DVDs in Review #103: Gavin & Stacey: Series Three

[Review for Series Two]

Make no bones about it, for myself Gavin & Stacey is the best British wait no, scratch that Welsh comedy to have come out in recent times (it is actually the best British one, but that's not as important). It's a show which has propelled Barri (That's Barry for all you philistines out there) onto the television map with it's wonderful, sweet story about two people and their families/friends coming together.

More than that though the show holds a little something extra where yours truly is concerned, this is because I grew up for a large portion of my life in the village next door to Barri and growing up it was a place we'd visit on the occasion. Gavin & Stacey embraces the town and the nearby areas by using parts of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan for it's scenes. Even the ones which are allegedly filmed in Essex are in fact filmed in Wales.

This does result in quite a few amused moments for people who are local to the area, but that's no more unusual than the reactions to various parts of Doctor Who - which has used Wales to represent many other places. And of course Torchwood has turned Cardiff Bay into a shrine for the now deceased Ianto. Certainly watching this show with friends and family does result in the 'name that location' game, something I'm only good at when they're using Cardiff itself, I'm not so great on other parts in the Vale.

I could carry on for a long while about the scenes and areas used in the show, and if I let myself - I would. Still, the important thing is the attention to detail the show uses. It's a series about the little things, things which make life the rich experience that it is. It's a series about romance, friendship and the differences between two cultures that geographically and historically are very close, but are absolutely adamant about drawing the line in the sand between them. So much so that people who live in England and Wales do not tend to identify as being 'British' but instead as English or Welsh. For those of you in the States (or elsewhere in the world) I guess this is kind of like the difference between New York and New Jersey.

Sadly for us the third series is the last series for Gavin & Stacey; which is on one hand a crying shame, but on the other hand it's following in the tradition of all the great British sitcoms of recent years - "leave them wanting more". With that it joins more recent shows like Spaced, Black Books, Phoenix Nights and classics like Fawlty Towers.

Like those shows I listed above, Gavin & Stacey also follows another of the great British sitcom traditions - having the writers of the show also act in them and give fantastic performances. James Corden is as great as he was previously in the role of Smithy, but Ruth Jones hits a new high as Nessa - her combination of rude charm, blunt responses and wild past experiences with famous people entertain more than ever; while her adaptation to her new situation with Baby Neil (as opposed to father Neil or grandfather Neil) is just a delight.

The rest of the cast are clearly comfortable in their roles by this stage and there's an innocent enthusiasm about the characters which I find both adorable and funny. Of course the absolute master at this is Rob Brydon, who continues to give a Shakespearean performance that is simultaneously deep and funny - but that should be no surprise for those of you who've watched him solo in Marion & Geoff.

All I can really say is that Series Three is every bit as competent, endearing, enjoyable and laugh out loud funny as the previous series (and specials) were. It's a shame that the show is over, but it's performance didn't have a single bum note and that's something to be proud of. Alongside being Welsh.

Which just leaves me to ask you.

"Oh, what's occurrin'?"

The Extras:
No Longer Occurrin'
Out Takes
Cast Favourite Moments
Photo Gallery

Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Rating: 12
Region: 12
Run time: 2 hours 52 mins
Soundtrack: English
Subtitles: English HOH


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