Compounding the fact that the comedy-drama isn't going anywhere (creator and star Ruth Jones told of "how cross" she was earlier this year over rumours it was facing the axe after five series), here's a festive special. As the season of goodwill approaches, it's a time for families coming together, with some new faces in Pontyberry (including folk singer Kate Rusby making a cameo), as well as a few familiar ones returning.Ben Arnold, The Guardian, 23rd December 2016
It's jolly but never twee - potty-mouthed Rhian and returning guest Scott Quinnell have put paid to any of that (the latter has Christmas-comedy line of the year).Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 7th December 2016
Much like ITV's Doc Martin, this Welsh valleys-based comedy starring Ruth Jones is a reliable source of gentle laughs, U-rated drama and the odd celeb cameo. Indeed, while Martin Clunes and pals were joined by Sigourney Weaver last year, Robert Plant rocked up in the fictional south Wales town of Pontyberry last week. Things are a little less starry tonight, as the winners of forgotten reality contest Last Choir Standing come to Aunty Brenda's aid. Elsewhere, Stella tries to contact on/off flame Rob, and Michael is forced to compromise.Hannah J Davies, The Guardian, 1st March 2016
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.
Meanwhile, Aunty Brenda is disappointed by her ceremony-free investiture as Mayor of Pontyberry - "Where's the pomp and circumcision?" - and then shocked by the sudden appearance of her old flame, Clem (Clive Russell).
Amid the bubbly flimflam of the dance competition and attendant romance is the well-acted grit of a big reveal.Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 2nd February 2016
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.
Writer Steve Speirs (the sadly absent Big Alan) even makes time for a love triangle for Jag and a get-together for Stella's returning ex, Rob. With further effortless comedy from Di Botcher as Aunty Brenda and a step-up in Strictly fever, it's an enjoyably breezy watch.Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 26th January 2016
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.
Elsewhere, the Pontyberry mayor (Hi-de-Hi!'s Ruth Madoc!) pegs out in a council meeting, with ambitious Aunty Brenda waiting in the wings; Bobby has a drunken fling that has professional repercussions; and Jag makes a surprising discovery about his cleaner. In common with the best instalments, it's a delicious mix of sad and funny.Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 19th 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.
The crux of the episode is expectant vamp Beyoncé applying a financial squeeze on the rueful Michael, while comedy linchpins Bobby and Brenda tussle for the same ndertaker's job. Their interviewer is the enigmatic Ivan Schloss (the usually excellent Tony Gardner, here with an uncomfortable accent). If it's all a tad overplayed, the feel-good factor conquers all.Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 12th January 2016
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.Hannah Verdier, The Guardian, 12th January 2016