Fans of the hit comedy series will be disappointed that Gavin and Stacey won’t be airing a new episode this year and that a Christmas rerun will take place in its place. Horne and May will also host a two hour show on BBC Radio Wales. In a recent interview, the stars gave a glimpse into their tricky early auditions for the lead cast.
Last year, more than 17 million viewers tuned in to the Christmas special, which caught up with the Essex and Welsh families a decade after the previous series.
The episode ousted Only Fools and Horses from the top for Most Watched Comedy, scoring higher numbers than any other show in the past decade – apart from sporting events and the 2010 X-Factor Finals.
Despite the on-screen chemistry of Horne and Page, the actors revealed the rigorous tests they went through before being cast in the roles.
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Horne admitted that he was « slightly intimidated » by his counterpart because she was officially trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and he was just a stand-up comedian.
He found that the « producers were pretty cruel during their foreplay » to test if there was « chemistry » between them.
A strong bond between the two would be vital, Horne explained, since the on-screen pair is « the glue on the show ». .
He continued, “As characters … [they] bring two families – and two countries – together. If you don’t have Gavin and Stacey, you don’t have everyone else. ”
Horne felt pressured during these scenes because the « unquantifiable chemistry » it took to run the show was « an all-out lottery » and « actually quite rare ». .
He said, “But I felt it right from that first audition with Jo. I knew she would be Stacey, although at the time I wasn’t sure I was going to be Gavin. ”
To test this, they were thrown into the depths and tasked with one of the more difficult scenes for strangers.
Horne said, “The producers were pretty cruel because in one of the scenes they got us to read the characters had to kiss.
« I’ve auditioned beforehand where this should happen and there’s always that tentative moment where you think, ‘Are we going to do it or not? «
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« But this time I clearly remember that we just did it. It felt very natural and that gave us a lot of credibility as a couple. ”
Horne and Page passed the test, and in 2007 the first episode of Gavin and Stacey aired.
Now, with 21 episodes behind him, he felt that their on-screen roles had defined not only their friendship but their careers as well.
“And whether I like it or not, my career is determined by this role. That goes for them too. ”
Playing Gavin and Stacey fostered a « common bond » that was « unique » to both of them.
Horne added, “It created a connection where we can tell each other anything. We can be very open and honest with one another.
“This shared history is part of our friendship. Not just playing on a show, but everything that came and continues to come with the success of that show, including audience affection. ”
Matthew Horne and Joanna Page will be presenting a two hour slot on BBC Radio Wales at 12 noon on Christmas Day.
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Test chemistry ‘with Joanna Page
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