Gavin and Stacey's Alison Steadman reveals cast for final Christmas special episode

HD7WM4 GAVIN AND STACEY, (from left): Larry Lamb, Alison Steadman, (Season 2, 2008), 2007-10. ©BBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection
Gavin and Stacey is back -Credit:Alamy Stock Photo

Gavin and Stacey fans 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.

The programme has been absent from our screens for five years, leaving fans hanging after Nessa (Ruth) popped the question to Smithy (James), with the scene cutting before his response.

Alison Steadman, known for her iconic role as Pam Shipman, is eagerly anticipating the cast reunion. In a recent discussion about the upcoming Christmas special, Alison shared: "I know it's going to happen. I just haven't seen the script none of us has seen the script."

Talking about Larry Lamb's involvement, who plays Mick, Pam's husband, she confirmed: "As far as I know, yes. We only found out [it was happening] for definite the other day."

Her affection for the series is evident with her adding: "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", reports the Mirror.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 21: (L to R) Alison Steadman, Ruth Jones and Melanie Walters attend the press night after party for "Sister Act: The Musical" at 100 Wardour St on March 21, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
(L to R) Alison Steadman, Ruth Jones and Melanie Walters -Credit:Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty Images

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Alison maintains contact with her former castmates, including Larry and Mathew Horne, who plays her on-screen son, Gavin. "We [the cast] have a WhatsApp group, so if we do want to send a message out, we can. It's nice," she said.

Alison Steadman opened up about the challenges of creating new episodes for the beloved series, citing the busy schedules of those involved. "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," she explained.

The 77-year-old, who boasts an impressive resume with roles in Pride And Prejudice, Nuts In May, Karaoke, and Fat Friends, also reminisced about her career highlights. She considers her role in the iconic comedy Abigail's Party as pivotal: "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 said, adding: "Actors have a very difficult time getting known, so Abigail's Party did mean a lot from that point of view."

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Undated BBC handout photo of  James Corden and Ruth Jones holding a script for 'Gavin and Stacey: The Finale'. The last-ever episode of BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey will be shown on Christmas Day this year, the broadcaster said. Issue date: Friday May 3, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story SHOWBIZ GavinAndStacey. Photo credit should read: James Corden and Ruth Jones/PA Wire

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James Corden and Ruth Jones revealed its return -Credit: James Corden and Ruth Jones/PA Wire

Despite having no intention of retiring, Steadman admits she's looking to take a step back. "I don't think I'll like to retire completely but I want to do less now," she shared.

"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's penning an autobiography set for 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 explains.

"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 has two adult sons, Toby, 45, and Leo, 42, from her previous marriage to filmmaker Mike Leigh, and she's a grandmother too, with one grandchild already bringing joy to her life and another on the way. "It's the best thing ever," she enthuses.

"I'll have two little boys."

In her personal life, Alison has been with her partner, fellow actor Michael Elwyn, for nearly three decades, and they prefer the comforts of home to the social scene. "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 shares.

"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 for Alison, a hobby that connects her to fond memories of her family. "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 reveals.

"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 recalls the impact her mum Marjorie had on her life, saying: "She was a massive support," and sharing how her mother's encouragement has stayed with her she recalled: "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."

Marjorie's passing from pancreatic cancer in 1996 at a Marie Curie hospice in Liverpool led Alison to become a staunch supporter of the charity, eventually becoming an ambassador in 2017. She threw her weight behind the Marie Curie's 38th Great Daffodil Appeal this 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 said: "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 shared a touching moment: "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 emphasises 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 adds, "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."

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