Gavin & Stacey: “32 thoughts I had watching the Christmas special”

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Gavin, Stacey and their families and friends are back for a Christmas special of Gavin & Stacey, set 10 years after we last left them. Here’s what we thought as we watched the 2019 festive special. Warning: spoilers ahead…

When Gavin & Stacey fans last saw Gavin (Matthew Horne), Stacey (Joanna Page), Nessa (Ruth Jones) and Smithy (James Corden), they were sat on the beach in Barry. Stacey was pregnant, and Nessa and Smithy were co-parenting their young son, Neil the Baby.

It was a fitting goodbye, after three seasons, to these characters who had fallen in love, formed and maintained friendships, and grown up (sort of). But, because we’ve been good for the last decade, Santa Claus (well, Jones and Corden) has gifted us with a very special Christmas episode. As in, yes, an actual “where are they now?” segment about Nessa and the rest of the gang.

When we pick up with our favourite characters, 10 years has passed in Gavin & Stacey land, and it seems like everything and nothing has changed.

The entire gang is gathering in Wales for Christmas dinner, with Uncle Bryn (Rob Brydon) taking charge of the cooking, and Pam (Alison Steadman) trying not to mind too much that she’s not hosting. No Christmas is complete without drama, though, and with these beloved characters, that’s guaranteed.

Here, Stylist contributor Sarah Shaffi shares her thoughts on the show’s Christmas special…

1. Ah, Christmassy music and that famous Welsh street. We’re back!

2. Now this is a lovely throwback to the first episode – Gavin and Stacey miles apart and talking on the phone.

3. And they’re talking about passwords and tech!

4. THREE children?! It seems a lot has changed in the last 10 years.

5. Of course Pam would pack her own mince pies when going to stay with Gwen. And her own towels. And insect spray. And mattress topper. Of course she would.

Gavin & Stacey Christmas special: all your favourite characters are back, and there's going to be some drama.
Gavin & Stacey Christmas special: all your favourite characters are back, and there's going to be some drama.

6. Oh, I have seriously missed Pam and Mick. They were, and remain, serious #couplegoals.

7. Anyone else predict that Bryn’s cardigan is going to be an inspiration for many an autumn/winter 2020 collection? Just a thought…

8. I am very into Bryn using walkie talkies to ensure his Christmas dinner goes without a hitch. This is the kind of planning I like. It’s also the kind of planning that’s definitely going to fall apart.

9. After years of seeing James Corden in dapper suits for his late night show, it’s a little disconcerting to see him back in Smithy’s trademark tracksuit top again.

10. I’ve just noticed Gavin is no longer wearing his earring. What does it all mean?

11. Hmm, does this Sonia actually exist? I am very suspicious.

12. Ah, Nessa. She definitely has BDE, right?

13. Am I reading too much into the fact that the last episode of series three ended with Smithy disrupting a wedding, and he’s planning on proposing in this episode?

14. Dawn and Pete are every bit as dramatic as ever. I love it.

15. Thanks a lot, Corden and Jones: I don’t think I’ll be able to listen to Time After Time ever again.

16. Find someone who takes your every quirky behaviour in stride, just as Smithy takes Nessa (dressed as a Victorian gentleman) in his.

17. This debate about the best service stations in the UK is definitely one I’ve had with friends. For what it’s worth, I love Newport Pagnell.

18. Oh Bryn, I really didn’t realise how much I was missing your bizarre stories until now.

19. Smithy should be embarrassed by this awful smoochy voice. It’s genuinely even worse than the baby-talk he used to pour down the phone at Lucy (remember Lucy? She got 90% on her driving theory test, she was always busy doing her D of E and, just like Sonia, we never ever saw her).

20. “I don’t want us to stop being Stacey and Gavin. I want us to be us.” *starts weeping*

21. Is Nessa really serenading Smithy with a rendition of The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York?

22. Ah. Well, to be honest, this morning-after scene is hardly unexpected, is it?

23. I told you dinner prep wasn’t going to go smoothly.

24. Oh dear, it seems Sonia does exist. This can’t be good.

25. Why is Smithy putting on a posh voice to introduce Sonia to everyone? It is so clear these two are not suited to each other.

26. Cannot believe we had to wait 45 minutes for Nessa to ask someone: “What’s occurring?”

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27. To be fair to Nessa, her gift of taps is probably much more useful than most Christmas presents.

28. The fishing trip! We’re finally going to find out what happened on the fishing trip!

29. No. Way. Are you serious?!

30. Oh Smithy, your family loves you for who you are. Never let anyone tell you that Gavin, Stacey, Pam, Mick, Gwen, Bryn and Nessa aren’t your family.

31. This declaration of love is just perfection.

32. THAT’S HOW IT ENDED!

The Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special aired on Christmas Day at 8:30pm on BBC One. The episode is available to watch on BBC iPlayer for those who missed it.

Images BBC

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Sarah Shaffi

Sarah Shaffi is a freelance journalist and editor. She reads more books a week than is healthy, and balances this out with copious amounts of TV. She writes regularly about popular culture, particularly how it reflects and represents society.

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