Ruth Jones gives us the lowdown on the third – and, sadly, final – series of Gavin & Stacey

It’s hard to believe it’s only two-and-a-half years since Gavin & Stacey first won our hearts with its mix of warm-hearted comedy and touching romance.

Now the lush, BAFTA-winning comedy is back on BBC1 on Thursdays for a much-anticipated third – and, sadly, final – series.

The colourful, close-knit West and Shipman families from Barry and Billericay will be bowing out in crackin’ style, however.

The new run follows the fallout from last year’s Christmas special when Gavin decided to move to Stacey’s native Wales for his job, as well as the latest twists and turns in Smithy and Nessa’s love-hate relationship, which has already resulted in baby Neil, and seen Smithy beg Nessa not to marry Dave Coaches.

As the series kicks off with Neil’s christening, and the promise of a couple more hilarious musical numbers, we popped down the arcade with Ruth Jones, who plays feisty Nessa and co-writes the show with James Corden, aka Smithy, to find out more…

So, what’s occurin’?
“Well, there are loose ends which we have to tie up because this is the last series. With Gavin moving to Wales, it’s like a mirror image of the situation when Stacey moved to Essex. We also see what happens with Nessa and Dave, and Smithy’s role as a disenfranchised father.”

Will Smithy and Nessa ever get together?
“They don’t have feelings for each other in that way, but there is obviously some connection there. Smithy doesn’t feel it’s right for her to marry Dave Coaches, but we find out what Nessa decides to do.”

What about Uncle Bryn’s fishing trip?
“More will be revealed, but we are keen for people to know it is not illegal. People assume it is sordid and sexual. It’s not, but it does involve soup.”

Are you sad that this is the last series?
“It was terribly sad writing the episodes because it’s the end of an era. In the last week of filming I rang up James on a couple of occasions and wept. It has been such a journey for the two of us.”

Why did you decide to stop now?
“We wanted to give a sense that we dip into these people’s worlds, stay with them for a while and then let them carry on with their lives. But it’s not out of the question that we might do a special a couple of years down the road.”

Will you miss playing Nessa?
“It’s sad saying goodbye to her. When James and I did our last scene together he got choked up because it was the last time he was going to see Nessa. There will always be a little bit of her in me, though. I find myself saying things like ‘I know’, and my husband tells me I really sound like her.”

What do you love about her?
“Her self-confidence is appealing and she is a good friend, non-judgemental, loyal and wise. People who say she’s an old slapper have got her wrong because she is just sexually comfortable with herself. We find out about another of her conquests in the new series.”

Do people shout the show’s catchphrases at you?
“I had a bizarre moment when I went to Downing Street for dinner and sat next to a Japanese lady. I explained to her about the show and she said, ‘What’s occurin?’ in a Japanese accent. It was priceless.”

Are you still amazed at how well the show has done?
“I absolutely can’t believe it. An American version is being made which is mind-blowing. It’s been such a special time in our lives.”

What is the secret of its success?
“We didn’t intend to find a secret ingredient but I think it’s down to the little observations and the ordinariness of people’s lives that hopefully we have captured.”