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Why The Gavin & Stacey 2008 Christmas Special Is A Festive Masterpiece

Written by on December 25, 2021

The 2008 Gavin and Stacey Christmas special

While every year there are moans and groans about the Christmas TV schedules being packed with repeats, there’s one show that we definitely don’t mind watching again and again – the original Gavin & Stacey Christmas special. 

The BBC sitcom had been running for two seasons by the time we got the first festive episode in 2008, and what a Christmas special it was.

While we’d seen plenty of interactions between the entire Shipman and West clan in the years previous, there was a real moment of joy seeing them all prepare for their first Christmas together following Gavin and Stacey’s wedding. 

Not only did the hour-long episode deliver on comedy and plot, but it also highlighted all those little Christmas foibles that go on in households up and down the country come 25 December. 

And while it was a burst of nostalgia having the gang back together in 2019 for the much-anticipated reunion episode, there’s something magical about the original that made it such a festive masterpiece.

Here’s why it’s a show that’s worthy of repeat viewing every December…

1. Pam’s stance on Christmas cards

Pam had strong views on when to send Christmas cards

Prior to 2008, we were always baffled as to why some people would send their Christmas cards before December had even rolled around, but Pam Shipman imparted some serious wisdom on us that made us completely reverse our stance. 

“What is the point of sending cards that arrive on Christmas Eve? They’ll get taken down in a few days. That’s why I send all mine on the first of November. Gives people seven weeks to enjoy them,” she said. 

You have to admit, she has a point, right?

2. John who?

Step-brother John!

Speaking of Christmas cards, Pam and Mick also tapped into something we’ve all heard our parents say when they receive a festive greeting from someone they cannot quite place.

“Oh, look at that, ‘From John’… It could be mechanic John… It won’t be John from Ann and John.” 

3. Doris being “absolutely twatted” before lunchtime on Christmas Eve

Oh how we miss Doris

A relatable queen. 

4. Nessa in the grotto

“Oh! Oh! Oh! Merry Christmas” was an inspired piece of writing from Ruth Jones and James Corden. 

5. Gavin and Smithy’s sing-a-long

It’s the scene that inspired James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, and despite the fact he’s had the likes of Adele, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga join him in his car to sing along to their biggest hits, it’s still Smithy’s duet down the phone on Do They Know It’s Christmas? that remains the original and the best. 

We’ve also never been able to say Midge Ure’s name the same way since. 

6. The mint Baileys scene

The scene where Gwen and Bryn share their first ever mint Baileys before boarding the coach to Essex wasn’t big or flashy, but it had a quiet comfort and poignancy about it, which Gavin & Stacey always nails so perfectly.

7. Mick’s turkey saga

The turkey scene in Gavin and Stacey

Are you basting it? Are you soaking it overnight? Are you doing it the Nigella way? Or are you sticking to Jamie Oliver, because you “know where you are with him”?

Through the characters of Mick and Pete, the Christmas special managed to perfectly encapsulate the bizarre obsession and competitiveness dads have with other men about their turkeys each year. 

8. The fight

Pam wasn't exactly thrilled with Gavin's news

Pam’s eruption after finding out her “little prince” was planning on relocating to Barry set off a chain of events that made this scene one of the most memorable in Gavin & Stacey history. 

Not only did Alison Steadman absolutely commit to the moment, but we also saw Gwen finally stand up to Pam, Nessa threaten to “see her outside” (and Pam stupidly believe she could take her on), before Pete went toe-to-toe with Dave Coaches to defend Dawn’s honour.

Admittedly, there’s some language that we’d hope wouldn’t make it into the script in 2021 and we were very pleased when they all put the row behind them. But it has to be said, this scene shook up the dynamic between all the characters and also sent up those fights that happen in every family each festive season. 

9. Pam and Mick’s royal romp

Mick in his comedy Prince Charles ears

We learned that Pam’s obsession with the Duchess of Cornwall translated into the bedroom as she prepared to be “knighted” with Mick’s “special sword” while he was wearing a comedy pair of Prince Charles ears.

10. Pam’s vegetarianism comes unstuck

As “Three Steaks Pam” faced the prospect of a turkey-less Christmas after her long-standing lies about being a vegetarian, it transpired she hadn’t fooled anyone with her stance on meat – except for Gwen that is, who had bought her a vegetarian cookbook for Christmas. 

11. The opening of the “presents”

Nessa and Dave gifted everyone a single chocolate from a box of Celebrations

Never before had we been so eager to see which Celebration someone was eating, and we definitely still relate to Smithy wrapping all his presents in tin foil for ease.

Doris gifting Gwen talcum powder, despite her still having a stack of it unused at home from previous years, was also a foible we’ve seen play out during present openings over the years.

12. The Nessa and Smithy sexual tension

Smithy didn't want Nessa to marry Dave

Years before we got the 2019 Christmas proposal, there was a special moment between Nessa and Smithy that gave fans hope that the characters would finally end up together as Smithy urged her not to marry Dave Coaches. 

13. The end song 

No, you’re crying. 

All episodes of Gavin & Stacey are available to watch on BBC iPlayer. 

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