Gavin & Stacey, BBC1

Did we like it?
“It’s Chriiiisssstmaaasss!” hollers Smithy down the phone to Gavin, and indeed it is. Unlike some Christmas specials whose only relevance to this time of year is the transmission date, our December date with the Shipmans and the Wests was the televisual equivalent of a full turkey dinner, turning up sloshed at midnight mass and answering the door to three sullen youths who give you a load of abuse when asked to expand their carolling repertoire beyond the chorus of ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas.” Plus, it had a decent plot and some killer lines. Marvellous.

What was good about it?
· Nessa doing her bit as Mother Christmas in a grotto on Barry Island seafront – “Oh, oh, oh, Merry Christmas!”
· Smithy waxing lyrical about BandAid’s seasonal hit, written by Bob Geldof and Mature. “Do you mean Midge Ure?” asks Gavin. “I thought it was Mature, as in mature Cheddar” explains Smithy.
· What we love about Gavin & Stacey is that it’s a real ensemble piece. The main protagonists are all well-rounded, and even minor characters such as Dave and Gwen’s neighbour Doris get some fantastic lines. As Doris explains when turning down Bryn’s offer of a mint Baileys, “I’ve been drinking since 10 o’clock this morning, and if truth be told, I’m absolutely twatted…”
· The predictable sub-nuclear fallout from Pam and Smithy when Gavin announces that he’s taking a job in Cardiff and moving down there for six months. (Though we loved Smithy’s initial reaction to the job news, “Cardiff?! You’re going to be knackered, mate. That’s a 7 hour round trip. Every day!”) Within a minute, Pam and Nessa are squaring up, Pete Sutcliffe has decked Dave Coaches and Smithy’s stormed out of the house.
· Smithy’s tip for wrapping Christmas presents – use silver foil. “You just scrunch, and done!”
· Just as Bryn and Jason are about to finally reveal to Dave exactly what went on on that fateful fishing trip, Gavin wanders into the kitchen for a drink – looks like we’ll never know…
· Stacey’s disappointment that her and Nessa don’t get a mention in Russell brand’s ‘Booky Wook’. Even though all three of them had a cracking night. Perhaps Christmas lunch with the in-laws isn’t quite the place to make such a revelation.

What was bad about it?
· Poor old Smithy – what an awful Christmas. His best mate is moving 200 miles away, and the mother of his child has just accepted a marriage proposal from a clap-ridden Cardiff City fan. Can his life get any worse? Chances are we’ll never find out.

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