Stella - In The Press
Main News Stories About 'Stella':
Should we be worried? While work demands are keeping Stella and her fella apart, her ex, Rob, is very much on the scene, and a heart-to-heart shows there's still a bit of chemistry.
The Frisky Fox is becoming to Pontyberry what the Queen Vic is to Walford. All human life is here, and anything of import happens within its walls. In this eventful episode the pub hosts a mayoral candidacy vote, an arranged marriage proposition, a Gamblers Anonymous meeting and a Star Trek-themed wake.
Ruth Jones, here on writing duty, moves things along big time in an episode of ructions and revelations. Her title character is in London on a work trip and pays a surprise visit to Michael (Patrick Baladi). A big decision beckons, until a bolt from the blue scuppers everything.
Ruth Jones's Stella returned to Sky1 for its fifth series to restore our faith in humankind. The wholesome comedy isn't laugh-out-loud funny, but it is warming and comfortingly down to earth.
Written by Daisy Wyatt. The Independent, 12th January 2016
Star/co-creator Ruth Jones calls another Welsh favour this week. After cameos in previous series from Lord Kinnock, presenter Gethin Jones and rugby star Scott Quinnell, Andy Fairweather Low gets to busk in a pub! The Wide Eyed and Legless singer is the kind of delightful aside at which this post-watershed Pobol y Cwm excels.
Ruth Jones's comedy-drama opens for its fifth series of slightly ridiculous storylines and panto-esque characters. Stella is being ridiculously tolerant of the fact that her current love interest, Michael, is fathering the lovechild of Beyoncé, whom Aunty Brenda refers to as the local Jezebel. Nadine is preparing to christen her daughter, while her dopey husband, Karl, is stuck on a train. Meanwhile, there's a new undertaker in Pontyberry as Ivan Schloss (Fresh Meat's Tony Gardner) comes to town. It's pleasant comfort telly.
Another year, another jam-packed Stella finale. And change is in the air. Michael has an interview for a job in London; the bailiffs are sent in to penniless Luke and Zoe's house and Big and Little Alan's café is forced to close. And if all that sounds miserable, it's not.
There's been charm by the bucketload in this series of Ruth Jones's gentle comedy and this final episode wraps things up in cockle-warming fashion. Every week has some ridiculous subplot that calls for fancy dress, and tonight Big Alan and Celia get their Antony and Cleopatra costumes on for their wedding. Stella has good news about her nursing exams, and Michael gets a job offer in London, but will they overcome their differences? Luke, meanwhile, is struggling with his gambling addiction so he's relieved when a familiar face offers help.
Stella goes all out to tug as many heart strings as possible in a big set-piece episode: the stag and hen dos. And it works like a dream. Stella and next-door neighbour Michael inch towards reconciliation, while working on the big celebrations, she to organise a big pamper session for the women, he to rally the troops for some paintballing.
This knockabout episode sees Common Sense Party leader Aunty Brenda on the hustings facing dodgy bookie Iwan Jenkins and a joke candidate resembling El Macho from Despicable Me 2. Looking like a superannuated Yellowcoat from Hi-de-Hi!, Brenda goes wading in with her hobnail boots. So Michael, as much to curry favour with Stella as anything else, offers a few lessons in diplomacy. But he'll need to work hard - Iwan Jenkins is all free pens, pie-in-the-sky promises and Rocky music blaring over the tannoy.
This post-watershed Pobol y Cwm has dawdled a bit lately. That all changes with the return of a Pontyberry favourite. Stella sees a woman loitering in her road, swigging from a vodka bottle. "It can't be." It is: Stella's sister-in-law and best friend Paula (Elizabeth Berrington) - back, she says, to pay the recovering Aunty Brenda a visit. How we, her friends and the show, have missed her.
The emotional fallout from Beyoncé-gate is still being felt by Stella and next-door neighbour Michael, but fortunately there are some welcome distractions. Celia's ex-husband Dan turns up, Ben plucks up the courage to talk to Lily (don't get too excited) and there's an inaugural training session for Pontyberry Ladies Football Team.
Ruth Jones's Stella is so lovable that it's never good to see her having a bad time, but with Michael having done the dirty with flirty caricature Beyoncé, our Welsh heroine needs a break. Or a drink, with Dr Honey (Ramon Tikaram). But how will she react when Beyoncé turns up at the hospital? Big Alan, meanwhile, has competition in the form of Celia's ex-husband. Gently amusing.
Just some of the different ways in which men are idiots seems to be the theme of this episode. First there's imploding lawyer Michael, who has yet to confess to the lovely Stella the full extent of his betrayal with Beyoncé. Then there's flashy car salesman and aspiring councillor Dai Davies, who believes he can woo the electorate with a free bar. Stella's eldest, Luke, thinks a spot of online gambling will fund his new house. And Luke's brother Ben is tongue-tied with infatuation for Lily. See? Idiots.
If Stella's episodes had titles, this one would be Time Bomb. The ticking before the explosion (a fling being discovered) becomes almost deafening. "Midlife Crisis" Michael (Patrick Baladi) is the culprit, playing away with barmaid Beyoncé. His live-in lover Stella is oblivious - though hospital consultant Mr Honey seems to be making a play for her.
A lightweight episode that nevertheless drives a wedge between two central characters. Prima-donna restaurateur Little Alan takes umbrage at solicitor Michael's new role as sous chef, Michael's journey into Midlife Crisis Land accelerates, and Stella's son has a disastrous first day as a hospital porter.
It's the lovely Welsh lilt that makes these leftfield lines sing.
Written by Sally Newall. The Independent, 9th February 2015
Ruth Jones's new series offers optimism and the warm blanket of community to soothe life's mishaps - perfect for watching with mother-in-law.
Written by Sam Wollaston. The Guardian, 7th February 2015
Ruth Jones's smile of a show returns for a well-won fourth series. As we catch up with the people of Pontyberry, Stella and Michael and their merged families are living in domestic bliss/chaos. So, while a contented Stella (Ruth Jones) heads off to her nursing job, Michael (Patrick Baladi) has to contend with drum 'n' bass and crying infants while practising as a solicitor from home.
Ruth Jones says there will be plenty of Welsh phrases to listen out for as Stella returns to our screens on Friday at 9pm.
Daily Post North Wales, 31st January 2015
Pontyberry's first festive special is unashamedly tinselly and warm. Longing for absent loved ones, thinking of those less fortunate than ourselves and blazing rows about turkey: these are the fundamentals of Christmas, and they're the themes here. While Stella (creator Ruth Jones) takes on a difficult patient during a nursing stint on a children's ward, the rest of the town gathers, irritably, to audition and rehearse for Auntie Brenda's charity panto.
Watching Christmas In Pontyberry has definitely whet my appetite for the fourth series.
Written by Elliot Gonzalez. I Talk Telly, 20th December 2014
We have to end on a birth or a wedding. The birth was a few weeks ago, so Luke and Zoe's wedding it is. After the arguments about how big the party will be - everyone round at Stella's, bring a plate of food, and no, Daddy Simpson will not be dressed as a bullfighter - it's time for the stag and hen dos, with the lads' standard lager and curry effort blown away by the ladies, for whom hippie Verv has made some special cakes.
Brace yourself as the third series of Ruth Jones's comedy drama hurtles to a close. With a fourth season of Pontyberry joys, tears and mishaps on the way, there are cliffs to be hung, with a clutch of storylines cued up for action. Wedding fever is in the air, with Luke and Zoe's stag and hen frolics promising to get lively. But Stella could be in for more heartbreak as Michael heads to Chichester - with his ex.
Last in the series. As Luke and Zoe's wedding day approaches, things aren't at all rosy for Stella and Michael. Shaken by Katie's accident, the handsome lawyer feels the pull of duty and ponders a reunion with his wife. Poor, cast-aside Stella drowns her sorrows on Zoe's hen night and Verv helps things along with a delicious batch of drug cakes. Will Emma see the folly of her dalliance with married Marcus? Will Michael realise the huge mistake he is making in time for some sort of emotional money shot?