Mind blown. If you only know James Corden from his late night show here, “Gavin & Stacey” is what launched him into stardom and set his path to America. There were only 20 episodes, including a Christmas special, running from 2007 to 2010, created and starring both Mr. Corden and the multi-talented Ruth Jones who went on to create her own show called “Stella”, a wonderful, heartfelt series set in a valley town in Southern Wales. I love both series dearly.
Due to the fact it was so successful in the UK, the entire cast has been asked continually about a revival and for years has begged off, saying the series was well and done. That’s why it was such a shock when this last Monday James Corden tweeted the following image:
This is huge news in the UK and should be here. Unfortunately, it’s not a full new series but we’ll take what we can get: a one-hour Christmas Day special, picking up the characters and storyline nine years later. In the UK, watching television on Christmas Day is a tradition where some of the more popular show such as “Doctor Who” and “Call the Midwife” produce specials for the whole family to watch. Can they start that tradition in America? Wouldn’t it have been great to see a special episode of “The Big Bang Theory” produced just for Christmas?
What’s “Gavin & Stacey” about? It’s a cross-cultural romance that’s a bit of a stretch for Americans to fathom involving an English man named Gavin (played by Mathew Horne) and a Welsh woman named Stacey (played by Joanna Page). I don’t understand it myself, but there’s a clue when Gavin’s mother called Stacey’s mother a “leek-munching sheep-shagger!” I think the Welsh are considered to be hicks. I’ve been to Wales and it’s an absolutely beautiful country and the people did not seem backwards, at least not to me.
In any case, the cultural gulf is where much of the conflict comes from and produces, of course, the comedy. The cast is stellar, with James playing Gavin’s best friend, Smithy, and Ruth playing the odd and rough Nessa, Alison Steadman as Gavin’s mother and Rob Brydon as Stacey’s Uncle Bryn. Here’s a good introduction put together by Mojo UK.
You must see it! It’s available on both Hulu and Amazon Prime. There was an U.S. version you’ve never heard about under the title “Us & Them”, starring Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel (“Gilmore Girls”). Seven episodes were produced but never aired because it was cancelled before the premiere. However, you can now see it on Sony Crackle. The two leads were well-chosen but the rest of the cast couldn’t quite match the originals and the cross-cultural divide was not quite as potent, with Jason being from New York City and Alexis being a fairly sophisticated girl from a small town in Pennsylvania. Florida may have been a better choice, with a transplanted New York family juxtaposed against truly Southern folk?
However, I don’t think you can ever replicate the magic of the original cast, nor should anyone try. So I’ll mark each day on my calendar in anticipation of the new special, a wonderful Christmas present indeed.