HIT sitcom Gavin and Stacey has really put Billericay on the map... and locals say the Christmas Day special is sure to be a hit.

The BBC TV show will return for a special episode on Christmas Day and will again merge the worlds of Billericay and Barry Island.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Writers - James Cordon and Ruth Jones

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Clip - a still from the Christmas Day special

The show, which ran for 20 episodes, from May 2007 to January 2010, is written by James Cordon and Ruth Jones.

It follows nice guy Gavin, played by Mathew Horne, who lives in the fictional Limetree Avenue, in “Billericay” - which is actually in Dinas Powys, in Wales.

He is married to happy-go-lucky Stacey, who was born and bred in Barry.

The show is already tipped to top the Christmas ratings.

And Kevin Blake, deputy leader of the Basildon Conservative Group and Burstead councillor, has high hopes for its impact.

He said: “It puts Billericay on the map and it can only be a good thing.

“I think people across the UK will know where Billericay is and it doesn’t do any harm.

“I think it will be the best part of Christmas, and for someone who loves their food that’s a big statement.”

Jim Devlin, chairman of Billericay Town Council, said: “It has made us more known, as many people didn’t know about the town.

“I think it shows the town as being ‘Essex’ but upmarket, and that isn’t a bad thing.

“I welcome Billericay being on television on Christmas Day.”

David Dadds, Tory councillor for Billericay East, added: “The two towns have a mutual twinning and share social events.

“I think the show is very important to our town.”

Residents also say the show has only helped the reputation of the town.

Deborah Griffin, 44, of Chapel Court, Billericay, said: “I think people want to come and see the town after the show.”

She added: “I’ll drop it into conversation at times and want to be associated with the show.”

Writer Ruth Jones has said it was “strange initially” working with James Corden again on the Christmas special.

Last November, Billericay and Barry Island Parkrun groups joined together to run around the island.

Ruth Jones said it was “strange initially” working with James Corden again on the show.

Jones, who co-created the hit sitcom with Corden and stars as Nessa, did not rule out the possibility it may return again in the future.