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Series / Gavin & Stacey

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The main cast of Gavin & Stacey.characters 

Gavin & Stacey is a comedic British Series (2007-2010) about Gavin, a man from Essex, and Stacey, a woman from Barry, Wales. The programme follows their developing relationship and eventual marriage. Most of the humour is character driven, with the central couple playing the Straight Man to their eccentric families and friends.

Seriously popular too. It moved from BBC3 and an audience of 500,000 to BBC1 where the final two episodes had an audience in excess of 10,000,000. Despite a decade’s gap between episodes, the Christmas Day 2019 episode drew an audience of 11.6 million viewers on the night and was the biggest audience on that day in over a decade. After iPlayer requests were added, it had the highest viewing figures for a scripted programme during The New '10s and the largest audience for a comedy since 2002.

The show's creators, James Corden and Ruth Jones, star as the Beta Couple, Smithy and Nessa. Supporting characters include Gavin's parents, Mick and Pamela; Stacey's mum, Gwen, and her uncle Bryn.

Not to be confused with Ned & Stacey.

This show provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The spin-off book From Barry To Billericay covers quite a bit of backstory, particularly with regard to Stacey's five previous engagements. The fishing trip remains a Noodle Incident, however.
  • Almighty Janitor: Nessa, given her somewhat eventful stories...
  • Ambiguously Gay: Bryn.
  • Anger Override: When Gavin finds out that Stacy has been off the the pill for a year without telling him in an attempt to get pregnant, his justifiably angry reaction is almost immediately overridden by concern when Stacy points out that it’s been a year and she still isn’t pregnant, so there must be something wrong.
  • Arc Words: "You say it first, and I'll say it back." Gavin and Stacey say this to each other when declaring their love for each other for the first time on Barry Island, then repeat the exchange many years later in the 2019 Christmas special.
  • Babies Ever After: The final episode of the original series reveals that Stacy’s pregnant with her first child. The 2019 Christmas special reveals Gavin and Stacy would go on to have three children.
  • The Baby Trap: Stacey stops taking her pill without telling Gavin in an attempt to get pregnant so they will have to move out of his parents' house. Nessa gives her a short dressing down about how this is a "very manipulative" thing to do.
  • Beach Episode: The penultimate episode, broadcast on Christmas Day 2009.
  • Beauty Inversion: Look for a clip of Ruth Jones when she's not playing Nessa, and then quietly marvel at how much effort must have gone into making her look that rough.
  • Beta Couple: Inverted - while Smithy and Nessa do play this role to Gavin and Stacey, their relationship is far less stable at any given time in the series. In many ways, despite the show's title, they become the primary couple in series two and three.
  • Big Eater: Smithy. Sharing food orders is a major Berserk Button for him.
  • Bilingual Bonus: For Welsh-speakers, the below exchange.
    Pam: You know, I've no idea what my name means in Welsh.
    Nessa: Why.
    Pam: I don't speak the lingo, darling.
    Nessa: No, Pam in Welsh means Why.
    Pam:: Oh.
    Nessa: Or Brick.
    • A lot of Dick Powell's lines - exclusively spoken in Welsh - also double as this.
  • The Cameo: Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott (who Nessa has claimed to have slept with) appeared at Nessa and Dave's wedding.
    • Noel from Hear'say, who Nessa mentioned having lived with, cameos in Nessa and Dave's wedding episode as well.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "O!, what's occurrin'?"; "Truth be told..."
    • "I won't lie to you"
    • "I'll tell you for why..."
    • "Lush!"
    • "Oh my Christ!"
    • Tidy!
    • "GAVLAR!"
    • Chinese Alan's "Did someone order a Chinese?!"
    • "Neil. The baby."
  • Celebrity Paradox: In the first Christmas special, Mick asks when EastEnders is on - which the actor has also starred in. And then everyone starts reminisicing about EastEnders and doing impressions... except Mick.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: A mild case in series two, but there's still plenty of comedy.
  • Children Raise You: With a dash of Coming of Age Story for Smithy... eventually.
  • Christianity is Catholic: Discussed. At one point, Pam crosses herself, only for Mick to point out that she's not Catholic. Pam says that she thought everyone did it because Brenda Fricker used to do it in Casualty.
  • Christmas Special: Had one between Series 2 and 3 that aired on Christmas Day in 2008, and another one in 2019.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Jesus and Luggy, two of Gavin and Smithy's friends. Jesus never appears again after the stag episode, but given he's The Friend Nobody Likes it's likely he was just kicked out of the group. As for Luggy, he appears in the first two seasons yet doesn't turn up in the third.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Smithy's ditzy friend and fellow builder Deano sometimes strays into this, as when he refuses to go bowling as he's 'scared of the shoes.'
    • Also Dick Powell, a Welsh Nationalist friend of Bryn's who will only speak Welsh despite Barry Island being 98% monoglot English-speaking.
  • Death by Irony: Nessa mentions her former husband Janet who died while faking his own death.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Little Baby Neil, the baby..."
    • Pam has her moments too: "Your only son has emigrated abroad to another country..."
  • Disposable Fiancé: Ascended Extra Dave Coaches ultimately becomes this for Nessa.
  • Dirty Old Woman: Doris.
  • Disappeared Dad: Stacey's father is revealed to have passed away some years ago. Bryn, who is his brother, frequently references this by ending his sentences with "God rest his soul" whenever he mentions him.
  • Drama Bomb: Lampshaded thusly: "It's like living in Hollyoaks!"
  • Expansion Pack Past: Nessa, who, amongst much else, claims to have worked in a circus (apparently as a contortionist), been married to a drug dealer, and worked in Harrods where she had affairs with men heavily implied to be Mohamed Al-Fayed and his son Dodi before he met Princess Diana. Her father and her sometime boyfriend Dave both appear to have escaped from Shameless (UK) and it's far from clear at times, to what extent the other characters really know the truth about her.
  • Everybody Knew Already: In the Christmas Episode it is revealed that everyone except for Gwen knew that Pam isn't really a vegetarian.
  • Fan Disservice: Smithy, frequently. The gag involving Nessa's missing thong is probably the worst. Nessa gets some too, including the scene where she's shopping for lingere with Stacey and emerges from the fitting room in a vinyl dominatrix costume.
    • Pete and Dawn's never-quite-successful threesome, involving a young black man recruited from the internet at one point and ending as part of the general Reveal in the pub toilets, probably falls under this heading as well.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Jesus, who never shows up again after the stag party episode.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Gavin, Stacey.... and Smithy.
  • The Ghost: Smithy's girlfriend Lucy.
  • Gilligan Cut: "There's no way you're getting me out in Cardiff tonight!" "I never thought you'd get me out in Cardiff tonight!"
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Gavin and Smithy. Smithy is the neediest of the two, to the point where Gavin's moving away to Cardiff is treated like a custody battle.
  • Homage: Nessa and Dave's wedding uses the song "Suddenly" and similar camera angles in a humourous homage to Charlene and Scott's iconic wedding in Neighbours
  • I Object: No less than quadruple-subverted in the third season finale.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Smithy. While he's an over-emotional and somewhat irritating fellow, you know his heart's in the right place most of the time and he just has trouble expressing himself.
    • Nessa to a lesser extent. Her behaviour fluctuates between being a good friend and being a cheapskate who has no problem using scams to gain money.
    • As the name would suggest, Dirtbox to some extent. He's short-tempered and snappy, but otherwise seems to be a good friend to Gavin and Smithy.
  • The Lad-ette: Rudi, Smithy's sister, who wears Heelys.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Played both ways. When Stacey fails to get pregnant, Gavin is told that due to his low sperm count, it's going to be very hard for him and Stacey to conceive naturally. Of course Stacey ends up pregnant when they're not even trying.
    • Also, Nessa gets pregnant from a one night stand.
  • Living Prop: Gavin and Smithy's friends Luggy, Swede and Gary 'n Simon.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: By UK standards, at least..
  • Longest Pregnancy Ever: Nessa is already pregnant several weeks before Gavin and Stacey's wedding on 6 April 2007, but she doesn't give birth until the summer of 2008 (her "Neil 08.08.08" tattoo in the 2019 special suggests it was 8 August that year, but in any case it is firmly established that Neil will turn 12 in the summer of 2020).
  • Love Overrides the Law: Subverted when Gavin bursts through the guard barrier to get on to the platform at the railway station so he can propose to Stacey before her train pulls out. He thinks it will play out like a romantic movie, but instead he gets crash tackled by armed police who mistake him for a terrorist. Although Gavin is pinned to the ground, the police do pass the ring on to Stacey after first checking that the box contains only a ring. They then drag him down to the police station.
  • Malaproper: Pam.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: The Wests, the Shipmans, and the Sutcliffes. See a pattern?
  • Noodle Incident: The unspecified incident between Bryn and Jason during a fishing trip.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The writers clearly hate these because they show up a lot, including Gavin's overzealous line manager who (inadvertently) nearly splits the title couple up, an overzealous platform guard at Paddington Station who ends up siccing armed police on Gavin when he goes onto the platform to propose to Stacey, and an overzealous tollbooth attendant at the Severn Bridge who Gavin and Smithy lift the ticket barrier and driving past when they get fed up of arguing about 10p.
    • Averted with Gavin's new boss once he moves to Barry Island, who is as patient as can be on his first day and entertains the numerous calls Gavin receives, and seems to share his exasperation with the rather loud present he receives.
  • One-Steve Limit: Subverted. Both Smithy and his little sister Rudi are known as Smithy, which can get confusing; the two fight over the matter at one point, Smithy insisting that she can't use it.
    • Played with in the naming of Nessa and Smithy's baby: she wants to name him after her father, Smithy wants to name him after himself (and by extension his own father and grandfather and so on - it's a family name). The situation is diffused when it turns out they're both called Neil.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Smithy. His real first name is Neil.
    • Gavin and Smithy's friends Budgie, Dirtbox, Jesus and Chinese Alan.
    • There's also mention of two Margarets, so "Japanese Margaret" is used to differentiate.
    • Dave Coaches, who drives coaches. His actual surname is Gooch, but it's only ever mentioned once.
  • Only Sane Man: Gavin, and possibly Mick.
  • Punny Name: Owain Hughes. Partially subverted in that the joke isn't immediately obvious to the English characters, yet several Welsh characters find it funny, as he replies 'No, I do not.'
    • 'Hewer' was a specific job in coal mining. Wales is steeped in mining heritage, so people from there would register the pun 'Owain hews', while people from Essex, which has no history of coal mining, would not.
  • Romantic False Lead: Dave to Nessa, as it turns out.
  • Running Gag: Every time the promenade at Barry Island is shown, a dog runs across it.
  • Series Continuity Error: In an early episode of the first series, Nessa and Mick have this exchange:
    Mick: Do you drive, Nessa?
    Nessa: I don't Mick, which is a pity. I loves a good ride.
    • Then, in the second series, she's seen driving lorries and has apparently been doing so for some time. This could just be Nessa being Nessa, though. The writers admit to their error, but also point out that there is a subtle difference between "don't drive" and "can't drive".
  • Shirtless Scene: Gavin and Smithy. Subverted with massive Fan Disservice in another scene involving Bryn and Smithy working out
  • Shrouded in Myth: Nessa's constant anecdotes about her colourful past give this impression. It's unclear the extent to which she's lying, though the finale clarifies that at least one story, (her affair with John Prescott), canonically happened.
  • Silver Vixen:
    • Smithy frequently flirts with Pamela. It's not entirely clear how much he's kidding...
    • Doris (whose actress was around 80 during filming) seems to have no trouble picking up younger men... ''much'' younger men.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Stacey and Nat. Also, Gwen and Jean.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Smithy and Nessa.
  • Slow Clap: Bryn starts doing this after Smithy vows to support Nessa and their baby. He stops when everyone else just stares at him.
  • Sudden Musical Ending: At the end of the first Christmas special, everybody sings "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".
  • Straight Man: Gavin and Stacey are an ordinary young couple with no particularly interesting quirks. Their family and friends provide all the comedy.
    • Mick also serves as this for the older members of the cast, being level-headed and often bemused by Pam's antics, or having to bring her and Smithy in line.
  • Theme Naming: The three main families are named after serial killers.
  • Twin Telepathy: Smithy and his sister aren't twins, but their minds work on an almost creepily similar wavelength.
  • Unfortunate Names:
    • Three families share a surname with infamous serial killers, a fact which gets the inevitable lampshade hung on it in the series 1 finale.
    • Pete shares both the last and first name with Peter Sutcliffe aka The Yorkshire Ripper, so it's pretty unfortunate when his wife Dawn gets him a personalised hat with "Peter Sutcliffe Loves Golf" on it
  • The Unreveal: In the 2019 special, Bryn and Jason start to explain what happened on the fishing trip, but they hardly get started before Gavin and Stacey's kids rush in and interrupt them.
  • Those Two Guys: Gary and Simon, two non-descript friends of Gavin's regularly alluded to as a pair.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Do you want the corn on the cob?"
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Stacey not only neglects to mention her previous engagements to Gavin, but two seasons later is revealed to have gone off the pill in hopes of getting pregnant so that it will force Gavin to move to Barry with her. Both Gavin and Nessa openly take issue with this.
    • Gavin's dismissive treatment of Stacey's family on their visit to Wales for Gwen's birthday is also far from sympathetic, and acknowledged as such, prompting Stacey to move back to Barry temporarily.