Gavin and Stacey secrets – feuds, heartbreak from co-star fling, awful reboot

The late noughties brought us some of the best television in TV history, including The Office, Peep Show and The Wire.

But arguably one of the biggest shows that dominated our screens in the early 2000s was Gavin and Stacey which ran for three series.

Fans quickly fell in love with the two families in Barry Island and Billericay with the BBC programme quickly becoming one of the most popular shows on the box.

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And writers James Corden and Ruth Jones forced fans to wait 10 years before they could catch up for the highly anticipated final episode.

But it wasn’t always plain sailing on the TV set, with the cast facing co-star romances to fiery feud rumours.

As adoring fans mark the 16th anniversary of the long-running show, Daily Star has taken a deep dive inside what it was really like to work on the programme.

Rocky romance

Sheridan Smith originally joined the cast as the Rudi, the sister of James Corden's character Smithy, back in 2007.

But in real life, the onscreen siblings entered into a turbulent two-year relationship before they went their separate ways back in 2009.

Shortly after the pair went their separate ways, the former Late Late Show host made it clear he had his eyes fixed on singer Lily Allen after they enjoyed a number of dates together.

He said at the time: "I made it my aim to make Lily mine. I guess we were friends but, for my part, I definitely wanted more than that."

But by the following February, James was back with Sheridan once again, and publicly declared her the "love of my life."

The dad-of-three told The Mirror: "Yes, Sheridan and I are back together and it's going brilliantly. I couldn't be happier. I want to marry my girl."

However, the Two Pints of Larger actress appeared to have different ideas and admitted that marriage couldn't have been further from her mind.

She once said: "I was a lot wilder back then. I wasn't someone who was in a frame of mind of settling down."

The pair finally went their separate ways for good in 2009, James started partying heavily and feared his life was spiralling out of control in the midst of his "heartbreak".

He told The Times: "I was heartbroken and lost. I'd had a relationship with Sheridan which was heartbreaking, when you think something might work and it doesn't. And I felt a bit lost.

"And feeling lost, and feeling heartbroken, and feeling single for the first time in your adult life, at the very moment when you become a little bit famous, is quite a potent mix."

The actor went on to meet charity worker Julia less than 12 months later, who he has since branded the "anchor" in his life.

Co-star ‘feud’

At one point James and his co-star Mathew Horne – who played Gavin in the BBC sitcom – were so close the pair spent almost an entire year together.

James even admitted at the time that they might as well have been "one person", but their friendship hit the rocks after the series ended and a number of joint projects failed to impress fans.

In 2009, their comedy show Horne and Corden was branded "about as funny as credit default swaps" by one journalist while another simply branded it "unfunny and joke-free".

Later that year, their movie Lesbian Vampire Killers was slammed by critics as "badly directed, poorly acted and witlessly scripted" by The Guardian.

Things soon went from bad to worse after both actors said their hosting gig at the BRIT Awards was "so poor" that they couldn't watch it back.

The constant knockbacks put a huge strain on their friendship with rumours soon swirling around the duo that they had gone their separate ways amid claims of a bitter falling out.

James previously recalled: "There was lots of horrible stuff about us… If I have one regret, it was we just rushed those things. We never stopped to think about the work enough.

"We did our own sketch show but the reaction was fierce. It was hard to go through that. We were riding this amazing wave and then it just dropped.

"In one year we spend 263 days together and we went from that to nothing."

James went on to front Sky 1's League of Their Own before he landed a £10, three-year deal to front The Late Late Show in the heart of Hollywood.

And while reports claimed he and Mathew had stopped speaking "for a few months" their friendship was soon lost.

In 2011, James spoke little about his former co-star in his interview with Piers Morgan, where he confessed that they only spoke "occasionally" before it was revealed that Mathew had declined to appear on the programme.

But it appears as though the duo have moved passed their disagreement, after Mathew gushed over his pal as he continued to thrive in Los Angeles.

Speaking to The Mirror in 2016, he said: "Jealousy isn't something I do – I am not a jealous person. I am thrilled and about the success he is having.

"It is what he always wanted and I haven nothing but happiness and encouragement for what he is doing. We never said we were going to be a double act and would work together for ever."

Second thoughts

In 2019, James and Ruth finally answered fans calling for a reunion Christmas special, but the highly-anticipated special didn't go as easily as they first thought.

Once the pair finished the first draft, the pair decided to pull the plug on the entire episode when they realised it was ""absolutely awful".

Ruth, who played Nessa on the show, told the Daily Mail at the time: "When we did our first read-through it just wasn't working. We just stopped everything. It was a horrible feeling… it felt absolutely awful.

"We both had to admit it was over. So we sat down to dinner with our partners after making the decision to stop.

"Obviously the mood wasn't great, and we had this very pedestrian conversation as we sat around the table."

Luckily, the pair managed to rework the final episode after one conversation suddenly inspired them and left James in tears.

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Ruth continued: "Within two or three hours, we'd worked up that exact pedestrian conversation into this perfect Gavin and Stacey scene.

"Then James started crying because it was a completely unexpected breakthrough and it was just perfect. I cried too.

"It was very emotional because somehow we'd got it back. We knew we could make it happen. And then – bang! – we were on a roll. Everything just worked and we had that spark back."


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