Gavin Shipman (Mathew Horne) - Gavin is 28 when the series starts. He is an only child, and when the series starts he still lives with his loving mother and father in Billericay, Essex. He gets on well with his parents. He works for a company called ICB and spends his spare time with his best friend Smithy (James Corden) along with his other friends Gary & Simon, Dirtbox, Fingers, Budgie, Swede, Chinese Alan and Jesus. He is a big fan of Tottenham Hotspur (as is Mathew Horne) and is often seen wearing his Spurs shirt. In the course of his job, he had to deal with a company called Bedmores, based in Barry. The Bedmores representative he had to correspond with was a woman called Stacey West (Joanna Page). Gavin and Stacey had to speak regularly because of their jobs, and they found they got on very well. After months and months of talking and flirting, they agreed to meet up in London. They agreed that Gavin would bring his best friend Smithy with him, and Stacey would bring her best friend Nessa (Ruth Jones) with her. They met up and went clubbing. They had a great time, and got on very well. They went back to Stacey's hotel room and had sex. The next day, Stacey had to go back to Barry, but she and Gavin promised to keep ringing each other and that this would not be the end of their relationship. While Stacey and Nessa boarded the coach back to Barry, Gavin and Smithy got a cab back to Billericay. Without waiting for Smithy, Gavin jumped in his car and drove all the way to Barry, and met Stacey when her coach pulled into the station, to her surprise. He and Stacey told each other they loved each other for the first time. Within 9 weeks, they had got engaged and married. Despite a few initial problems regarding Stacey being homesick, their relationship was successful, and Stacey became eventually pregnant. Gavin, and his father Mick (Larry Lamb), often play the "straight men" in the series. Much of the comedy comes from the actions of those around them (especially his mother Pam (Alison Steadman) and Smithy). It is clear that Gavin loves his friends and family very much. Despite the fact that his mother Pam often overreacts and acts without thinking, Gavin still loves her, despite being occasionally exasperated by her. His best friend Smithy is also prone to overreact, but Gavin sticks with him and loves him like a little brother. Gavin's main personality flaw is that he is slightly spoiled, possibly due to being an only child, and reacts with irritation when he doesn't get his way. He is also not particularly sensitive - he sometimes fails to understand the much more emotional Smithy and Stacey, and this occasionally puts strain on his relationship with both of them - when Stacey, who is very attached to her hometown of Barry, gets depressed and homesick upon moving to Billericay after she and Gavin marry, Gavin is more confused than concerned about this, and his responses are lacking in sensitivity about the matter. This can also be seen in the fact that Gavin is less talkative and expressive than Stacey is - while at dinner with their families after their honeymoon, Stacey is excited and full of conversation, while Gavin simply sits and listens to her. Despite all of this, Gavin loves Stacey enormously, and is very affectionate towards her, and his greatest display of love for her is when he decides to move to Barry with her despite having expressed a dislike of it previously, and he manages to get himself a new job in Wales so he can reside there. There, his boss Huw Davies and colleague Owain Hughes (Steven Meo) act very similar to Stacey's uncle, Bryn (Rob Brydon), talking incessantly and being over-friendly, personality traits that bewilder Gavin. Gavin is more reserved and less willing to discuss his private life than his wife. He finds it odd that Stacey is so eager and ready to spill information about their private life to Nessa, Bryn, her mother Gwen (Melanie Walters) and her brother Jason (Robert Wilfort). When Gavin is applying for a job in Cardiff, the only people who know are Stacey and Mick. When he and Stacey announce it to the rest of the characters, Gwen announces that she knew as well, because Stacey told her. Gavin is annoyed that Stacey told Gwen, and by the fact that Stacey did not tell him she had told Gwen. He doesn't understand why Stacey always has to be so close to her family. It isn't that he is distant from his family, he just doesn't depend on his as much as Stacey does hers. In Series 3, he agrees with Stacey to try to have a baby, only to discover she stopped taking the pill a year ago. Although he is very angry about Stacey not telling him the truth, he becomes much more depressed when he learns that he has fertility problems. However, he eventually comes round, and has a serious discussion with Stacey about the problem, deciding they will carry on trying to conceive for a few months, and if that doesn't work, they should start looking at alternatives. However, in the final episode, Stacey discovers she pregnant, and Gavin is completely as overjoyed.
Stacey Shipman (née West) (Joanna Page) - Stacey is 26 and is from Barry, near Cardiff. Her father, Trevor, died three years ago, and she lived at home with her mother in Barry until her marriage. Her gay brother, Jason (Robert Wilfort), lives in Spain. She had been engaged five times before meeting Gavin Shipman (Mathew Horne), something she preferred to forget and kept from him. She is very bubbly, excitable and full of conversation but also slightly fragile and prone to overreacting. An example is her misreading Gavin's sudden businesslike tone during a call from work, when his boss appears over him, as him being distant and breaking up with her and he has to drive all the way to Barry to reassure her in person. She confides frequently in her best friend, Nessa (Ruth Jones). Stacey discovers she is pregnant in the final episode of Series 3, after desperately taking a large number of pregnancy tests.
Neil "Smithy" Smith (James Corden) - Smithy is 28 and Gavin's (Mathew Horne) best friend, and they've known each other since primary school. He is a self-employed builder and decorator. He is very protective of Gavin - he is disappointed when Gavin gets engaged to Stacey (Joanna Page) and when Gavin and Stacey go on a honeymoon, he calls Gavin every day for the 3 weeks they are there, and gets angry at Gavin for leaving his phone off. He loves Gavin's parents more than his own, and has an unseen girlfriend called Lucy, who, according to Smithy, is seventeen years and three quarters old. He loves unusual beer, paintball and West Ham United. When Nessa (Ruth Jones) gives birth to their son, they name him Neil after himself and Nessa's father. In the series finale, Smithy stops Nessa's wedding declaring his feelings for her, thus causing Nessa and Dave (Steffan Rhodri) not to get married. He is shown to have obvious similarities to Nessa, such as: refusing to share food, being very upfront, protective of their best friends, and they like most of the same food and drink, such as KFC, corn on the cob, and Irn Bru. Smithy wears his heart on his sleeve and is given to intense public displays of emotion, and will cry or sulk with little provocation. Smithy eats, drinks and smokes to excess and is overweight.
Vanessa Shanessa "Nessa" Jenkins (Ruth Jones) - Nessa is Stacey's (Joanna Page) best friend, also from Barry. She discovers she is pregnant in the fourth episode of Series 1 and it is later revealed that Smithy (James Corden) became the father the second time they were intimate at Pam (Alison Steadman) and Mick's (Larry Lamb) house. She speaks fluent Italian and Welsh, has several tattoos, most notably a large red dragon on her right upper arm. She is a chain smoker (except during her pregnancy) and was one of the original members of All Saints (but didn't get along with Shaznay). She works at the Barry Island Amusement Arcades or "The Slots". Nessa regularly recalls strange and often lewd experiences with celebrities. She gives birth to baby Neil in the series finale of Series 2 and becomes engaged to Dave Coaches (Steffan Rhodri) in the 2008 Christmas special. In the series finale, Smithy declares his feelings for Nessa at her wedding, and Dave accepts that the feelings he and Nessa share are not as strong as hers and Smithy's. Nessa's age is unknown throughout the show even to Stacey. To date she has slept with Gavin's (Mathew Horne) best friend Smithy four times. Her catchphrases include "Ohhhh", "Tidy", "Genuine", "Truth be told", "Immense", "I'm not going to lie to you" and "What's occurring?". In the third series, it was discovered that she is an Aston Villa fan. She has a jet black bob-style hair and wears Gothic style make up. She is serious, ongoing and surprisingly intelligent at times. She has had a number of interesting occupations including being a BBC radio producer, a roadie for a major band, and driving trucks for Eddie Stobart (who gave her two trucks to keep when she left,) and a running feature of the programme is her wide range of impressive occupations, abilities (apart from speaking fluent Italian she is an excellent ten pin bowler) and acquaintance or relationships with various famous people. The reaction of those around her to mention of these invariably suggests that they are factual rather than a fantasy, despite the rather incongruous fact that she now works as a cashier at an amusement arcade in Barry.
Michael "Mick" Shipman (Larry Lamb) - Mick is Gavin's (Mathew Horne) father. He is often mistaken to be 53 and is a down-to-earth bloke, like his son. He's happy with his life — running his own company, playing golf and going to the pub quiz every Tuesday. He is something of a calming influence on his wife, Pam (Alison Steadman).
Pamela Andrea "Pam" Shipman (née Griggell-Eschefska) (Alison Steadman) — Pam is Gavin's (Mathew Horne) proud and doting mother. She is in her fifties, though her exact age is unknown as, according to her husband, she has claimed to be 51 on her past five birthdays. She is a stereotypical Essex wife and is very house-proud. She is also very caring of Smithy (James Corden), Gavin's best friend, and treats him as if he were her own son. Pam adores Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (referring to Princess Diana as a "hussy") and acts out sexual fantasies of Charles and Camilla with her husband, Mick (Larry Lamb). She dotes on Gavin, who she calls her "Little Prince". She is very welcoming of Stacey (Joanna Page) into the family - the first time Stacey meets her, she helps her with a pimple on her face, in a motherly fashion, which allows the two to bond. Although she becomes upset when Stacey persuades Gavin to move to Barry, she nevertheless forgives her for it. Pam is prone to malapropisms, such as saying "ours is not to question while" (instead of "why") or "Barry's Island" instead of "Barry Island". She is often nervous and excitable and this leads her into awkward social situations, such as forcing Mick to go food shopping in response to an attack of paranoia about her guests' dietary requirements, and then falsely claiming to be newly vegetarian (a pretence she is forced to maintain, much to her frustration because she craves meat) in order to explain why he has arrived with several bags of vegetarian food. Her catchphrases include "Oh My Christ", "I panicked (name)" and "Mick! Michael!"
Brynfor "Bryn" West (Rob Brydon) - Bryn is Stacey (Joanna Page) and Jason's (Robert Wilfort) uncle. He is the brother of Stacey's deceased father, Trevor and is a single man in his late forties. He lives across the road from Stacey and his sister-in-law, Gwen (Melanie Walters) and is very protective of them. In Series 1 and 2, he had a strained relationship with his nephew Jason due to an unspecified but clearly disturbing incident on a fishing trip. He leads a very simple life and often gets excited about trivial things such as his Sat Nav or the Internet. He also enjoys typically female-oriented TV shows such as Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City. He is a keen singer and sings with Stacey's best friend, Nessa (Ruth Jones). In Series 2, he puts a home gym in his house that is "the talk of the street". Bryn also displays latent homosexual tendencies but is seemingly too innocent and childlike to address them. For instance, Bryn converted one of the bedrooms in his home into a gym and invites Smithy (James Corden) over where they strip shirtless and have a close workout followed by a "warm down" that involves rubbing each other. Smithy does not see this as a sexual thing at all, even though it makes Gavin (Mathew Horne) uncomfortable. It has been implied a number of times that Bryn was abused by his brother Trevor as a child, such as Trevor leaving him terrified on a ghost train or hanging him by his ankles and swinging him against rocks, resulting in two broken arms. He claims he "rather enjoyed the experience" as it was only "tomfoolery" but it shocks everyone and horrifies Pam (Alison Steadman).
Gwen West (Melanie Walters) - Gwen is Stacey (Joanna Page) and Jason's (Robert Wilfort) mother. She is a widow in her late forties and has two children, Jason and Stacey. She is a housewife and regularly offers to cook omelettes. She's a caring, kind woman who lets herself be taken advantage of by Stacey's best friend, Nessa (Ruth Jones). She's very close to Stacey as they spent many years living together. In Series 3, she lives with Stacey and her husband Gavin (Mathew Horne). On the day of Nessa's wedding, Nessa told Gwen that she was like a mother to her before kissing her on the lips, which gobsmacks Gwen but does not affect Nessa.
David "Dave Coaches" Lloyd Gooch (Steffan Rhodri) - Coach driver in Barry and Nessa's (Ruth Jones) fiancé, after they got engaged in the Christmas special. Aspersions are cast regarding his sexual health in Series 1, although it is revealed in Series 2 that he has been to "the clinic". He is the only person, other than Bryn (Rob Brydon) and Jason (Robert Wilfort), who knows what happened on the fishing trip, after Bryn told him to get the matter off his chest. His relationship with Nessa results in both Bryn and Jason being incredibly nervous about him telling their friends what happened, although he makes it very clear to Bryn he wouldn't tell anyone about it. He also has his own company named Dave Coaches. He often shows jealousy towards Smithy (James Corden) for being the father of Nessa's child. Smithy gets jealous of him for always spending time with his son and treating him like his own, and in the final episode leaves Nessa at the altar as he doesn't believe she loves him. Nessa's father mentions him having "blood on his hands", but says he was joking, knowing that "nothing was proven". Dave often has a strained relationship with the other characters, and has publicly had angry exchanges with Bryn, Smithy and Pete (Adrian Scarborough), who punched him in the face after he made an uncharitable remark about his wife, Dawn (Julia Davis).
Jason West (Robert Wilfort) - Stacey's (Joanna Page) elder brother, son of Gwen (Melanie Walters) and her late husband, Trevor. Lives in Spain with his boyfriend, José. He and Bryn (Rob Brydon) share a rather awkward relationship due to some mysterious goings-on on the fateful fishing trip. He is disappointed in the first series when Gavin (Mathew Horne) and Stacey get married and he is not chosen to take Stacey down the aisle. He and Bryn eventually become friends again, something they are both glad about.
Peter "Pete" Sutcliffe (Adrian Scarborough) and Dawn Sutcliffe (Julia Davis) - Friends of Pam (Alison Steadman) and Mick's (Larry Lamb). They have a very strained marriage and regularly insult each other in public. Also part of the ongoing joke that characters share their surnames with serial killers — in this case Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper. He punches Dave in the Christmas special. He also attempts a threesome in the beginning of Series 2 with his wife Dawn and a man named Seth. It didn't work out as Seth said the photo was not representative of them as a couple. The couple renewed their vows in Series 3. They have two children, Fiona and Alex. In the series finale of Series 1, their surname is revealed to be Whitely, but in the 2008 Christmas Special, it is revealed to be Sutcliffe.
Doris "Dor" (Margaret John) - Gwen's (Melanie Walters) elderly next door neighbour. She looks like a stereotypical "little old lady", in sharp contrast to her behaviour and blunt, profanity-littered conversational style. Doris regularly dates younger men, even offering herself up to Gavin (Mathew Horne) for "discreet" extramarital relations, and is described by Bryn (Rob Brydon) as "a player". She has a daughter named Moira, whom she loathes and would like to "smother" if she saw her again. Gwen even goes so far as to say "she was a nasty piece of work". It is Doris who spots the unfortunate coincidence of Gavin and Stacey (Joanna Page) sharing the West and Shipman surnames with serial murderersFred and Rose West and Harold Shipman.
Ruth "Rudi" Smith (Sheridan Smith) - Smithy's (James Corden) sister, also likes to be called "Smithy" in an attempt to imitate her brother, with whom she often fights.
Neil Noel Edmund Smith aka Neil, the Baby - The son of Smithy (James Corden) and Nessa (Ruth Jones), named after both Smithy and Nessa's father. His middle names come from Smithy's uncle Edmund and Nessa's friend Noel from Hear'Say.
Neil Jenkins (Ifan Huw Dafydd)- Nessa's (Ruth Jones) father; appears at the Christening but is obviously uncomfortable at being back in Barry due to unknown previous events. He is a part-time actor who has appeared as an extra in Lark Rise to Candleford and as a man in a coma in Holby City.
Dick Powell (Gwynfor Roberts) The only exclusively Welsh-speaking inhabitant of Barry. Sells items on the black market such as satellite navigation systems and meat that his brother steals from the slaughterhouse where he works. He enjoys chicken and Glamorgan sausage sandwiches.
Deano (Mathew Baynton) is a friend of Gavin (Mathew Horne) and Smithy's (James Corden). He works with Smithy and is known for being gormless and somewhat naïve. He learnt Welsh prior to coming over to Wales with the "Essex Lads". He wasn't at Gavin's stag, but got a T-shirt made afterwards when they went to the foam party. Among his idiosyncrasies is a fondness for drinking a mixture of equal parts tea and coffee, which he calls a "toffee" or a "cea" (pronounced "key").
Owain Hughes (Steven Meo) - one of Gavin's (Mathew Horne) co-workers at his new job in Cardiff in Series 3. Constantly the subject of an unclear joke - "My name is Owain Hughes and before you ask, no I don't!". The joke is a play on words, it sounds like "owe Wayne Hughes".
Jesus (Daniel Curtis) - A friend of Gavin (Mathew Horne) and Smithy's (James Corden). He only appears in the stag episode; most likely owing to the fact that no one in the group really seems to like him.
Gary (Jason Gregg) - A friend of Gavin (Mathew Horne) and Smithy's (James Corden). He has been friends with them since primary school. He is never seen without his best friend Simon; except for in Series 3, where it appears they have had an argument.
'N' Simon - A friend of Gavin (Mathew Horne) and Smithy's (James Corden). He has been friends with them since primary school. He is never seen without his best friend Gary (Jason Gregg); but he does not appear in Series 3, as it appears he has had an argument with Gary.
Luggy - A friend of Gavin (Mathew Horne) and Smithy's (James Corden). He has glasses and is quite tall. He is relatively quiet when compared to the rest of Gavin's friends as he is often seen in the background of the conversation and has no dialogue. He is not seen in Series 3 for unknown reasons.
Scott - One of Doris' (Margaret John) much younger boyfriends, whom she casually describes as "a bit of a pothead".
Natalie Lewis - Sales assistant whose brother and father once had a fight with Nessa (Ruth Jones)
Lucy - Smithy's (James Corden) much younger girlfriend, who is still in secondary school. She is never seen on-screen, and dumps Smithy in Series 2 when he discovers that she has been seeing somebody else. In a running joke meant to illustrate the age gap between her and Smithy, she is often mentioned to be doing activities that would normally be associated with younger people (such as Brownies or trampolining).
Glenda - In series 3 episode 4, Glenda gets in contact with Bryn (Rob Brydon), Doris (Margaret John) and Gwen (Melanie Walters) almost immediately after Pam (Alison Steadman) and Mick (Larry Lamb) arrive outside Gwen's house all via different forms of contact. It is not mentioned where Glenda lives, though she is within hearing range as she heard that Pam and Mick were going to the beach, nor is she ever mentioned again.