‘Now say something in Welsh’: Gavin and Stacey in Translation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The comedy series Gavin and Stacey produced by Baby Cow Productions was first broadcast on BBC 3 in 2007. It quickly drew in large viewing figures and made the leap to BBC 1. The locus of its popularity lay firstly within the repeated acts of recognition it offers its audience, an affirmation found in its serial story of romance and settling into life established by the young eponymous couple. This relationship is juxtaposed with the casual one between Gavin and Stacey’s best friends Smithy and Nessa. The series reaches out to the nation through a balance of ordinariness and difference. The former is supplied by its celebration of the rituals of working-class life that reinforce the bonds of family and friendship and the latter is epitomised by the central romance’s unique ‘cross-border’ exchange, which sees both Barry in South Wales and Billericay in Essex as familial locations loaded with often-competing loyalties. This strategy means the relationship between the English Gavin and the Welsh Stacey is presented at times via a set of tropes we might more readily associate with the comedic representation of an inter-racial marriage. This is rooted in the national identities of the co-writers: the Welsh Ruth Jones and the English James Corden, who play Nessa and Smithy respectively. The two competing universes are furthered through an ensemble of significant others in the lives of both Gavin and Stacey, who represent the values associated with upwardly mobile Essex and the more traditional working class of South Wales.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUK and Irish Television Comedy: Representations of Region, Nation, and Identity
EditorsMary Irwin, Jill Marshall
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-23629-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-23628-0 , 978-3-031-23631-0
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Comedy (PSCOM)
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2731-4332
ISSN (Electronic)2731-4340


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