The quirky Welsh odd bods populating Ruth Jones’ new sitcom village may feel rather familiar, but one young actor who needs a proper introduction is Rory Girvan. This Leeds-born actor came fresh from a degree in Politics and International Studies to take lead roles on the stage and has now landed his first big TV break with Stella. âIâd barely ever even been to Wales beforeâ?, the 24-year-old confesses. âThere was all this incredible scenery around us on set and I just had to keep reminding myself that âHey, this is my job.ââ?
If you have been keeping up with the action in StellaÂ you will know that Girvan plays Sunil, boyfriend to Stellaâs daughter Emma (Catrin Stewart). This young chap might still be in school uniform but he has rather casually found himself to be an expectant father and fiancÃ©, all within the space of a few weeks. âHeâs pretty laidback about it all,â? he says about his character. âHe is completely besotted by Emma and I guess he just thinks that, even though it might be a few years early, it was going to happen anyway so heâs just getting on with it really.
âBut that doesnât mean it will be as simple as straight forward as he thinks it will be. There will be plenty of hiccups along the way.â?
One such digestive blip may well occur this evening, as episode three sees the young couple celebrating their engagement with or without the blessing of mummy Stella. While doing her best to prevent her wayward daughter making the âmistakesâ? that she made, the 42-year-old granny-to-be is also looking after two other troublesome offspring, one of whom is a convicted criminal.
The story of beleaguered single mothers has been told before, itâs true. But let us give credit where credit is due; Jones apparently had âcarte blancheâ? from Sky and her decision to tell the story of a single mum dealing with the strains of life is probably notÂ everyone’s first choice setting for comedic fun to flow.
It is, however, one that rings particularly true with Girvan, who grew up in a single parent family. âMy mother is a single parent and when it comes to the relationship that Stella has with her eldest son Luke (Craig), thatâs when I really knew I admired the writing. So many times the conversations mirrored conversations with mum. I think itâs important to show this stuff on TV, not in a really righteous way, but because a lot of people are in that situation now.â?
Understandably, Girvan is thrilled to have had the chance to work with Ruth so early in his career. Jonesâ last sitcom, Gavin and Stacey, won a bevvy of Baftas and became legend amongst fans who have no doubt watched their box sets on replay since the series ended in 2010. âItâs always intimidating working with big names but Ruth is just greatâ?, he says. âSo many times I remember watching her from the side of set and being amazed by her performance.â?
The thing about Jones is she comes across as the kind of woman you would like to have as your best friend, to share a bottle of wine and a funny story with. Or failing that, your mum. And Girvan assures me that her maternal streak continues off-screen. âThere was such a family atmosphere on set. A lot of the crew were brought in from Gavin and Stacey, it was very relaxing.â? And co-producing the series with husband David Peet, of Tidy Productions, completes the raggle-taggle family portrait of cameramen and actors.
The decision about whether the happy family will be reunited on the set of Stella has not yet been taken. But Girvan has just finished filming his next big project, Broken, a film also starring Cillian Murphy and Tim Roth and has plenty on his plate for the time being: âOf course I want series two to go ahead. Sure, the early mornings and late nights are hard but then you just have to think, âI have the most amazing jobâ and itâs all worth it.â?
Here’s a sneaky peek of episode three which airs tonight on Sky One at 10pm.