Alison Steadman reveals secret way Gavin and Stacey cast stay in touch and says 'it's nice'

Actor Alison Steadman
Actor Alison Steadman -Credit:Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo

Gavin & Stacey enthusiasts were thrilled with the announcement earlier this month that the beloved sitcom is set to return for a festive special this year. However, the excitement was tinged with sadness as James Corden, who co-creates and stars in the series alongside Ruth Jones, revealed on social media that this episode will also be the show's finale.

It has been a long, five-year wait since Gavin & Stacey last aired, leaving fans hanging after Nessa (Ruth Jones) popped the question to Smithy (James Corden), with the scene cutting before his response.

Alison Steadman, known for her role as the iconic Pam Shipman, is eagerly anticipating the upcoming reunion. In a recent chat about the Christmas special, Alison disclosed, "I know it's going to happen. I just haven't seen the script, none of us has seen the script." For the latest TV & Showbiz news, sign up to our newsletter

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She confirmed Larry Lamb's involvement, who plays her on-screen husband Mick, by saying, "As far as I know, yes. We only found out [it was happening] for definite the other day."

Alison expressed her deep appreciation for the series, stating, "It's a wonderful series. It's so nice that it's so popular. I feel very privileged and very lucky to have been given that chance," She also mentioned staying connected with the cast, including Larry and Mathew Horne, who plays her son, through a WhatsApp group, adding, "We [the cast] have a WhatsApp group, so if we do want to send a message out, we can. It's nice," reports the Mirror.

Alison Steadman has opened up about the complexities of creating a new episode of the beloved series Gavin and Stacey, citing the demanding schedules of those involved. She said: "They are extremely busy people. Finding the time to put another show together is very difficult. These things take months and months. You develop it, you change it, and then you have another idea and so on. It's quite a long process. And then you've got to get the actors free."

The veteran actress, 77, boasts an impressive array of roles beyond her work on Gavin and Stacey, with notable appearances in Pride And Prejudice, Nuts In May, Karaoke, and Fat Friends. Reflecting on her career, Alison highlighted her role in Abigail's Party as particularly significant.

"I think that put me on the map if you like, because a lot of people watched that on television. And in those days there weren't a thousand channels," she remarked. "Actors have a very difficult time getting known, so Abigail's Party did mean a lot from that point of view."

Despite not being ready to hang up her acting shoes just yet, Alison admitted she was looking to take a step back. "I don't think I'll like to retire completely but I want to do less now," she said, acknowledging the physical demands of her profession. "I get very tired. I just find that it knocks me out. I have to insist that anything I do has to be five days and not six days because one day off just isn't enough."

Alongside her acting career, she is penning an autobiography set to release later this year. "I'm getting old. I don't want to wait until I'm 90 to start writing a memoir, so I thought now would be a good time," she explained. "It's about my career, rather than my private life, which I don't want to start writing all about. My private life is private. I'm in public and I act, and that's fine. But that's where it ends."

Alison is a mother to two sons, Toby, 45, and Leo, 42, from her marriage to filmmaker Mike Leigh, and she's also a grandmother. She's eagerly anticipating the arrival of her second grandchild. "It's the best thing ever," she enthused. "I'll have two little boys."

In her personal time, Alison enjoys quiet moments at home with her long-term partner, fellow actor Michael Elwyn. "I love to go out for a meal now and again, but we're not the kind of people who are out every weekend in a restaurant," she shared. "My favourite thing is having a gin and tonic and watching quizzes on the telly. I watch Only Connect, University Challenge and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? I can't answer any questions, but I love it! ".

Birdwatching is another passion of Alison's. "I love my birds. It's like having friends visit. If I see a type of bird I haven't seen for ages, it's so exciting. I love it," she revealed.

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"My grandma was a birdwatcher. She died when I was 11, but up until then, she'd encouraged me. Both sides of my family were animal and bird lovers."

Alison fondly recalled the impact her mother Marjorie had on her life, sharing, "She was a massive support," and she recounted the encouraging words her mother would offer: "I used to ring her up sometimes if I was nervous about doing a part and she would always be there for me. She'd say, 'Come on, you can do this. You know you can. Never say you can't, always say you can and you will.' And that phrase has stayed with me."

After losing Marjorie to pancreatic cancer in 1996, who spent her final days in a Marie Curie hospice in Liverpool, Alison has been a staunch supporter of the charity, taking on the role of ambassador in 2017. She lent her voice to the 38th Great Daffodil Appeal by Marie Curie, which takes place every March, urging people to donate and wear a daffodil pin to support those facing terminal illnesses.

Highlighting the importance of the charity's work, Alison pointed out: "Marie Curie funds nine hospices, and last year, they cared for over 40,000 dying people. That's a lot, and it costs a lot of money and we need to keep it going. Our NHS is underfunded and understaffed. All the staff are trying their best, but are overworked and exhausted. And so we need Marie Curie to take the burden off the NHS."

Reflecting on a poignant visit to the hospice where her mother was cared for, Alison recounted an emotional encounter: "I've visited the hospice a couple of times since my mum was in there, and the last time, one of the nurses came running over to me and said: 'I cared for your mum.' It was so nice that she remembered and did that."

Alison emphasised the importance of every contribution, stating: "It's not just caring for the dying patient, but also helping relatives and friends who are devastated by the news," and added: "We've all got to die and many of us will have some awful illness, therefore it's worth everyone investing in something like Marie Curie."