“Oh, what’s occurin’?” Well what it is, see, is that all episodes of Gavin & Stacey are now available on BBC iPlayer, and to be honest with you, we thought it was well time for a rewatch. So, you better order yourself a chicken bhuna, lamb bhuna and prawn bhuna, mushroom rice, bag of chips, keema naan and 9 poppadums…and tuck into this telly treat. But nobody mention the fishing trip…
If you ask us, this is like the British version of Friends. Not because it’s about some city-dwelling, twenty-something-year-olds and their oft failing love lives, but because it’s one of those shows that makes you chuckle no matter how many times you’ve seen it. We can watch old Doris hit on Gavin a hundred times and still laugh, or hear Smithy recite the above takeaway order and still giggle, and absolutely every time Pam cries “oh my Christ!”, we crack a smile. It’s just one of those shows. So naturally, we’re chuffed that the whole boxset is now available to stream, including both Christmas specials.
In case you’ve never been exposed to the delights of Gavin & Stacey, you probably haven’t understood any of this review so far, so let us catch you up. The titular Gavin (Matthew Horne) and Stacey (Joanna Page) are the show’s leading couple, who meet after talking on the phone at work. Only problem is, Gavin lives over in Essex, and Stacey lives in Wales’s Barry Island. However, this is your classic big love story, and no distance will get in their way – they meet, have a shag in a premier inn, and then promptly declare their love for each other. Before you know it, they’re getting married and their very British but very different families are blended together, with mixed results.
And to be honest, as much as we love Gav and Stacey, it’s their families we’re really watching for. Hilariously dramatic Pam (Alison Steadman) and softly-spoken Mick (Larry Lamb) are brilliant as Gavin’s parents, especially when paired up with their neighbours, Dawn (Julia Davis) and Pete (Adrian Scarborough), who can’t keep their marriage on the rails. And the family in Barry are just as entertaining, with Stacey’s mum, the pushover Gwen (Melanie Walters) and her camp and eccentric Uncle Bryn (Rob Brydon). However the cherries on this comedy cake are of course Smithy and Nessa, played by the show’s creators Ruth Jones and James Corden.
Whilst Corden is now off basking in the glory of Hollywood fame, it’s great to watch this and see where he started. And a lot of people will likely prefer him here – this is proper, British comedy, poking fun at our weird little ways and how geography can have such an impact on routines and norms in British households. The jokes will make you belly-laugh, but they’re rarely mean, and so each episode is half an hour of good fun, giggles, and sometimes family drama. But in the words of Pam, “It’s the drama Mick, we just love it!” And we’re sure you will too.
First shown May 2007. You can watch a clip from the show by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here.