James Corden has revealed this year’s Gavin and Stacey Christmas special very nearly stayed an embarrassing secret until the show’s best scene ever “landed in the room”.
The Late Late Show star returned to the sitcom he created and starred in with Ruth Jones after a 10-year break to try to pen a long-awaited comeback, but said the episode had almost remained a failure never to be mentioned outside of their writing room - until it was saved by one scene.
He told The Sun: “In a 24-hour period the show was dead - then brought back to life.”
Calling their early attempts at writing the special “deeply depressing”, he explained that Jones had flown out for the second time to work on the script at his Los Angeles home, squeezed in on his days off from The Late Late Show.
But the episode very nearly never made it to air, as Corden admitted that 40 pages in, he and Jones tried a read through and felt it was a flop, with him saying it didn’t feel like Gavin and Stacey.
Corden said: “We decided, ‘OK, well, thank goodness we didn’t tell anyone. Thank the Lord we didn’t. We’ve scratched this itch that we thought was there, and it isn’t, so no harm done. No one will ever know’.”
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But thankfully for fans of the BBC sitcom, the pair decided to do a post mortem on exactly what it was that hadn’t worked - and happened across the best scene they’d ever written.
He said: “It’s probably the quickest scene we’ve ever written. And I think it’s the best scene Gavin and Stacey has ever had. Suddenly this scene arrived, I can’t tell you, I sound like Mystic Meg, but it landed in the room.”
The duo then made clandestine calls to the BBC’s director of content Charlotte Moore, who was thrilled to hear that they were working together again.
Corden added that it was important to show respect to the comedy’s fans by only making a comeback if they felt the episode was of good enough quality, but that he was confident the Christmas special was some of their best work.