According to reports, Sheridan Smith is set to sign a deal to star in the final episode of Gavin & Stacey.

It is understood the story James Corden and Ruth Jones have penned for the finale does include Sheridan’s character Ruth ‘Rudi’ Smith.

Sources working on the BBC show say informal discussions with the actress have already taken place despite rumours she would not be involved.

The TV deal, which comes after Sheridan saw her West End stage show Opening Night halted two months early, will come as a surprise to millions of fans as she did not appear in the 2019 Christmas Special.

One insider said: “The script for Gavin & Stacey: The Finale includes all of the show’s major players - including Smithy’s sister Rudi. Nothing has been signed and conversations are still very much ongoing - especially as the filming date has not been set.

“But all of the stops are being pulled out to make sure the whole cast are there, and in the coming weeks the production team hope to pin down everyone’s availability.

"Sheridan and James are still friendly - they recently bumped into each other at the Variety Club Awards and got on really well. So the hope is that she will be able to be part of it.

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“She did not appear in the Christmas Special because her character was not part of that storyline, but it has been a different story this time around. Everyone is very excited about this episode - it is going to be a phenomenal last hurrah for the series, which is exactly what it deserves.”

James, 45, and Ruth, 57, shared a photo of a script for Gavin & Stacey: The Finale - five years after fans saw Nessa propose to Smithy at the end of the 2019 Christmas Special.

According to the Mirror, Sheridan and James began dating off-screen in 2007 but seemed to split in 2008, when James was asked about his status and replied: “It’s complicated.”

They went on to reunite but split for good in 2009. And James, who had described Sheridan as “the love of his life” later told how the break-up left him feeling “heartbroken and lost”.