Stella. Stella (Ruth Jones). Copyright: Tidy Productions
Stella

Stella

  • TV comedy drama
  • Sky One
  • 2012 - 2017
  • 58 episodes (6 series)

Comedy drama written by and starring Ruth Jones as Stella, a single mother struggling in the Welsh valleys. Stars Ruth Jones, Joanna Riding, Piers Ahia, Patrick Baladi, Craig Gallivan and more.

  • JustWatch Streaming rank this week: 3,461

Press clippings Page 7

If you were expecting writer Robert Evans to go into cliche mode and make the boys genuine contenders for the Got To Dance title, you'll be pleasantly surprised. They're terrible. But not quite as terrible as Paula, who makes a ­spectacle of herself. For a change.

Jane Simon, The Mirror, 22nd February 2013

Ruth Jones's poignant, charmingly observed Welsh Valleys comedy drama continues. Tonight sees a search organised for Dai (Owen Teale), while his estranged wife Paula (Elizabeth Berrington) deals with the issue in a more proactive way - by expressing her feelings at the Got to Dance auditions in front of Ashley Banjo (a shameless bit of Sky1 self promotion). Elsewhere, Bobby (Aled Pugh) conducts his first solo funeral but there's a problem when two families arrive at the cemetery and find only one burial plot.

Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 21st February 2013

Nudging over the halfway point of the series, Stella has a handful of timebombs ticking away, among them: Alan's ex waltzing back to the Valleys to ruin lives like Alexis in Dynasty; Luke flirting with the girlfriend of monstrous ex-con Lennie; and "Midlife Crisis" Paula being inexplicably allowed to babysit ("He's too young for cheeseburger, in' he?"). It's an almost perfect mix of sweet, sour and funny (a Bobby and Stella two-hander in the undertaker's manages to be all three).

But isn't it time fortune started to smile on downtrodden, cuckolded Alan (Steve Speirs)? He even gets hit on the head with a rugby ball. Three times. Still, he's given the best speech tonight - about community, in many ways the show's party manifesto - and the finest punchline.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 15th February 2013

Fact hip hops around fiction and back again as Diversity's Ashley Banjo brings Sky1's talent show Got To Dance to the streets of Pontyberry. With the carrot of a cash pot big enough to save Big Alan's rugby club, the show tempts Little Alan to step up and shake his booty. Which is what the grown-ups are doing at their 1980s-themed fancy dress school reunion - a nostalgic trip which revives first-love memories for Stella (Ruth Jones) and Rob.

Carol Carter and Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, Metro, 8th 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 isn't afraid to let her ensemble cast shine in this series, and it's great to see some of them edge towards the ridiculous. Talking of which, Paula and Dai are counting on over-the-top Dutch life coach Peschman (Paul Kaye) to fix their marriage, and in a very convenient Sky1 tie-in, Little Alan decides to audition for Got To Dance to help save the rugby club. Stella steals the show when she drinks enough to make her school reunion bearable and Rob comes to the rescue dressed as Tom Cruise.

Hannah Verdier, The Guardian, 7th February 2013

Currently in the middle of its second series, Stella is a comedy drama starring and co-written by Ruth Jones. It certainly has a lot of support because a third series has been commissioned already.

Set in the fictional Welsh town of Pontyberry, Jones plays the title character, a woman in her mid-40s who is divorced and with three kids (like in Spy, divorcees appear to be a recurring theme in Sky comedy). Stella's eldest son is in prison, the middle child is a troublesome daughter and the youngest son is bullied for being too clever.

The series follows her life and those of her friends and neighbours, which include Paula (Elizabeth Berrington), an undertaker with a love of booze, and Alan (Steve Speirs) the school lollipop man - and rugby coach - who has loved Stella since school.

Again, another similarity with Spy was the good use of visual humour. There's one scene in which Paula tries to sober up by taking some flowers out of a glass vase and drinking the water that's inside. Then there are the neighbours across the road, who for some reason have a pet donkey.

The characters, however, are more likable than those in Spy. I love Alan's pathetic attempts to win over Stella's affections - like getting her a jar of anchovies. And while the drama can be a bit predictable, I do prefer Stella over Spy. It's more realistic, more likeable, and the created situations are just a lot more fun.

Ian Wolf, Giggle Beats, 4th February 2013

Pontyberry doesn't know what's hit it when Paul Kaye hops off his golf cart and descends upon the little town in the guise of Dutch life coach Peschman. Peddling a line in glass-half-full therapy, his arrival is met with cautious optimism by some of the lost souls in Ruth Jones's gentle comedy drama. Whether he will be enough to save Emma (Catrin Stewart) and Sunil's marriage from the predatory Leah remains to be seen.

Caroline Westbrook, Metro, 1st February 2013

Stella herself is hardly in it this week - the ensemble is good enough to take the strain. Paul Kaye joins as a Dutch new age therapist who soon has half of Pontyberry sitting in a semi-circle listening to Tubular Bells. Once Dai Davies has put his pasty away and Auntie Brenda has shut up, top of the agenda is asking the universe to put the other Dai back on terms with his disaffected wife.

As Dai, Owen Teale is brilliant at both drunken self-pity and, in the therapy session, gushy optimism.

Jack Seale, Radio Times, 1st February 2013

Ruth Jones's deftly written comedy rarely misses a beat. Tonight comic Paul Kaye makes an appearance as Peschman, a Dutch life coach who uses a unique form of therapy to help Stella (Jones) through her continuing troubles. Elsewhere, Paula (Elizabeth Berrington) thinks about turning her night away from home into a permanent arrangement, while the hapless Alan (Steve Speirs) learns that his big love - the rugby club - is closing down.

Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 31st January 2013

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