ITV turned down Gavin & Stacey because it was Welsh, claims ex comedy head

Gavin & Stacey

Might Gavin & Stacey have been on ITV?

Gavin & Stacey was turned down by ITV because channel executives feared it “wouldn’t be broadly accessible enough, because it was Welsh,’ an ex comedy head has claimed.

The show’s creators, Ruth Jones and James Corden, apparently approached ITV with the idea for the show, which revolves around Welsh Stacey (Joanna Page) and Essex boy Gavin (Matthew Horne).

However, WalesOnline reports that Sioned Wiliam, the channel’s former Controller of Comedy, has revealed in a new three-part series about Welsh comedy, Funny Nation, that the idea was knocked back by ITV.

“Ruth and James came to see me with Gavin & Stacey, because they were in an ITV show called Fat Friends,” Sioned, who’s now comedy commissioner for Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra, reportedly said.

“I thought it was fantastic and tried to get it made by ITV, but I was told (by channel bosses) that probably it wouldn’t be broadly accessible enough, because it was Welsh.”

It’s a decision that ITV probably regrets as Gavin & Stacey has of course gone onto to be amazingly successful on the BBC.

MORE: Christmas TV coming this festive season!

It originally started out on BBC Three in 2007 before being switched to BBC1 when the broadcaster saw it clearly had a hit on its hands.

The show, which also featured Alison Steadman, Rob Brydon and Larry Lamb, ended in 2010. However, the BBC has now made a Gavin & Stacey Christmas special for this festive season.

The one-hour special is thought to be on Christmas Day on BBC1.

Ruth Jones and James Corden, said: “Over the last ten years we’ve talked a lot about Gavin and Stacey - where they might be today and what their lives might look like. And so in secret we took the plunge and wrote this one hour special.

"We’ve loved revisiting Barry and Essex again and bringing the characters back together has been a joy. We’re so excited to get the chance to work with our fabulous cast and crew once more and to give fans of the show a festive treat this Christmas. Thank you BBC for helping to make this happen.”

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

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