James Corden and Ruth Jones performed a Christmas miracle in 2019. After announcing that they were bringing back their acclaimed BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey for a one-off Christmas special fans were excited but nervous. Could it ever be as good? The answer was a resounding yes, with monster ratings and great reviews all round. Although we never did find out what happened on that fishing trip…
The original series followed Gavin (Mathew Horne), from Essex, England, who strikes up a long-distance relationship with Stacey (Joanna Page), from Barry, Wales. The show also explored the impact their romance has on their friends and family. After a nine-year hiatus, the hour-long special brought the original cast back together including Rob Brydon, Alison Steadman and Larry Lamb.
- COMMENT: The return of Gavin & Stacey is the biggest news in British comedy for a decade – and the biggest responsibility
So, as we wait with baited breath to hear if the show will come back again, we wonder what’s been occurring for the Gavin & Stacey cast in the past decade? Read on to find out…
James Corden — played Smithy
Who did James Corden play in Gavin & Stacey? Corden played Neil “Smithy” Smith, Gavin’s best friend from Essex. An immature joker, he has a child with Nessa Jenkins following a one-night stand, and talks her out of marrying her boyfriend Dave. The pair have stuck to their ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement for a long time, but Smithy was taken aback when Nessa proposed to him last Christmas. We await his answer…
What has James Corden done since Gavin & Stacey? After creating Gavin & Stacey alongside Ruth Jones, Corden went on to win a Tony Award for his performance in One Man, Two Guvnors; hosted the Brits, Tonys and Grammys; and became the host of The Late Late Show across the pond, racking up millions of YouTube hits with his Carpool Karaoke series. He also co-wrote and starred in BAFTA-nominated series The Wrong Mans with Matthew Baynton, and hosted Sky1 sports panel show A League of their Own for 13 series.
— James Corden (@JKCorden) May 28, 2019
Ruth Jones — played Nessa
Who did Ruth Jones play in Gavin & Stacey? Jones played Stacey’s best mate from Barry, Vanessa “Nessa” Jenkins. Heavily tattooed and with a secretive past, she’s also fiercely loyal and coined the show’s best catchphrases, including ‘Tidy’ and ‘Oh! What’s occurring?’ She had a complicated romantic past, allegedly involving the likes of John Prescott and Richard Madeley, but unbeknownst to both of them it was the father of her child who stole her heart. Nessa eventually proposed to Smithy on Christmas Day but the credits rolled before he could answer.
What has Ruth Jones done since Gavin & Stacey? In addition to writing and starring in six series of Wales-set comedy drama Stella for Sky1, Jones has acted in various shows including BBC4’s Hattie, a biopic of Carry On actress Hattie Jacques, and has written a best-selling novel, Never Greener. Her new book ‘Us Three’ is due to be released this year.
Joanna Page — played Stacey
Who did Joanna Page play in Gavin & Stacey? Page played Stacey West, a young woman from Barry, Wales, who begins speaking to Gavin every day on the phone at work, before starting a long-distance relationship with him. After a few stumbling blocks the couple married, and the New Year’s Day 2010 special ended with Stacey announcing that she was pregnant. When we rejoined them for the Christmas special, Gavin and Stacey had three kids and were still very much in love, despite Stacey’s worries that they were drifting apart.
What has Joanna Page done since Gavin & Stacey? Since 2010, Page has appeared in various television shows, including BBC1’s The Syndicate, Sky Living’s The Gates and Doctor Who’s ‘The Day of the Doctor’ episode, in addition to the film Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger. She also took a six year break from acting to raise her three children with her husband, former Emmerdale actor James Thornton.
Mathew Horne — played Gavin
Who did Mathew Horne play in Gavin & Stacey? Horne played the eponymous Gavin Shipman, a young man from Essex who falls in love with a girl from Barry. The series centres around their relationship, as well as Gav’s friendship with best mate Smithy.
What has Mathew Horne done since Gavin & Stacey? Horne continued to work with James Corden for a while, but they went their separate ways when they couldn’t find the success they’d enjoyed with Gavin & Stacey. Horne co-starred in the much-anticipated Dad’s Army remake and has appeared in shows such as Porters, Agatha Raisin, Miss Marple and Death in Paradise.
Rob Brydon — played Uncle Bryn
Who did Rob Brydon play in Gavin & Stacey? Brydon played Uncle Bryn, a bachelor who lives across the street from Stacey and his sister-in-law, Stacey’s mum Gwen. He’s haunted by an unspecified incident that took place on a fishing trip with his nephew but is otherwise endlessly chipper. He’s always impressed by the wonders of modern technology, especially sat navs.
What has Rob Brydon done since Gavin & Stacey? Brydon continues to be one of Britain’s most in-demand comedy actors. He presents BBC1’s popular comedy panel show Would I Lie to You? and stars opposite friend Steve Coogan in four series of The Trip. He has also starred in a number of films.
Alison Steadman — played Pam
Who did Alison Steadman play in Gavin & Stacey? Steadman played Gavin’s doting mum, Pam Shipman. She loves Camila Parker Bowles, pretends to be vegetarian (at least in Gwen’s company) and her catchphrase is, ‘Oh my Christ!’ She was horrified when she heard her ‘little Prince’ Gavin would be getting married on ‘Barry’s Island’ but is generally supportive of the relationship. She also treats Gavin’s best friend Smithy like her second son.
What has Alison Steadman done since Gavin & Stacey? Steadman was a hugely successful actress long before Gavin & Stacey and continues to be, with a string of varied roles. She recently starred in comedy Hold The Sunset, drama Butterfly, and reunited with fellow Gavin & Stacey star Sheridan Smith in BBC drama Care. She has also appeared in Orphan Black and Inside No. 9, and made a guest appearance on The Archers.
Larry Lamb — played Mick
Who did Larry Lamb play in Gavin & Stacey? Lamb played Michael “Mick” Shipman, Gavin’s father. He runs his own company and is happy to indulge his wife Pam’s Princes Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles fantasies. Level-headed and good at welcoming guests when they arrive, he’s great in a crisis, as he proved on the fateful night that Smithy realised he was going to be a dad.
What has Larry Lamb done since Gavin & Stacey? Lamb is also well-known for playing villain Archie Mitchell in EastEnders, at the same time as Gavin & Stacey was airing. He also played Ted Case in the long-running series New Tricks, starred in Pitching In, Love & Marriage, and appeared on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2016. He often appears on TV with his presenter son George Lamb.
Sheridan Smith — played Ruth
Who did Sheridan Smith play in Gavin & Stacey? Smith played Ruth Smith (better known as Rudi), Smithy’s mouthy younger sister. She and Smithy performed an exceptional rendition of Kanye West’s rap from the song American Boy down the phone to Gav.
What has Sheridan Smith done since Gavin & Stacey? Following Gavin & Stacey, Smith went on to a stratospheric career, winning BAFTAs for roles in dramas Cilla and Mrs Biggs. She’s appeared on the West End stage in shows like Legally Blonde, Funny Girl and Joseph, and more recently starred in BBC drama Care and the ITV drama series Cleaning Up. Her ability to play serious and funny roles, and to always be relatable to audiences, has made her one of the country’s best-loved actresses. She has recently signed up to host a BBC competition series about dog grooming, indulging her love of pets.
Smith is currently expecting her first child.
The hour-long Gavin & Stacey special aired on Christmas Day 2019 on BBC1. We await news of any further specials or a new series.