Where the cast of Fat Friends are now from soap stardom to Gavin & Stacey reunion

Fat Friends cast Richard Ridings, James Corden, Kathryn Hunt, Ruth Jones, Lisa Riley, Alison Steadman and Gaynor Faye
Fat Friends cast Richard Ridings, James Corden, Kathryn Hunt, Ruth Jones, Lisa Riley, Alison Steadman and Gaynor Faye -Credit:Trevor Owen/ITV

It's been almost 25 years since popular drama Fat Friends first came to our TV screens.

Airing for four seasons between 2000 and 2005, the show followed members of a slimming club located in the Headingley district of Leeds. Created by Kay Mellor, Fat Friends first appeared on ITV and was a hit with viewers.

But the show recently found new life and fans, now being streamed on Netflix. The cast included stars like James Corden, Ruth Jones and Alison Steadman, who all went on to appear in iconic sitcom Gavin & Stacey, OK! previously reported.

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Last week, Corden and Jones confirmed the news fans had been waiting for, that Gavin & Stacey would return for a final episode this year. The ECHO recently took a look back at what the stars of Gavin & Stacey did next and following its return, we've decided to take a look at where the cast of Fat Friends are now.

This list isn't intended to be comprehensive. But, if you have a favourite character or moment from Fat Friends, let us know in the comments section below.

James Corden - Jamie Rymer

Comedian & actor James Corden during an interview on the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. Monday, January 29, 2024
Comedian & actor James Corden during an interview on the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. Monday, January 29, 2024 -Credit:Photo by: Todd Owyoung/NBC via Getty Images

Before James Corden and Ruth Jones co-wrote Gavin & Stacey and played characters Smithy and Vanessa, Corden played Jamie Rymer in Fat Friends. After Gavin & Stacey officially ended, Cordon went on to front Sky 1's League of Their Own and starred in Doctor Who.

In 2015, he landed a £10million deal to front The Late Late Show in Hollywood, becoming known for his Carpool Karaoke sketches with famous faces. He's also starred in the films Into the Woods, Gulliver's Travels, Cats and Peter Rabbit.

Living in Los Angeles for years with his wife Julia Carey and their three children, in April 2023 Corden filmed his last Late Late Show and returned to England. This Christmas, the Gavin & Stacey cast will return for one final episode.

Ruth Jones - Kelly Chadwick

Actress Ruth Jones seen on a shoot in Hyde Park on October 29, 2019 in London
Actress Ruth Jones seen on a shoot in Hyde Park -Credit:Photo by J. Almasi/GC Images

Before taking on the iconic role of Nessa in Gavin & Stacey and co-writing the series, Ruth Jones played Kelly Chadwick in Fat Friends, who worked in a chippy. After the success of Gavin & Stacey, Jones starred in the likes of Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Little Dorrit,

Sky One's Stella was her next big comedy project, in which she starred in the title role and co-wrote multiple episodes. She also had her own chat show specials, including Ruth Jones' Summer Holiday, Ruth Jones' Easter Treat and Ruth Jones' Christmas Cracker.

In 2018, she also starred in Christmas comedy, Nativity Rocks!. Jones also set up a production company with husband David Peet and has written three novels, Never Greener, Us Three and Love Untold.

Alison Steadman - Betty Simpson

Alison Steadman attends the screening of "Here We Go" at Curzon Bloomsbury on January 17, 2024 in London
Alison Steadman was also in Fat Friends and Gavin & Stacey -Credit:Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

Another high-profile actress who joined the cast, Alison Steadman, was an Olivier Award-winning theatre star, TV favourite and had been in many films before she was cast in Fat Friends. Steadman first met Ruth and James while playing Betty in Fat Friends and was given the role of Pam, Gavin's overbearing mother, in Gavin & Stacey years later.

Once Gavin and Stacey ended, Steadman appeared in Lewis, Boomers and alongside John Cleese in Hold the Sunset. In 2021, she starred in The King's Man.

Steadman is married to actor Michael Elwyn and the couple live in London. She is also an ambassador for London Wildlife Trust and is an avid birdwatcher and as mentioned earlier, starred in mini series Billericay to Barry with Gavin & Stacey co star Larry Lamb last year.

Gaynor Faye - Lauren Harris

Gaynor Faye portrayed the role of aspiring actress Lauren Harris in Fat Friends. It was her mother, Kay Mellor, who created the series.

Faye in her career has made appearances in series' including Emmerdale, playing Megan Macey and starred in The Syndicate. She even dazzled audiences by winning the inaugural season of Dancing on Ice in 2006, with pro partner Dan Whiston.

Last year, she starred in Channel 5 drama, The Inheritance. With partner Mark Pickering, Faye has two children.

Jonathan Ryland - Kevin Chadwick

Fat friends cast.  (L-R) Back row - Jamie (JAMES CORDEN), Norma (LYNDA BARON), Alan (RICHARD RIDINGS), Val (KATHRYN HUNT) abd Kevin (JONATHAN RYLAND). Front row - Rev Paul Thompson (PAUL WARRINER), Lauren (GAYNOR FAYE), Baby Russell (OLIVER FAYE), Betty (ALISON STEADMAN), Douglas (BARRY RUTTIE), Kelly (RUTH JONES) and Rebecca (LISA RILEY)
Gaynor Faye's mother created Fat Friends

In Fat Friends, Jonathan Ryland played the character of Kevin Chadwick. In his career, he has appeared in various films and series seen across the globe.

His film credits include like The Dark Knight and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. On TV, he has appeared on Disney's Good Luck Charlie, as well as The IT Crowd, Gavin & Stacey and The Syndicate.

Janet Dibley - Carol McGary

Janet Dibley attends the British Soap Awards at Media City on May 18, 2013 in Manchester

In Fat Friends, Dibley played the part of Carol McGary, who was in charge of the slimming group. Following Fat Friends, Janet found success in soap opera Doctors, taking on the role of Elaine Cassidy.

Her credits also span across series such as Broadchurch and Unforgotten. She has also starred in Coronation Street, Heartbeat and Casualty and Eastenders in her career.

Richard Ridings - Alan Ashburn

Janet Dibley who played Carol in Fat Friends -Credit:Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

Richard Ridings featured in 14 episodes of Fat Friends as Alan Ashburn. Since 2005, he has appeared in the likes of Coronation Street, Merlin, Holby City, Jerico and Endeavour.

But he's also become known to a younger generation for lending his voice to the beloved character. For years, he has voiced Daddy Pig in popular cartoon Peppa Pig.

Kathryn Hunt - Val Lorrimer

Kathryn Hunt November 2000 Fat Friends television programme
Fat Friends cast - Richard Ridings, Ruth Jones, James Corden, Gaynor Faye, Janet Dibley and Alison Steadman -Credit:Rollem/Tiger Aspect/Yorkshire Televison Production for ITV

Kathryn Hunt was known for her role as Val Lorrimer, appearing in the first two series. She later starred in hit shows Waterloo Road and Holby City, but is best recognised for starring on one soap.

Many will know Hunt for playing Angela Harris in Coronation Street. She has also appeared in The Royal and Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Lisa Riley - Rebecca Patterson

Lisa Riley attends the National Television Awards 2020 at The O2 Arena on January 28, 2020 in London
Kathryn Hunt, who starred in Fat Friends -Credit:Rollem/Tiger Aspect/Yorkshire Televison Production/ITV

It was back in series two that Lisa Riley joined the cast as Rebecca Patterson in Fat Friends. But Riley is perhaps best known as Mandy Dingle in Emmerdale.

After Fat Friends, she has starred in Waterloo Road, Three Girls and Age Before Beauty. As well as this, she's regularly featured as a panellist on ITV's Loose Women and was a big hit with viewers when she competed in the 10th series of Strictly Come Dancing.

Lynda Baron

Lynda Baron
Lisa Riley starred as Rebecca Patterson -Credit:Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage

After her role as Norma in Fat Friends, Baron continued her career with appearances in Doctor Who and EastEnders. But she perhaps remains best known for her role as Nurse Gladys Emmanuel in BBC sitcom Open All Hours.

She also played Linda Clarke in Eastenders and Aunt Mabel in popular children's show Come Outside. In 2022, it was reported that Baron had died at the age of 82.

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