When it was announced that Gavin & Stacey would return for a new Christmas special, fans all over the UK were so excited for Smithy, Nessa and the gang to return.
But no one was more excited than the cast themselves. In fact, Ruth Jones has confessed that Joanna Page and Alison Steadman didn’t pick up the phone at first when she and co-writer James Corden called to tell them the news, as they thought it was a prank!
In a chat with our sister publication Woman, Ruth, 53, reveals just what fans can expect from the one-off episode, what it was like to get back into Nessa’s iconic leather, and why she won’t rule out even more Gavin & Stacey in the future…
Hi Ruth! So, Gavin & Stacey is coming back for Christmas. How did it happen?
Ever since it finished in 2010, James and I have always secretly texted each other ideas for characters, and then every now and again, one of us would say, ‘Could we do some more?’ But obviously James does The Late Late Show in LA every day, so we had to find time when he could double-record the show and take a few days off for us to spend time writing it.
Was it hard keeping it a secret?
Yes! I did a talk with Matt Lucas the day before I knew we were going to be announcing it, and I was sat there with him asking me whether Gavin & Stacey was coming back. I was like a politician trying to dodge the question. The next day, I had to email Matt and say, ‘I’m so sorry for blatantly lying to you.’
What was it like getting back into Nessa’s costumes?
I just adore Nessa because when I’m playing her, I feel brave and so at ease, and it’s so liberating. Sometimes people want to have photos with you and because they get excited, they put their arms around you. And as Nessa, I can go, ‘Oh, love! Don’t manhandle me. Who do you think you are?’
How’s your relationship with James?
The journey we’ve been on, we can argue, and we have a very brother-sisterly relationship, but our friendship, at the heart of it, is so strong, and I’m so proud of the journey we’ve been on together.
Margaret John, who played Doris in Gavin & Stacey, died in 2011. What was it like filming this episode without her?
The biggest sadness for me was not having Doris there. Maggie was such a special woman and such an incredibly talented actress, so we wanted to make sure we paid homage to her in the best way possible. There’s a scene where everyone raises a glass to her, but Nessa doesn’t, and I hope, Maggie, if you’re up there watching, you’re having a laugh and sharing Christmas with us.
The episode ends on a huge cliffhanger. Does that mean there will be more?
Hand on heart, there is no plan for more. No one is ever going to believe me again, but there is no plan. But obviously, there is room for it to move on, so all I’m going to say now is… who knows?
The Gavin & Stacey special will be on BBC1 on Christmas Day