Simon Kelner: It's not tough to be a taff, says David (who's no saint)

 

Share

Bore da, as they say in Merthyr Tydfil. Good morning to the rest of you. You may have noticed the Welsh in the ascendant recently and yesterday they had their day.

To celebrate the feast of St David, the PM kept a welcome at No 10 for Welsh MPs and famous faces. David Cameron told the gathering: "It's a good time to be Welsh," referring to its rugby success over England. It was, in the vernacular, a tidy night out, even though the patriotic TV presenter Steve Jones – sacked from the US X Factor when viewers couldn't understand his Rhondda accent – was irritated by the PM's remark, saying that he didn't recall there being a bad time to be Welsh. Mr Cameron paid homage to Gavin and Stacey actress Joanna Page, pictured, and expressed a hope there would be another series. The picture painted by this show of the warm-hearted Welsh, with their tight communities and family units, ready humour and touching ability to find joy in the simplest pleasures is, of course, exaggerated for dramatic effect. But what makes Gavin and Stacey work is the truth that underpins its narrative drive. I spent my formative years as a trainee journalist in south Wales, in Neath and, although that was more than three decades ago, I still recognise the qualities that James Corden and Ruth Jones – creators of G&S – have fictionalised. Even though the community was extremely close knit, they made an interloper so welcome that, even now, I feel such an affinity with the Welsh that I get a little emotional when I hear "Land of My Fathers" (next to the Marseillaise, the best national anthem in the world) strike up before a rugby match. And the cadence of conversation and humour in the show is one I easily recognise. I always remember going to interview the very taciturn coach of Neath rugby club and, frustrated by his barrage of no-comments, I told him he left me with no alternative but to make up some quotes. He was an imposing figure who bore down on me from a great height. He spoke slowly and with more than a touch of menace. "Simon," he said, "I wouldn't want you to do anything that might jeopardise the relationship we've not got." Mr Cameron told Joanna Page that he particularly enjoyed Gavin and Stacey because it represented "a bit of happy escapism" away from the cares of high office. And it's true: the show does not even attempt to show some of the social and economic problems that have blighted Wales. If it did, the PM might not find it quite such relaxing viewing. What's occurring? Disproportionate rates of youth unemployment in many areas, more health problems than other parts of Britain, an economy overly dependent on public sector spending.

Still, I find myself in the somewhat unusual position of agreeing wholeheartedly with David Cameron. Let's have more Gavin and Stacey: after all, to be fair, at the end of the day, I'm not going to lie to you, that's the Wales we recognise. Cael penwythnos braf! (Look it up).

 

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor’s Letter: The Sussex teenager killed fighting in Syria

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Actor Zac Efron  

Keep your shirt on Zac – we'd all be better for it

Howard Jacobson
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit