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I Knew Gavin & Stacey Was Returning, But Had to Deny It for Ages

I Knew Gavin & Stacey Was Returning, But Had to Deny It for Ages

It might only be summer, but Rob Brydon is already getting questions about the festive season. “I’ve had quite a few times where people have come up to me and said, ‘Hey, I bet you’re looking forward to Christmas,’” he says, adding a dramatic flair with his Welsh accent. He soon realizes they mean “the Gavin & Stacey Christmas thing.”

In May, Ruth Jones and James Corden, co-creators of the beloved series, announced that Gavin & Stacey, which originally aired from 2007 to 2010, will return for one final special episode set to air on Christmas Day. The decision to bring back the show in 2019 initially made Brydon cautious, worried it might ruin the high note on which it ended. However, it broke BBC viewing records.

Brydon plays Uncle Bryn, a character beloved for his earnestness, excitement, and slight obliviousness. Almost immediately after the special was confirmed, fans began approaching him on the street. “When I stop and think about how long it’s been, it’s quite hard to get your head around,” he says, bemused. He adds that the show’s enduring popularity remains a constant in his life.

Brydon shares a long-standing friendship with both Jones and Corden. He even famously called out Corden for what the latter termed “brattish” behavior following the initial success of Gavin & Stacey. Just before the official announcement, the news leaked to the press, and Brydon and his castmates had to deny it because no deals had been finalized yet.

Filming for the special will begin in the autumn. The tight schedule aims to accommodate the ensemble cast’s various commitments. Brydon reflects on the ongoing impact Gavin & Stacey has had, noting that there isn’t a week that goes by without someone mentioning it to him or asking about the series’ many inside jokes.

Beyond Uncle Bryn, Brydon has enjoyed a diverse career. After studying drama in Cardiff, he delved into radio, voice-over work, and even shopping channel presenting. A tape of his character sketches eventually found its way to Steve Coogan, leading to the creation of comedies like Marion and Geoff and Human Remains.

Brydon and Coogan have also starred in four seasons of The Trip, an improvised comedy where they traverse Europe’s best restaurants, often trying to outdo each other with their Michael Caine impressions. Brydon is no stranger to mimicking others, a fact he demonstrates frequently during conversations. He has also hosted the panel show Would I Lie to You? since 2009, acted alongside Kenneth Branagh in the West End, and launched a podcast.

His latest project takes him in a new direction: a role in My Lady Jane, a Prime Video period drama based on a YA novel. It reimagines Tudor history with a fantastical twist. Brydon plays a fictionalized version of Lord Dudley, a scheming figure trying to maneuver Lady Jane Grey and his son onto the throne. The role attracted him partly because it deviates from his usual “warm, avuncular” type.

Working on a streaming platform differed significantly from British TV. “The production values and the budget are really more akin to a movie than a TV series,” Brydon explains.

He even grew a goatee beard to embody the period character, a decision he jokingly regretted during the seven-month shoot. Comments on his YouTube podcast teased his new look, reflecting the mixed opinions often found online.

Brydon didn’t dive deep into historical research for the role, jokingly admitting he ordered but didn’t read a book on Lord Dudley. However, he did consider infusing one of his many impressions into the character. “There’s a very famous British politician [and] I thought I could play it like him,” he reveals, although ultimately deciding against it.

On the issue of color-conscious casting in historical dramas, Brydon was cautious, suggesting opinions vary and individuals should hold their own views. He responded similarly when asked about retroactively applying modern values to older comedies like Gavin & Stacey.

Margot Robbie, a longtime Gavin & Stacey fan, even requested Brydon’s appearance in Barbie, the highest-grossing film of 2023. Brydon fondly recalls recording a birthday message for her as Uncle Bryn, a connection that led to his role in the movie.

Despite being on set for just one day, Brydon notes the difference between such brief engagements and the demanding schedule of a movie actor. He suggests he might consider longer projects once his younger children are older, but only if it aligns with his balanced approach to career and family life.

Brydon acknowledges the appeal of potentially working with directors like Wes Anderson but reiterates his satisfaction with his career as it stands. Finding success later in life has given him perspective, valuing balance and personal happiness over relentless career ambition.

My Lady Jane is now available for streaming on Prime Video.

Source: [Original Sources]