'Gavin & Stacey: Complete Collection'
(Joanna Page, Mathew Horne, Larry Lamb, Alison Steadman, Ruth Jones, et al / 6-Disc DVD / NR / 2011 / BBC Home Video)
Overview: This brand new 'Gavin & Stacey' collection features all 19 episodes of the 3 seasons of the brilliant UK show plus the 2008 Christmas Special on 6 DVDs!
DVD Verdict: For those not in the know, 'Gavin & Stacey' is a British comedy television series. A romantic comedy-drama, the show follows the long-distance relationship of Gavin (Mathew Horne) from Billericay in Essex, England, and Stacey (Joanna Page) from Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales.
The writers of the show, actors James Corden and Ruth Jones, also co-star as Gavin and Stacey's friends Smithy and Nessa. And with other prominent cast members including Rob Brydon, Alison Steadman, Larrie 'The' Lamb and Melanie Walters, the show has gone on to win award after TV award.
The show, of course, follows the romance between Gavin and Stacey. Initially, Gavin lives with his parents, Pam and Mick, and spends his time with his best friend Smithy. Stacey lives with her widowed mother, Gwen, but is frequently visited by her Uncle Bryn and her best friend Nessa. The series follows the key moments in their relationship, as they have their first meeting, meet each other's families, become engaged, get married, look for a house, briefly split up, look for new jobs, and try to conceive.
Both characters provide the emotional core of the story, and the show focusses on the situations that arise when their relationship brings their two differing families together. As a result, episodes often focus on the key events in life that bring wider families and close friends together, such as weddings, christenings, birthday parties and Christmas. However, the show mainly presents the families interacting in deliberately non-dramatic situations; scenarios include visits to the beach and nights out.
Only lasting three series', a significant second storyline also followed the contrasting relationship between Smithy and Nessa, who despite disliking each other, have a succession of one-night stands, which ultimately result in Nessa becoming pregnant and having a baby!
Whilst Gavin and Stacey are the clear main characters throughout, towards the end of the show's run the dramatic emphasis switches slightly from them, as they resolve their distance issues, to Smithy and Nessa, as Nessa becomes engaged to another man.
BUT, did you know that use of the surnames of known English mass murderers for some of the main characters – Shipman, West and Sutcliffe — was condemned by some victims and their relatives?!
Also, although the production team received requests, the show declined to use celebrity guests for cameo roles in the 2008 Christmas special. However, both Noel Sullivan and John Prescott made brief cameo appearances at the end of the final series. The reason? Easy, both figures had formed the basis of long running jokes throughout the series!
In closing, when the show was first broadcast viewers had were 50/50 about their reactions towards it. Some really loved it, but many others just couldn't understand what the press was getting excited about. But, as the episodes progressed, more and more people got hooked in. And, as noted above the show went on to win British Comedy Awards, BAFTAs and countless other accolades! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.