CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews Gavin and Stacey Christmas special 

Gavin and Stacey Christmas special  

Rating:

Romance doesn’t come easy to some people. Festoon them with mistletoe, drench them in Archer’s peach schnapps and they will still struggle to muster the courage for one peck on the cheek, never mind a declaration of love.

So it meant all the more when burly Nessa, the seafront tattoo artist with forearms like glazed hams and the scowl of Angela Merkel in a bad mood, finally spoke her heart in Gavin And Stacey (BBC1).

Dropping to one knee in front of an amazed Smithy, on the doorstep of their best friends’ terrace house in Barry, South Wales, she grunted: ‘I loves ya.’

So it meant all the more when burly Nessa, the seafront tattoo artist with forearms like glazed hams and the scowl of Angela Merkel in a bad mood, finally spoke her heart in Gavin And Stacey (BBC1)

So it meant all the more when burly Nessa, the seafront tattoo artist with forearms like glazed hams and the scowl of Angela Merkel in a bad mood, finally spoke her heart in Gavin And Stacey (BBC1)

I suspect Ruth Jones and James Corden, who play Nessa and Smithy, brought back their sitcom after a decade away for just this scene. It was the one loose end left dangling when the comedy ended after three series

I suspect Ruth Jones and James Corden, who play Nessa and Smithy, brought back their sitcom after a decade away for just this scene. It was the one loose end left dangling when the comedy ended after three series

What could possibly have been more satisfying at the end of this one-off special? We didn’t realise it, but we’ve been waiting for this moment for ten years.

I suspect Ruth Jones and James Corden, who play Nessa and Smithy, brought back their sitcom after a decade away for just this scene. It was the one loose end left dangling when the comedy ended after three series.

Back in 2010, Stacey (Joanna Page) was thrilled to be expecting a baby, after an agony of failed attempts with hubbie Gavin (Mathew Horne).

We’d left them celebrating with their family and friends on the prom in Barry, and back then it seemed as if nothing more was left to say. Of course it was fun to catch up with all the older characters and hear them nattering on; the script recaptured all the banality and bickering that made the show so lovable.

And Neil-the-baby got his wish, thanks to a riotous night in the pub. When the sun limped up, Nessa and Smithy were in bed together, sleeping off more than just the booze

And Neil-the-baby got his wish, thanks to a riotous night in the pub. When the sun limped up, Nessa and Smithy were in bed together, sleeping off more than just the booze

‘I tell you what,’ said Uncle Bryn (Rob Brydon) to agreement from all as he sipped his schnapps, ‘it’s a cracking motorway, the M4.’

Nothing much had changed, then, except that Gavin and Stacey now had three kids and not a moment to themselves.

But over the years, there’s been that niggling question: What about the odd couple, the ones who couldn’t stand to be together for five minutes even though they had a child, ‘Neil the baby’? Still known to all as Neil-the-baby, even though he was now 12 years old, their son (played by Oscar Hartland with touching devotion to the dad he rarely saw) wanted just one thing for his Christmas treat: His parents, together. Even if they were glaring daggers.

And Neil-the-baby got his wish, thanks to a riotous night in the pub. When the sun limped up, Nessa and Smithy were in bed together, sleeping off more than just the booze.

This was awkward, since Smithy had a new girlfriend – stuck-up Sonia, played by Laura Aikman. It was screamingly obvious that Sonia and Smithy had nothing in common but, just like any family at Christmas, no one wanted to be the first to say so.

Eventually, the ordeal of being around Stacey’s raucous family became too much for Sonia and she rushed away. And on the pavement outside Number 47, Nessa took her chance.

She lit a ciggie. ‘Wanna drag?’ she said, handing it over.

Smithy checked to see that Sonia was gone. Evidently she didn’t approve of him smoking. As he inhaled, Nessa launched into the most tear-jerking speech of this year’s festivities. Nothing else on telly could bring a lump to the throat like this moment.

‘I loves it,’ Nessa growled, ‘an’ if truth be told, I loves you… I knows it’s weird, right, but I do. I loves you with all my heart.’ And then she went down on one knee: ‘So, will you marry me?’

‘What?’ gulped Smithy. And the credits rolled before he could say another word. But Nessa meant business. Christmas was complete.

x

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