Are Americans ready for Gav and Stace with an American twang?
US viewers might well ask “What’s occurring?” after it was announced that the BBC sitcom which made James Corden’s career is to be remade across the Atlantic.
Corden, who was the toast of Broadway this year after picking up a Tony Award for his performance in One Man, Two Guvnors, is acting as executive producer of the US adaptation of Gavin & Stacey, alongside co-creator Ruth Jones.
The sitcom, about the whirlwind romance between a boy from Essex and a girl from Barry in Wales, has been a huge hit with UK viewers. Celebrity fans include David Cameron, who has admitted using the “What’s occurring?” catchphrase.
The Fox remake is the third attempt to create a US version of the show. Jane Tranter, head of BBC Worldwide Productions, said the first script would be delivered “by Thanksgiving” and a decision over to push on with the show would be made early next year.
American network NBC, which took on The Office, was the first to buy the rights in 2008. At the time, the idea was to make Gavin from New Jersey and Stacey from South Carolina. The idea fell apart, and a year later it was picked up by ABC, but that also collapsed.
Ms Tranter said: “There is the right time and the right place for a project like this. The stars needed to align. After the show didn’t make it at ABC I waited.”
She declined to reveal where the characters were from – although suggested it would not match the idea at NBC – and said that discussions on changing the names had yet to take place. “I haven’t met any Gavins here,” she said.
The latest attempt will be scripted by David Rosen, who adapted his novel I Just Want My Pants Back into a TV show in the US. The show is backed by Sony Pictures and BBC Worldwide, as well as the show’s UK producers Baby Cow Productions.
The translation of British sitcoms for American audiences has rarely been smooth. While The Office with Steve Carell met with critical and audience acclaim, there has been a graveyard of shows which failed in translation including remakes of Only Fools And Horses, Men Behaving Badly, and One Foot In The Grave.
Recently teen gross-out sitcom The Inbetweeners was remade, with the backing of creators Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, to limited critical success.
The show first aired in May 2007 on BBC 3 and its popularity after three series and a Christmas special saw it end up on BBC 1.