BBC's Gavin and Stacey 'would never have been created' without Nottingham library at risk of closure

James Corden in Gavin and Stacey
-Credit: (Image: BBC)

The Nottingham-born writer and TV producer behind hits like The Royle Family and Gavin & Stacey says the shows would never have been created without the influence of his local library – which is now facing closure due to council cuts. Henry Normal was a frequent visitor to Bilborough Library as a child – one of four in Nottingham which could be closed to save money.

He went on to co-create and co-write beloved TV shows which also include Alan Partridge and the Oscar-nominated 2013 film Philomena. The writer returned to Nottingham last week to speak about how pivotal the area had been for his writing career, and perform poetry sessions at all the libraries under threat.

“I would not be a writer without this library. I lived in Bilborough – there would be no Royle Family, no Gavin & Stacey, no Philomena,” he said. My love of words, books and poetry all came from here. I joined a writers’ group when I was little.

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“It was first understanding that people from council estates can be writers. We’ve got to find a way of keeping the libraries open because once the building goes, we won’t get them back.”

A petition against proposed library closures in Bilborough, Aspley, Basford and Lenton has gathered more than 1,600 signatures. Other libraries could also face staff cuts and a reduction in opening hours in a bid by the council to save £1.5m.

Central Library's opening hours could be reduced from 9am to 6pm to 10am to 5.30pm, less than a year after it opened. Former Nottingham City Councillor Wendy Smith said: “It’s a really important place – not just a place to borrow books, but for all the groups that meet here, and as a warm space during the cost of living crisis.

“We have quite an old demographic who meet here, and a food bank runs here. It’s so important in many ways.” Nottingham City Council said a final decision on the libraries hasn’t been made and it urges everyone affected to take part in the consultation, which runs until August 19.

Colin Wilderspin, Interim Director of Communities, previously said: “The key message is use the 12-week consultation, get involved, use your voice either online or come in person. We will listen to you. There’s no predetermination of how we’re going to do this. We do have to make savings and how we do that is down to the consultation and listening to resident voices.”