Joanna Page and Ruth Jones, stars of the final series of Gavin & Stacey, tell TV Times what to expect…
So we see Nessa’s baby christened in the first episode. Was that fun?
Joanna: “Oh my God it was brilliant! It was one of those scenes where I literally couldn’t control myself. I was laughing so much through the filming, I’m surprised they got close-ups of us with straight faces! Behind the pew, where Maggie was, Ted, our producer stood with a pen and was lifting it up and down as a cue for her to hit the drum. But they still got it wrong! It was one of the funniest things ever.”
So it was very different to your last day of filming?
Joanna: “That day was awful. It was devastating because you work so intensely with each other and then you separate.”
Ruth: “I’ve still got Nessa’s wig and a couple of the Welsh dragon tattoos left! I felt very sad because we’ve all become such good friends. I live in Cardiff and everyone would come to me when we were filming; it just became a lovely experience for all of us. So when we came to the last day, there were a few tears shed.”
Joanna: “We all had Gavin & Stacey T-shirts that said, ‘Not occurring any more!’. Melanie Walters, who plays Stacey’s mum, Gwen, gave me a book called Cooking for Dogs because I’ve got a Jack Russell called Daisy who I’m obsessed with. She said I can start by learning how to cook for her and then I can progress on to my husband! Wonder if it that includes a recipe for Gwen’s famous omelettes?”
What do you think makes the show such a success?
Ruth: “We take something that is recognisable and resonates with people. This series, there’s a scene where everyone gets together for a curry at Gavin’s mum and dad’s in episode two and it was actually eight pages talking about curry! If you look for a dramatic meaning, or metaphor, there isn’t one. It’s about recognition.”
Joanna: “When I first read the part of Stacey, I thought, ‘Oh my God, I know exactly what she’s like!’ Her family is very similar to mine. My mother always makes omelettes and when I was leaving home to go to study at RADA in London, my uncle came round with a rape alarm because they were worried about me going to the big city!”
So why is now the time to say farewell?
Ruth: “These characters are very loved and the world in which they’re living in is very loved by the audience and it seemed that to keep going, we would dilute the potency that it has. This world was created when Gavin met Stacey and all their friends and family came together and we, as an audience, dipped into their lives, stayed with them for a while and now it’s time to leave and let them get on with it.”
Joanna: “Sob! I think it’s nice the way it’s been left. It’s a strong ending and I don’t know how they’d really top it.”
Ruth: “We might write a special in a couple of years. James and I will write together again because we love it. We’d like to write a film.”
Joanna: “Maybe a comeback in 20 years’ time when we’ve all aged and look really rough – that would be funny!”
*Gavin & Stacey screens on BBC One on Thursday nights*