Calling all Gavin and Stacey fans: everything’s occurring here at Barry…
With news that Ruth Jones aka Nessa from Gavin and Stacey hopped on board a sightseeing tour bus visiting the famous locations in Barry Island this weekend, we thought we’d share with you journalist student Emma Weinbren’s thoughts of what’s occuring since Gavin and Stacey gave Barry Island a new lease of life.
Cast your mind back to a few years ago, and what came to mind when you thought of Barry Island? Golden sands? An action-packed pleasure park? Or an altogether less appealing image? To tell you the truth, Barry Island hasn’t always had a glowing reputation. And I’m not gonna lie to you – the seaside resort hasn’t always been part of Wales’ must-see tourist trail either. But it took just one Essex boy and one Barry Island girl to change all that.
Accompanied by a curry-loving builder and John Prescott’s favourite female trucker, the foursome made Barry Island a cult tourist destination. As Gavin and Stacey fever hit the UK, fans flocked to see Nessa and Stacey’s beloved stomping ground. Barry Island was given an instant image makeover. And with talk of a spin-off series with Rob Brydon, the mania for the British sitcom shows no sign of dying down. But what is it, exactly, that makes Barry so special?
Gavin and Stacey’s Barry
As any Gavin and Stacey fan will know, Stacey was reluctant to swap Barry for the delights of Gavin’s family home in Essex. Jobless and lonely, she yearned to return to Barry’s fair shores and waxed lyrical about its superior charms. But while we can’t back up all of Stacey’s claims – among other things, she insisted it never rained in Barry – we can vouch for the island’s appeal.
From the moment you set foot on Barry Island, it’s clear Gavin and Stacey has left its mark. Walking towards the beach, you soon pass the arcade where Nessa “took care of” local troublemakers. Just moments away lies Marco’s Café, where Stacey was successfully hired for her tea and coffee-making skills. And outside the town hall, viewers will recognise the spot Nessa elegantly posed as a living statue. Yes, Barry really does have it all.
Bringing back the British Seaside
But aside from sightseeing, there’s an even more important reason why fans come here. Thanks to Gavin and Stacey, the traditional British seaside has made a comeback. Who didn’t lovingly recall childhood holidays as Smithy took on the arcades? And who could help but reminisce as the dysfunctional gang sunbathed on the beach? It was enough to even make Bryn fondly remember the day his brother dangled him over the nearby cliffs. He broke both his arms, but it was all “good fun”, of course.
Yes, Barry brings back early memories of what holidays were like before we swapped our shores for Spain’s sun and sangria. And although we can now enjoy luxury holidays abroad, we will always have a soft spot for resorts like Barry. Here you can enjoy a healthy dose of sun, sea and golden sand, all capped off with salty fish and chips. And if you feel like indulging your inner child, the pleasure park and ice cream stalls are always close at hand. Cliff-dangling, we would like to add, is strictly optional.
So when the sun’s out, don a sundress – or in Nessa’s case, a sturdy pair of biker boots – and make your way down to Barry Island. There’s a lot more occurring here than you might think.This entry was posted on Thursday, September 2nd, 2010 at 9:31 am and is filed under Days Out, Wales. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.