Gavin and Stacey creators Ruth Jones and James Corden feared they were being “naïve” after their first draft of the Christmas special wasn’t “good enough”.
Jones flew to Corden’s house in Los Angeles to secretly work on a script nearly a decade after the sitcom wrapped, but the pair – who played Nessa and Smithy, respectively – struggled to balance the storyline with the characters’ quirks.
“We’d confused ourselves in thinking there needed to be an absolute narrative arc – there was so much in the story, there was no room for the characters to breathe,” Corden told Radio Times.
“We’d written about 40 pages, and we sat and we read it […] and we both went ‘this just isn’t good enough. It doesn’t feel like the show. It doesn’t feel like it’s right’. There was a real silence in this room […] a sense of maybe we were too naïve to think we could pick it up.”
Jones said they stopped writing for a day and later discussed what the script was lacking over dinner with their partners Julia Carey and David Peet.
“We did then identify what it was,” Jones said. “There needed to be a heart to it, a big moment that resonated.”
Corden added: “We went round and round, and it was probably about midnight – Ruth here with her laptop, me pacing around – and as soon as we had let it go, an idea arrived, maybe the quickest scene we’ ever written, really.
“And as soon as that scene was finished, we had no choice. We said, ‘well now we have to make it’.”
Gavin and Stacey followed the love story between the two titular characters (played by Matthew Horne and Joanna Page) as they formed a long distance relationship between Wales and Essex over the phone before meeting, falling in love and starting a family.
The sitcom aired over three series, plus a Christmas special, from 2007 to 2010 on the BBC.
Rob Brydon, Larry Lamb, Melanie Walters and Alison Steadman will all reprise their roles for the Christmas Day special next month.