Gavin and Stacey (2007-2010) is a classic sitcom that centres around Essex-lad Gavin (Matthey Horne), and Welsh Stacey (Joanna Page), who find romance through their humdrum office jobs. Over the three seasons, their relationship develops from flirty phone calls, to wedding planning, and into married life. Flitting between Barry Island and Billericay, we follow them and their friends, Smithy and Nessa (James Corden and Ruth Jones), navigating long-distance relationships and delicate family dynamics. To make it even better, all this is set to an amazingly nostalgic mid-2000s indie soundtrack.
It’s clear to see why Gavin and Stacey has gained such a cult following, boasting a stellar supporting cast. We all know someone like Rob Brydon’s eccentric Uncle Bryn, or Alison Steadman’s larger-than-life Pam. The beauty of the show, however, came from its simplicity. From weddings to family dinners to job interviews, these everyday occasions are injected with fun through the whip-smart writing and recurring jokes (did someone say Fishing Trip?).
It’s not just all jokes and no plot, though. Our connection to these characters gives the show a surprisingly dramatic weight for a seemingly light-hearted little comedy series. We feel the shock of Nessa’s pregnancy, we ache with Gavin and Stacey when they struggle to conceive… we especially share Smithy’s pain over the politics of ordering a group takeaway. It somehow manages to balance being exaggerated yet realistic, bawdy yet family-friendly, and light-hearted yet poignant.
It swiftly became a BBC phenomenon, spiralling James Corden from minor British comedian to famous (or infamous) American talk-show host. While Corden’s public image has soured, Gavin and Stacey has aged like fine wine: 15 years after its initial release, it still stands the test of time, providing nostalgia to original fans, and connecting with a whole new generation of viewers. The huge success of 2019’s Christmas reunion episode, which was watched by 11.6 million people, proves that Gavin and Stacey is, and always will be, “well lush”.
All 3 series of Gavin and Stacey are available on BBC iPlayer.