'Gavin and Stacey' Christmas special named the UK's most-watched scripted show of the decade

Amy West
Gavin and Stacey's Christmas special was the most-watched scripted TV show of the 2010s (BBC)

Gavin and Stacey’s Christmas special was the most-watched scripted TV programme of the 2010s, new audience figures have proven.

The one-off episode, which aired on Wednesday 25 December, was watched by a whopping 17.1 million viewers, making it one of the most popular broadcasts of the past decade.

Only sporting events, such as the Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies in 2012, a couple of England’s World Cup matches and The X Factor’s 2010 results show beat it.

Read more: Gavin and Stacey's original baby Neil actor returning as character in Christmas special

The BBC has also confirmed that the special has been watched more than 4.4 million times on iPlayer within its first week of streaming. All this success makes it the most-watched comedy since Only Fools and Horses’s Christmas special in 2020, which saw 17.4 million people tune into Rodney and Del Boy’s festive antics.

Gavin and Stacey's Christmas special is the most-watched comedy show since Only Fools and Horses's festive one-off back in 2002 (BBC)

Charlotte Moore, BBC’s Director of Content, congratulated showrunners James Corden and Ruth Jones on the sitcom’s most recent ratings, saying: "Gavin and Stacey has been a phenomenal hit this Christmas breaking records to become the biggest scripted show of the decade, and the biggest first week for any episode on BBC iPlayer for young audiences ever.

Having began in 2007, the show follows the lives of Essex-born Gavin (Mathew Horne) and Barry native Stacey (Joanna Page), after they meet through work and fall for one another.

Read more: Ruth Jones reveals her extreme bid to keep 'Gavin and Stacey' reunion plot a secret

The most recent episode ended on a dramatic cliffhanger, with Jones’s character Nessa proposing to Smithy (Corden). While Jones reassures fans that there’s certainly “room for more,” she’s uncertain when the team will be able to get together and write another thanks to their busy schedules.

"I do say never say never, as while we did make it work that was after three years of trying to find time when we could sit down and write it," she explained.