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.
This, after all, is the day of Big Alan's fancy dress wedding to Celia, at once ludicrous and moving. And there's another effective deployment of a returning character, too: Stella's ex Rob (Mark Lewis Jones), just in time to sort out his wayward son Luke. Not that everyone's pleased to see him. "Well, look what the cat have dragged up from the sewer," as Aunty Brenda says (Di Botcher is once again hilarious).
It's an eisteddfod of feel-good, even if one particular turnaround in fortunes at the wedding is laughably unrealistic. But there is a little salt mixed in with the marzipan. Stella will return in 2016.Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 10th April 2015
Another week, another effortlessly funny 60 minutes. Loss of control features prominently this week: Luke and forbidden-fruit Zoe take it to the next level; lovelorn Dai feels the long arm of the law from WPC Glover; and looks could kill when a taste-free funeral that Stella has booked goes hilariously awry. As fraught undertaker Bobby, Aled Pugh spins gold out of all his lines, especially his retort when Stella suggests a calming massage.
On the dramatic side, Stella's ex, the ever-composed Rob (Mark Lewis Jones), makes friends and dispenses wisdom, while withholding a big secret that will make him Pontyberry's Public Enemy Number One. Will he do the right thing?Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 22nd February 2013
It's school reunion time in Pontyberry, an 80s-themed event that cannily flavours all this week's events with just the right tone. One of the many girls with whom Stella (Ruth Jones) feuded is back, dressed as Krystle Carrington when almost everyone else is a pop star. These snobs always come a cropper.
The fancy dress theme achieves the trademark Stella trick of tempering emotion with laughs: Dai hits a new low as his marriage to Paula fails to fix itself, but he's dressed as Adam Ant throughout so it doesn't seem so bad. Most importantly, a reunion is about longing for the past. The romance that never died between open-hearted Stella and manly, serene Rob (Mark Lewis Jones) warms up again.Jack Seale, Radio Times, 8th February 2013
Ruth Jones's charming and truthful Welsh comedy drama finds the heroine, Stella (Jones), out of sorts after recent revelations until Aunty Brenda (Di Botcher) arranges a job at the bap factory, although later there is an unpromising reunion with Rob (Mark Lewis Jones). Russell Grant makes an appearance at the opening of Nadine (Karen Paullada) and Karl's (Julian Lewis Jones) new salon and Emma (Catrin Stewart) stakes her claim for Sunil (Rory Girvan) at his student ball.Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 24th January 2013
Like another of Sky1's comedies, Starlings, Ruth Jones's series remains adept at observing the humour and hardships of life. As season two continues, Stella (Jones) has confessed to Sean (Kenny Doughty) about her night with her ex (Mark Lewis Jones) and not surprisingly he is planning to leave Pontyberry - but there is a twist in the tale. Her mood isn't improved when she hears that her eldest child, Luke (Craig Gallivan), has been deported from Canada, while undertaker Paula (Elizabeth Berrington) falls out with Dai (Owen Teale) because of his tendency to make-up the dead to "look like Joan Rivers".Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 17th January 2013
Ruth Jones's beautifully observed comedy drama about a working mother in the Welsh valleys makes a welcome return. It picks up the story with Stella (Jones) and boyfriend Sean (Kenny Doughty) preparing for the arrival of their new baby, but Stella is having doubts as she's not sure whether Sean or Rob (Mark Lewis Jones), her ex who is now working in Canada, is the father.Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 10th January 2013
Ruth Jones's enjoyable and truthfully observed series draws to a conclusion. Another season has already been commissioned and is due next year. As the family celebrate the birth of Emma's (Catrin Stewart) new baby, Stella (Jones) can't get her first love Rob (Mark Lewis Jones) out of her head. Meanwhile Emma and Sunil (Rory Girvan) decide to make up their own rules regarding their wedding ceremony, and Bobby (Aled Pugh) hands in his notice after announcing plans to move to Bristol with his new boyfriend (James Corden).Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 8th March 2012
Inspired by Dylan Thomas's nostalgic anecdotal tale, Mark Watson's observant comedy is set in the household of young Owen Rhys (Oliver Bunyan/Mark Williams) over a series of Christmases in 1980s South Wales. Every year, the peace of the family home, where Owen lives with his gloomy father (Mark Lewis Jones) and obsessive mother (Ruth Jones), is disturbed by the yuletide arrival of Owen's two uncles (Steve Speirs and Paul Kaye) and nephew (Jamie Burch/Rhys McLellan). In a glimpse of three of these gatherings, while Owen and Maurice are seen maturing into young men, their male elders merely engage in ever-more puerile bouts of sibling rivalry.Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 17th December 2009