Smithy, by James Corden, is the heart of the show (Photo: BBC PICTURE ARCHIVES)

'James Corden needs to be thrown on a compost heap.'

These are not my words, but those of someone who I can only assume hates James Corden, reacting to reports that iconic sitcom Gavin & Stacey may be returning for a 2024 Christmas special.

Others responded with an equal amount of sarcasm, declaring that “the world doesn’t need any more James Corden” and labeling him various expletives.

I'm a long-time lover of Gavin and Stacey and James Corden's Smithy is the heart of the show.

That's why, despite the naysayers, the critics and the online fury, I know that any revival must have him at its center.

The show has provided me with endless laughs since I was a kid – from Smithy and Gavalar's Band Aid duet to Mick's brief appearance on the news after finding a dead body, and I've been desperately awaiting news of a revival since today's episode Christmas 2019.

I quote the show daily, whether it's 'Oh my Christ!' or Nessa's 'Tidy', but one thing is for sure, regardless of their incredible ensemble, Gavin and Stacey wouldn't have become the comedy giant we know today without James Corden.

Not just for her lead role, but for her writing.

Still of Gavin and Stacey, with Ruth Jones as Nessa looking at James Corden as Smithey – both leaning against a table

When I watch Gavin and Stacey for the umpteenth time, I am transported back to my childhood (Photo: BABY COW)

It's no secret that Corden has become a polarizing figure in recent years, to say the least.

Ricky Gervais attacked him, Mel B hailed him as the 'biggest celebrity idiot', and one director even described him as 'obnoxious'.

Whether it's due to his oversaturation in the industry, how he appears in everything from Cats to The Late Late Show, or allegations of brusque behavior towards waiters over a strange omelet order – we all have an opinion.

But I can't accept the hate or the calls to somehow exclude Corden from his own show.

I am not condoning alleged impolite behavior towards restaurant staff, nor is it my place to blame Hollywood 'feuds' without all the facts present.

However, I refuse to let sensational headlines and gossip – not to mention social media trolls – tarnish the reunion of a show I love.

Smithy does Gavin & Stacey for me. He could not be played by any other actor.

A photo from The Late Late Show with James Corden - he is sitting at his desk, hands up, wearing a dark purple suit

It's no secret that Corden has become a polarizing figure in recent years (Photo: Terence Patrick/CBS via Getty Images)
Is James Corden sometimes annoying? Sure, but aren't we all? (Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

His sarcasm and innuendo are delivered with excellent comedic timing by James, while his interactions with co-stars make for perfect, cozy viewing.

It's clear that James raised Smithy with love, care and a lot of personality.

When I look at Smithy, yes, I see our favorite chaotic builder and decorator who, in fact, has probably only tiled one bathroom in his life and insists on wrapping his Christmas presents in aluminum foil.

But I also see a young actor and writer finding his feet in a topsy-turvy industry.

Smithy, for me, represents the best of James Corden and who I believe is the now world-famous star. He's goofy and, of course, no always make the wisest choices.

But everything he does is with good intentions and the purest heart.

He rides or dies for his friends, you know he has your back and he shamelessly wears his heart on his sleeve.

Admittedly, I was dubious when Gavin and Stacey returned five years ago for a one-off special.

Gavin and Stacey photo where James Corden hands Neil the Baby to Nessa at church

I see a young actor and writer positioning himself in a topsy-turvy industry (Photo: BBC PICTURE ARCHIVES)
I'm connected to this show because of its comedic storytelling (Photo: BBC/GS TV Productions Ltd/Tom Jackson)

With years of success in American TV under his belt and a celebrity status far greater than that of his co-stars, I worried that Corden now considered the BBC show beneath him. I was worried that his new A-list stature would ruin the character I adored.

I was so wrong.

Not only did Corden slip back into Smithy's sneakers and baggy jeans, he did so with ease, cementing in my mind both his love for his own creation and his appreciation for his roots.

I think one of the reasons I feel such a connection to James and Smithy is because I see so much of my father in him.

My father doesn't see this, not one bit, but I will die on the hill because he is James Corden in another body.

Dad's mannerisms and expressions inextricably mirror Corden's, and he has that endearing Care Bear-type demeanor, which means that even when his jokes are insufferable, you can't help but smile.

So when I watch Gavin & Stacey for the umpteenth time, I'm transported back to my childhood.

I'm connected to this show because of its comedic storytelling, but also because I, like many of you I'm sure, can attribute each character to one of my relatives.

Bryn behaves exactly like my grandfather. Gwen is my grandmother. Dave coaches my uncle.

Gavin & Stacey has woven itself into my own life over the years and I can only thank James Corden – and Ruth Jones, it goes without saying – for bringing it to our screens.

It's perfect? No. Have some of the jokes aged poorly? Definitely. Nicknames like Chinese Alan and Big Fat Sue come to mind, as does the story of Dawn and Pete's three-way relationship.

And is James Corden sometimes annoying? Sure, but aren't we all?

For the sake of nostalgia, I urge Gavin and Stacey fans to put aside their dislike of James Corden for this year's Christmas special.

You don't have to idolize him, but don't let that ruin your love for a character who has solidified himself as a true comedy icon.

Let's enjoy one last robot with Smithy together.

Do you have a story you would like to share? Get in touch by emailing jess.austin@metro.co.uk.

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