Gavin & Stacey was turned down by ITV because it was largely set in Wales, the channel’s former Head of Comedy has revealed.

The sitcom, which is returning to the BBC for a one-off special this Christmas, was first pitched to executives at ITV by creators Ruth Jones and James Corden.

But, according to Sioned Wiliam, they were turned down by bosses because the show was “Welsh”.

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“Ruth and James came to see me with Gavin & Stacey, because they were in a show called Fat Friends at the time,” Wiliam said in new three-part series Funny Nation.

“I thought it was fantastic and tried to get it made by ITV, but I was told [by bosses] that probably it wouldn’t be broadly accessible enough, because it was Welsh.”

Wiliam is now comedy commissioner for Radio 4.

Funny Nation, which is focused on Welsh comedy, will be shown on BBC One Wales on 9 December.

Gavin & Stacey was a huge success for the BBC, with its 2009 Christmas episode amassing views of 10m.

The majority of the show’s original cast has returned for the new episode, which will be broadcast on BBC One on Christmas Day.

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