James Corden came up with the idea for Gavin & Stacey at a wedding reception. He recalled his own best mate called Gavin who first ‘met’ his wife when she phoned up his work. He developed the idea with his writing partner Ruth Jones, whom he’d met on the set of ITV’s Fat Friends.
At first Corden and Jones only intended it to be on-off, but the BBC commissioned them for a full series. The series went on to be a huge success, garnering numerous awards and moving from BBC Three to BBC Two to BBC One.
Casting Gavin and Stacey
Mathew Horne and Joanna Page won the lead roles during an audition, when producers spotted the chemistry between the pair.
Alison Steadman had worked with the pair on Fat Friends so was offered the part of Gavin’s mum Pam. Rob Brydon (Uncle Bryn) had been to school with Jones, Julia Davis (Dawn) had worked with Jones on Nighty Night, Adrian Scarborough (Pete) had appeared in the play The History Boys with Cordon, as had a number of actors that would crop up as Gavin’s friends.
Green green beach of home
Although set in Billericay and Barry, the show was mainly filmed in Cardiff, although for the family beach outing did make use of Barry Island’s prom – with the show since credited with an up-swing in the resorts popularity.
The Corden and Jones Show
In the run-up to series two, Corden said "It's the show that we wanted to make. If people like it, they like it: if they don't, they don't. That's a nice feeling, that's quite freeing... There's more of a journey and more of a story. We hope the viewers will feel like they've been taken on a little trip by it.”
Friends and Family
The American TV network have commissioned a pilot for a US remake of the show. Renamed Friends and Family, several UK papers have reported that if a success it will make Cordon and Jones millionaires.
Barry Islands in the Stream
In an episode featuring Gwen’s birthday party, Bryn and Nessa perform the Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers hit Islands in the Stream. For the 2009 Comic Relief appeal, this was recorded as Barry Islands in the Stream and it went to number one in the charts. In a sketch broadcast during Red Nose Day night, Bryn and Nessa compete in the World Karaoke Championships in Las Vegas. Tom Jones and Robin Gibb also appeared.
In another sketch for Comic Relief, James Corden appeared as Smithy who bumps into the England football team and proceeds to give his own pep talk. A ‘sequel’ was shot for the 2010 Sports Relief appeal featuring Smithy reducing Sue Barker and Gary Lineker to tears, when he is presented with a coaching gong at the Sports Personality of the Year Awards. Footage of him coaching Tom Daley, Andrew Flintoff, Andy Murray, Jenson Button, David Beckham and the Manchester United team was included.
Another episode of Smithy was filmed for the 2011 Comic Relief appeal with a host of stars, including Sebastian Coe, Gordon Brown, Keira Knightley, Richard Madeley, Clare Balding, Justin Bieber and Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appearing, to name but a few.