Gavin & Stacey star Mathew Horne has said he could not believe the reaction to the show returning – joking it is a “respite from Nigel Farage”.
James Corden and Ruth Jones have revealed that they had secretly been plotting to bring the much-loved sitcom back a decade after it ended.
Horne, who plays titular character Gavin, told BBC Radio 5 live that, unlike other big shows, he had not signed a non-disclosure agreement, saying: “It’s all based on trust.”
Of being called up a few weeks ago, he said: “I had messages from James and Ruth. They were very tentative at the time” because “it’s quite difficult getting all those people together”.
But he added: “It was a train we were jumping on … that wasn’t going to stop.”
Horne, 40, said: “It was quite extraordinary yesterday. My phone was on fire. We are all genuinely surprised and shocked, in a really good way, about the reaction.”
Horne quipped of the announcement making major news bulletins: “It’s a welcome respite from (Nigel) Farage.”
“I don’t think anyone expected the reaction yesterday. I woke up to my phone blowing up, which was quite a shock.”
He said “none of us ever thought” the show would return and dismissed talk of a rift with Corden being healed, adding that there was never a falling-out in the first place.
“It’s been a relief for me and James that we didn’t have to do anything!” he said.
He added: “I’m very excited to get going on the costume. I don’t know whether he’s one of those guys who can’t let go of his Mod youth!”
Horne had not seen Joanna Page (Stacey) for several years until they met up recently.
The actor will not be re-watching old episodes “because that’s absolutely soul-destroying”.
“People come up to me and say ‘Oh my god, you’ve aged’. I say ‘I was 28 and I’m 41 this year. That’s what human beings do.’”
He said of his character: “He’s a little bit tired. He’s a dad with an almost grown-up child. I think the audience will be pleasantly surprised and warmed by what they see.
“The script is real beautiful, funny, heartwarming. I think there will be laughter and tears.”
And he added: “I know that they wouldn’t have written it … unless they knew they had a story and had solid reason to do it.”
His comments come after Larry Lamb said he cried when he first read the script for the Christmas special.
He said that filming on the episode – written by Corden and Jones – starts soon, but the details are “super hush-hush”.
Lamb, who plays Mick Shipman in the sitcom, told ITV’s This Morning: “It’s amazing what he (Corden) and Ruth have managed to do. I’ve finally read the script and it really … it got me.
“I just started to read the first little sequence and I just found myself crying. It was like running into somebody that was a major part of your life and you’re just so happy about it.
“It didn’t really matter what they were doing, it wasn’t funny, it wasn’t anything, it was just so poignant and they were immediately into the feeling of the whole thing, and it just took me along.”
Asked when filming starts, Lamb said: “Not too long from now, it’s going to be extraordinary.”
He said he does not know if filming will take place in Barry Island in Wales, where much of the series was set, adding: “It’s all super hush-hush.”
The Christmas special will see Horne and Page return to their lead roles as Gavin and Stacey.
Corden and Jones will reprise their roles as Smithy and Nessa, alongside the other supporting cast members – Rob Brydon, Lamb, Melanie Walters and Alison Steadman.
The comedy aired over three series, plus a Christmas special, from 2007 to 2010 on the BBC.
It told the story of Gavin (Horne), from Essex, and Stacey (Page), from Barry in Wales, who fell in love and married after speaking on the phone to each other every day at work.
The 2010 New Year’s Day finale was watched by more than 10.2 million viewers.
The sitcom was a breakthrough hit for BBC Three and eventually moved to BBC One.
Corden went on to find fame in the US as host of The Late Late Show, best known for its Carpool Karaoke segment.
Lamb said he did not think that the show would ever come back, given Corden’s success in America.
He said: “I’d got to the point where I figured, well, it’s left, this jewel as it was, and they didn’t go on. They were only ever going to do one series anyway.”