Gavin & Stacey Christmas Review: Christmas Cracker

December 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

GAVIN & STACEY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, Wednesday 24TH December, BBC1, 10:00PM Alert me

As far as Christmas specials go, American television shows and films always tend to be irritatingly unrealistic – all full of schmaltz, gingerbread-sweet sentimentality and perfectly timed snowfalls. And while British programmers may have occasionally missed the mark over the years, this season’s big BBC special is a Rudolph-nose-bright shining example of how to capture and distil all the things the majority of us know and love about Christmas into a festive hour-long episode.

After a steady progression up the ranks of the BBC’s, Gavin and Stacey finally make their BBC1 debut with this Christmas special. As far as plots go, it’s pretty simple. It’s Christmas. Everyone heads to Essex to celebrate. Gavin reveals he’s got a job in Cardiff. Chaos ensues.

While it’s a comedy, this show truly captured the attention of the nation because of its heart. James Corden and Ruth Jones know these characters so well that every scene is filled with nuanced glances, understated tics and knowing in-jokes. While Stacey takes up valuable title space, this is, and always has been, about Gavin and Smithy’s loveable bro-mance, and with Gav’s new job threatening to take him away from home and Smithy’s young son on the scene, the whole cast (and especially Corden) deliver more than enough moments of charm and warmth to make it work on a dramatic as well as comedic level.

For those uninitiated to the cause, there’s more than enough here to sate your Christmas itch. In fact, it’s the insanely relatable and markedly well-observed festive occurrences that really help it rise from a ‘New Gavin & Stacey Episode’ to ‘A Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special’.

It’s all here – arguments, cheesy (yet oddly loveable) Christmassy music, bad cracker jokes, awkward silences, family fights, board games and that festive mainstay (well at least at my place), the bewildered elderly.

But who am I to talk?  I should just pass it over to the show’s very characters. Gwen pops round to her elderly next door neighbour’s at lunchtime to wish her a Merry Christmas. Only thing is, she’s been enjoying the Christmas spirits a little too much.

“To be honest Gwen, I’ve been drinking all day and to be fair, I’m completely twatted.?

“Well? Gwen says, “That’s what Christmas is all about isn’t it??

Isn’t it just.

By Matt Risley