mid-fifties, although she doesn't look it, which aligns with the various time periods mentioned in her anecdotes.

32. There Is A Real Annual Elvis Convention In Porthcawl Wales

The episode featuring an Elvis convention in Barry is based on a real annual convention. However, the real convention takes place in Porthcawl, another seaside town approximately 25 miles away from Barry.

33. Nessa’s Dragon Tattoo Is Missing A Leg

During the Gavin & Stacey DVD commentary recording, it was revealed that Nessa's dragon tattoo is missing a leg at some point in season 2. Ruth Jones (Nessa) challenges viewers to spot this.

34. Gavin & Stacey Get Married In Less Than 3 Months

In series 1 of Gavin & Stacey, the time that elapses within the story between Gavin and Stacey meeting in person in London and the end of their wedding day celebrations in episode 6 is less than three months.

35. Russell Tovey (Budgie) Is From Billericay

Russell Tovey, who plays Budgie in the show, is actually from Billericay, the town where Gavin is from in the series.

36. Did You Spot The Mention Of A “Ruth James”?

In the hospital waiting area for Nessa and Smithy's baby scan, the woman called in before them is named 'Ruth James,' which is a clear nod to the show's creators, Ruth Jones and James Corden.

Gavin And Stacey Facts - Lush Gavin & Stacey Facts To Take You Straight To Barry Island

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