The highly anticipated Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special broke television records yesterday by becoming the most-watched television episode across all channels since 2008.
Half of all TV viewers (49.2%) were tuned in to Gavin & Stacey when it started, with a total of 11.6 million people watching the show.
After Gavin & Stacey, the second most watched programme on Christmas Day was the Queen’s speech with 6.4m viewers, followed by the Strictly Come Dancing special, which attracted 5.5m viewers. The most watched film of the day was the Pixar sequel, Finding Dory.
Nearly 10 years had elapsed since we last saw what was going on in the lives of Gavin, Stacey, Smithy and Nessa, but yesterday’s special welcomed viewers into their world once more.
The episode also saw the return of popular characters like Pam and Mick Shipman (Alison Steadman and Larry Lamb), alongside Gwen, Jason and the beloved Bryn (Melanie Walters, Robert Wiltford, and Rob Brydon).
The episode featured a grown-up Neil the baby (Oscar Hartland), a flustered Bryn trying to cook Christmas dinner for “over 13 people”, a dubious new relationship between Smithy and a girl who just doesn’t understand the ways of the Shipmans and the Wests, and a tantalising conversation about the infamous fishing trip.
The show generally received positive feedback, with the Guardian awarding it a handsome four-star review. However some viewers took issue with the show’s failure to censor the use of a homophobic slur during Nessa and Bryn’s rendition of the song “The Fairytale of New York“. The song has been the source of controversy for years due to its use of the offensive term, and some viewers were unimpressed by its presence in the Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special.
Nevertheless, the special beat other popular programmes like Eastenders, Michael McIntyre’s Big Christmas Show, Call the Midwife, Mrs Brown’s Boys, and Emmerdale as the most watched show of Christmas Day 2019.