Monday, March 31, 2008 by

We’re more than halfway through the latest series of Gavin and Stacey and so far, hardly anything has actually, you know, happened. But that’s all to the good, because I reckon this is the funniest, most warm-hearted sitcom on telly for ages.

The Royle Family has always been heralded as the high water mark of realism in TV comedy, but Gavin and Stacey certainly comes close. The scene in last night’s episode where everyone was getting excited over Mick’s three-second appearance on The Six O’Clock News was wonderful, and surely everyone who’s ever seen a loved one on telly could relate to it. Similarly last week’s undignified fight between Smithy and his sister was both brilliantly funny and – as someone with a younger sister myself – a wonderfully accurate portrayal of sibling rivalry.

What’s great is that all the characters in the series are likable, with even the more overt comic characters like Uncle Bryn and Nessa being fully rounded and sympathetic, without simply being used to set up jokes. The performances are exceptional too – James Corden is a great comedy actor and lights up the screen whenever he appears, and although some people seem to be finding Joanna Page a bit annoying, I think she’s playing it just right, and her accent just makes the lines funnier (“It’s going to be immense!”).

The one drawback, though, is that it’s on post-watershed BBC3, and presumably then post-watershed BBC2. Surely this is a series that deserves a pre-watershed BBC1 position? It’s genuinely fun for anyone from nine to 99 – I recommended the last series to my parents and they really enjoy it too. Rob Brydon said that he suggested Corden and Jones removed some of less neccessary swearing to make it proper family viewing, and with a bit of editing, it could easily play at 8.30pm.

And I reckon that there, it would be the biggest show on telly, by miles.


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