Stella (UK TV series)

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Stella
Genre Comedy-drama
Created by Ruth Jones
David Peet
Written by Ruth Jones
Ben Edwards
Simon Ludders
Rob Evans
Steve Speirs
Rob Gittins
Directed by Sandy Johnson
Sue Tully
Juliet May
Tony Dow (director)
Starring Ruth Jones
Craig Gallivan
Catrin Stewart
Justin Davies
Mark Lewis Jones
Elizabeth Berrington
Owen Teale
Julian Lewis Jones
Patrick Baladi
Karen Paullada
Steve Spiers
Opening theme "And Then She Smiles" by The Mock Turtles
Composer(s) Mark Thomas
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 30 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 60mins (inc. adverts)
Production company(s) Tidy Productions
Broadcast
Original channel Sky1
Picture format 16:9 (1080i HDTV)
Original run 6 January 2012 (2012-01-06) – Present
External links
Official Website

Stella is a British comedy-drama created and written by David Peet and Ruth Jones who plays the lead role of Stella. Stella is one of the flagship television comedy series that has been commissioned and aired on Sky1. The series is largely filmed in Ferndale in the Rhondda Valley in Wales.[1] Just as the show reached halfway through the first series, it was confirmed that a second series was commissioned and aired in January 2013.[2] Just before the second series even aired, Sky recommissioned the show for a third series and began airing in January 2014[3] with a Christmas Special to follow in December 2014. As the show reached halfway through the third series, it was confirmed that a fourth series was commissioned and will air in early 2015.[4]

Background[edit]

The series is set in the fictional village of Pontyberry in the South Wales Valleys. Stella is a 40-something single mum who earns a living doing the locals' ironing. Most of the time, she's relatively happy with life as she juggles the ups and downs of her family, amid the chaos of her eccentric friends, relatives and children's fathers. Her brood consists of eldest son Luke, who starts the series in prison as a consequence of stealing five cars and a lorry; 16-year-old Emma who's smitten with her first love Sunil; and 12-year-old Ben.

Then there's Stella's best friend, sister-in-law Paula, a functioning alcoholic funeral director. Stella's not-too-bright ex-husband Karl who's now seeing 28-year-old Nadine; not forgetting lollipop man and youth rugby coach Alan, an old school friend of Stella's who's been in love with her since 1984. Finally there's Stella's brother Dai who is an ex-serviceman injured on duty. He doesn't work now but is always willing to help out while enjoying an exciting sex life with his wife Paula.

A running joke of the series is the Daddy character played by Howell Evans who only speaks in an unfathomable language, yet everyone in the village is able to understand him but outsiders cannot. However, Daddy appears in the choir scenes where he appears to sing the same words as the rest of the choir members. In episode 2.7 Ashley Banjo thinks Daddy is speaking Welsh but Paula says Daddy does not speak Welsh. However, in episode 2.10 Auntie Brenda says Daddy can speak Welsh and Punjabi.

Numerous main cast members did not return for the third series and exited off screen with numerous new cast members added for the third series.

Sypnosis[edit]

Stella is a warm, funny, down-to-earth family saga starring Ruth Jones in the titular role as a mum juggling the demands of life, love and the next door neighbour's horse. Stella is a 40-something mum who earns a living doing the locals' washing and ironing. And, most of the time, she's relatively happy with life as she juggles the ups and downs of her family, amid the chaos of her eccentric friends, relatives and children's fathers. Her brood consists of eldest son Luke, a lovely boy who starts the series in prison; beautiful 16-year-old Emma who's smitten with her first love Sunil; and the brains of the family, 12-year-old Ben.

Then there's Stella's best friend Paula, a functioning alcoholic funeral director. Stella's not-too-bright ex-husband Karl who's now seeing 28-year-old Nadine; not forgetting lollipop man and youth rugby coach Alan, an old school friend of Stella's who's been in love with her since 1984. Finally there's Stella's brother Dai who is an ex-serviceman injured on duty. He doesn't work now but is always willing to help out while enjoying an exciting sex life with his wife. Stella's life isn't straightforward. Bagging toy boy Sean and son Luke's release from prison indicated that things were on an upward turn in the first run, but teenage daughter Emma's pregnancy and the untimely return of Stella's first love Rob soon knocked the family off balance. In the last episode, Luke revealed he was emigrating to Canada, although Stella stole the show by confessing to Emma that she was pregnant - but didn't know if Rob or Sean was the father.

Series two joins Stella and Sean preparing for their new arrival, while Emma and Sunil adjust to married life. Domestic bliss looks doubtful for both, however, as Rob's business dealings bring him back to Pontyberry and Sunil enrols at a brainy (and boozy) medical school. Elsewhere, Dai begins work at the funeral home with wife Paula, creating untoward problems for the usually adventurous couple. Catch up with lollipop man Alan too, who experiences a run of bad luck when his crossing is replaced by traffic lights. Karl and Nadine's new salon Tantastic Bodies, meanwhile, promises to make the town "browner and beefier", and they've already got a potential client in Aunty Brenda, a new arrival from Tenerife armed with bags of insults and an appetite to offend.

Patrick Baladi joins Ruth Jones in Pontyberry playing English lawyer, Michael Jackson. Michael moves to the valleys and the house next door to Stella after an acrimonious divorce has caused him to have to downsize his lifestyle. As he tries to adjust to valley life he soon becomes inextricably linked to Stella's household. When we left Pontyberry at the end of Series 2 Stella had made the life changing decision not to go to Canada with Rob. She also parted ways with Sean and he emigrated to Australia with his new love. As the story picks up for series 3 will Stella have entirely given up on men? Or could new neighbour Michael become the new apple of her eye?

Cast[edit]

Current main cast[edit]

Actor/Actress Character Duration Notes
Ruth Jones Stella Morris 2012–Present
Craig Gallivan Luke Morris/Morgan 2012–Present Eldest son of Stella
Catrin Stewart Emma Morris/Choudary 2012–Present Only daughter of Stella
Justin Davies Ben Morris 2012–Present Youngest child of Stella
Steve Speirs 'Big' Alan Williams 2012–Present Close friend of Stella
Patrick Baladi Michael Jackson 2014–Present Current boyfriend of Stella

Current supporting cast[edit]

Karen Paullada Nadine Bevan 2012–Present
Julian Lewis Jones Karl Morris 2012–present
Howell Evans Daddy Simpson 2012–Present
Aled Pugh Bobby 2012–Present
Daniel Gammond Little Alan 2012–Present
Di Botcher Aunty Brenda 2013–Present
Anthony O'Donnell Dai Davies 2012–Present
Pal Aron Jagadeesh Choudary 2012–Present
Sudha Bhuchar Tanisha Chaudary 2012–Present
Maxine Evans Rhian 2012–Present
Russell Gomer Yanto Beed 2012–Present
Eiri Hughes Verv/Vivienne 2014–Present
Bethan Witcomb Zoe 2013–Present
Gareth Pierce Lenny Mack 2013–Present
Yasmine Akram Parvadi 2014–Present
Tilly Blackwood Jan Jackson 2014–Present
Martha Mackintosh Katie Jackson 2014–Present
Emma Rydal Celia 2014–Present
James Thornton Marcus Jensen 2014–Present
Denise Gough Collette Jensen 2014–Present
Katie Elin-Salt Amy Edwards 2012, 2014–Present
Wayne Cater George the butcher 2012–2014
Dafydd Hywel Glen 2012–Present
Deddie Davies Marj Brennig 2012, 2014–Present
Michelle McTernan WPC Jane Glover 2012–2014
Andy Linden Big Rae 2012–Present

Former cast[edit]

Actor/Actress Character Duration
Mark Lewis Jones Rob Morgan 2012–2013
Elizabeth Berrington Paula Kosh 2012–2013
Owen Teale Dai Kosh 2012–2013
Kenny Doughty Sean McGaskill 2012–2013
Rory Girvan Sunil Choudary 2012–2013
Taj Atwal Jasminder Choudary 2012–2013
Beth Robert Mrs. Barclay 2012–2013
Maggie Steed Meg, Stella's mother 2012
Michael Elwyn Ken, Stella's father 2012
Donna Edwards Mo the Bap 2012–2013
Nadia Kamil Bethan 2012-13
Joanna Riding Melissa 2013
Joanna Scanlan Nancy 2012
Lucinda Dryzek Leah 2013
Paul Kaye Peschman Hodd 2013
Howell Evans Uncle Huw Simpson, Daddy's twin brother 2013
James Corden Steven 2012
Melanie Walters Sonographer 2013

Episodes[edit]

Series 1 (2012)[edit]

Episode Title Directed by Written by Viewers
(millions)[5]
Original air date
1 "Episode One" Sue Tully Ruth Jones 1.42 6 January 2012 (2012-01-06)
Fortysomething single mother Stella tries on her 16-year-old daughter's clothes and make-up in an attempt to make herself more glamorous, but the fun comes to an end when she makes a startling discovery. Later, a drunken night out intended to cheer her up ends in disaster when she returns home to a bombshell from one of her children.
2 "Episode Two" Sue Tully Ruth Jones, Georgia Pritchett 1.30 13 January 2012 (2012-01-13)
The single mum struggles to come to terms with the seriousness of her daughter's relationship with Sunil following Emma's shock announcement, and a meeting with his parents fails to ease her concerns. Meanwhile, Paula's stolen hearse turns up sporting a new look, before Harley-riding Sean comes to the rescue when Stella suffers car trouble of her own.
3 "Episode Three" Tony Dow Ruth Jones, Rob Evans 0.96 21 January 2012 (2012-01-21)[fn 1]
The people of Pontyberry attend the funeral of local rugby legend Dick the Kick, and Emma is forced to make sacrifices ahead of her wedding day. Jagadeesh excitedly plans Sunil's Grease-themed stag weekend and Stella saves up to buy bunk beds for her boys. The funeral includes cameo appearances as themselves by Neil Kinnock, Warren Gatland, Eamonn Holmes, Colin Jackson and Gethin Jones along with Welsh rugby internationals Colin Charvis, Mike Phillips, Graham Price, Gareth Thomas and Shane Williams.
4 "Episode Four" Tony Dow Ruth Jones, Rob Evans 1.19 27 January 2012 (2012-01-27)
Luke is released from prison, but walks straight back into trouble after a chance encounter with an old school friend who is now a drug dealer. Alan's plans for a trip to a celebrity fun day lead to chaos when Sean confronts Luke about his recent activities. Meanwhile, Dai and Paula play their most outlandish sex game yet, and Stella's relationship with Sean steps up a notch as the pair go on a date. This episode includes cameos from Keith Chegwin, Debbie McGee and Andrew Stone as themselves.
5 "Episode Five" Juliet May Ruth Jones, Steve Spiers 1.33 3 February 2012 (2012-02-03)
The single mum goes on a fitness drive before her date with Sean, but is distracted when Dai flees to Brecon after committing benefit fraud. Stella, Sean and Luke take Paula on a road trip to find him, before the pair enjoy an emotional reunion.
6 "Episode Six" Juliet May Ruth Jones 1.22 10 February 2012 (2012-02-10)
Rumours spread that Sunil is cheating on Emma, and Stella makes it her mission to find out the truth when Luke spots his future brother-in-law with another girl. Meanwhile, Dai and Paula come up with a novel way to prepare for the benefit fraud trial, and Luke toys with the possibility of making contact with his estranged father.
7 "Episode Seven" Sue Tully Ruth Jones, Rob Gittins 1.33 17 February 2012 (2012-02-17)
Luke has a 25th birthday party, but his mind is elsewhere after a meeting with his estranged father. While dad Rob is eager to make up for lost time, Luke is unsure whether he wants to get to know him. Stella and Sean step into the boxing ring, where a practical joke leads to a close shave when Sean receives a potentially deadly blow. Joe Calzaghe makes a cameo appearance as himself.
8 "Episode Eight" Sue Tully Ruth Jones, Ben Edwards, Simon Ludders 1.21 24 February 2012 (2012-02-24)
The weekend of the stag and hen parties arrives, and while the girls head for a hotel and spa break, Dai saves the boys from a Grease-themed event by taking them camping in Brecon. However, Stella is devastated when she hears Luke is considering moving to Canada to live with dad Rob.
9 "Episode Nine" Sandy Johnson Ruth Jones, Ben Edwards, Simon Ludders 1.11 2 March 2012 (2012-03-02)
The single mother struggles to accept Luke's decision to move to Canada with Rob, and Emma's geography exam takes an unexpected turn. Meanwhile, Paula gets concerned when Dai visibly feels the pressure of his looming court appearance.
10 "Episode Ten" Sandy Johnson Ruth Jones 1.14 9 March 2012 (2012-03-09)
The family celebrates the arrival of Emma's baby, which hampers the wedding plans, much to the annoyance of Jasminder. Meanwhile, Luke prepares to leave for Canada, Bobby gets ready to move to Bristol with new boyfriend Steve, and Rob has some shocking news for Stella at Luke's leaving party. Guest starring James Corden.

Series 2 (2013)[edit]

Episode Title Directed by Written by Viewers
(millions)[5]
Original air date
1 "Episode One" Mandie Fletcher Ruth Jones 1.25 11 January 2013 (2013-01-11)
Stella and Sean are preparing for their new arrival, while Emma is settling into married life with Sunil. But domestic bliss looks like being short-lived for both mother and daughter when Rob's business dealings bring him back to Pontyberry and Sunil enrols at medical school - and soon takes to the boozy student life. Meanwhile, Dai begins working at the funeral home with wife Paula, causing untold problems for the couple.
2 "Episode Two" Mandie Fletcher Ben Edwards, Simon Ludders 1.11 18 January 2013 (2013-01-18)
Sean plans to leave Pontyberry after Stella's confession that he might not be the father of her baby, and it isn't long before the gossips get wind of this latest development. But some familiar faces are back - Luke is home from Canada, having been deported for hiding his criminal record, and Bobby has also returned - and just in the nick of time for Paula, who has reached the end of her tether with Dai.
3 "Episode Three" Sarah O'Gorman Ben Edwards, Simon Ludders 1.23 25 January 2013 (2013-01-25)
After back-to-back bombshells from the doctor and Sean, Stella feels as if her life is officially over, so Aunty Brenda gets her a job at the Bap Factory, hoping she will be able to bake away the blues. But her first day takes an unsavoury turn. Twinkle-toed astrologer Russell Grant is in town to open Karl and Nadine's salon, Dai and Paula continue to have problems in the bedroom and Emma fights for her man at Sunil's student ball.
4 "Episode Four" Sarah O'Gorman Karen Laws 1.11 1 February 2013 (2013-02-01)
Emma and Sunil kiss and make up, but if Leah has anything to do with it the young couple may not be playing happy families for long. Dai's hopes of a quick marital fix also look bleak when Paula considers turning her night away from home into a permanent arrangement, and Alan is heartbroken to discover the rugby club is closing down. Luckily for the troubled residents of Pontyberry, help is at hand in the shape of Dutch life coach Peschman, who has some wise words of guidance and a unique form of therapy.
5 "Episode Five" Minkie Spiro Abilgail Wilson 0.98 8 February 2013 (2013-02-08)
Ashley Banjo brings Got to Dance to the valleys, so Ben persuades Little Alan to enter, hoping he can win the fame and fortune needed to save the rugby club from closure. The only problem is, the would-be star has two left feet. Can Bobby's choreography do the trick? Stella attends her fancy-dress school reunion, where she takes a liking to Rob in his Tom Cruise costume, while hopes of a reconciliation between Paula and Dai look bleak after a scandalous confession.
6 "Episode Six" Minkie Spiro Matthew Leys, Martin Trenaman 0.98 15 February 2013 (2013-02-15)
After the disastrous school reunion, Stella tries to forget her drunken misdemeanours by working at the undertakers, but there's nowhere to hide when she accidentally interrupts a moment of passion between Rob and Melissa. Alan discovers the rugby club is falling into the hands of a property development company, so he plans an ambitious counter-attack, while Paula offers to babysit Emma's son - only to lose the child on the way to his naming ceremony.
7 "Episode Seven" Tony Dow Robert Evans 1.09 22 February 2013 (2013-02-22)
The heart-broken Dai is still missing but Paula refuses to suffer alone like her estranged partner and instead expresses her feelings at the long-awaited Got to Dance auditions, where she gives Ashley Banjo a show he'll never forget. Bobby faces his first solo funeral, only for two parties to arrive at the cemetery to find only one plot, while Luke trades punches - and butts heads - with Lenny in the amateur boxing championship. The dance competition scene includes a cameo appearance by Ashley Banjo as a judge.
8 "Episode Eight" Tony Dow Steve Speirs 1.00 1 March 2013 (2013-03-01)
It's fight night in Pontyberry, and while Lenny is determined to win whatever it takes - even if it means playing dirty - Luke's mind is elsewhere as he sets his sights on Zoe. Alan remortgages his house to raise funds for the rugby club, a risky strategy if Melissa follows through with her threat to apply for sole custody of Little Alan, and Paula resorts to desperate measures to win Dai back.
9 "Episode Nine" Tony Dow Ruth Jones, Steve Speirs 1.08 8 March 2013 (2013-03-08)
Rob and Stella try to rebuild their trust in each other, but hopes of a reunion are cut short by the surprise return of Sean, who has startling news. Alan discovers he has the Casanova touch, which comes in handy when his remortgage application is rejected, and he teams up with Auntie Brenda to organise a charity game for the rugby club. Elsewhere, Emma's pent-up anger with Sunil finally reaches tipping point.
10 "Episode Ten" Tony Dow Ruth Jones 1.01 8 March 2013 (2013-03-08)
Rob makes Stella a life-changing offer - but as chaos engulfs her family and friends, can she accept it?

Series 3 (2014)[edit]

Episode Title Directed by Written by Ratings[5] Original air date
1 "Episode One" Sarah O'Gorman Ruth Jones, David Peet 0.93 24 January 2014 (2014-01-24)
Now sporting a rather spiffy blonde do, the very single mum is focusing all her energy on her family and nursing degree, though the arrival of handsome lawyer and recent divorcee Michael - could prove distracting. The pair's first run-in is far from romantic, but by the episode's end they're going to find it hard to keep out of each other's way. Aunty Brenda, meanwhile, is horrified to discover that her wayward daughter Verv is back from her travels. Someone who is glad to see her, however, is Yanto, or to use Verv's pet name for him, Doggy Man. Elsewhere in Pontyberry, Big Alan panics when his solicitor tells him to put Little Alan on a diet, and nerves jangle as Emma prepares for an interview at swanky hairdressing salon Jensen's. There's also a special two-for-one deal going on at the undertakers.
2 "Episode Two" Sarah O'Gorman Ruth Jones 0.91 31 January 2014 (2014-01-31)
Neighbour Michael, on the other hand, is finding it hard to settle in, and a squabble with Stella over bin etiquette, not to mention the arrival of a donkey on the street, doesn't help. A couple of Pontyberry residents are looking to start afresh, too, and while Aunty Brenda means business when she organises a meeting with Dai, Big Alan follows doctors' orders and tries to lose weight. Plus, Bobby and Daddy find themselves burdened with too many bodies, and trouble looms for Zoe and Luke after Lenny gets back in contact.
3 "Episode Three" 1.00 7 February 2014 (2014-02-07)
Frosty relations between Stella and Michael shows signs of thawing this week when she treats him for a bloody nose at the hospital, but it's back to trading insults after the lawyer stumbles upon an uninvited guest in his house. Emma, meanwhile, is looking forward to letting her hair down at the awards show, especially after receiving confirmation of her divorce to Sunil, and someone needs to give Luke a break - none the wise about Zoe's prison visit, he also misses out on a job on Brenda's buses. This episode includes a cameo by Nicky Clarke as himself.
4 "Episode Four" 1.07 14 February 2014 (2014-02-14)
White flags are raised this week as Stella calls a truce with Michael, going so far as to let him use her shower when his water runs out. The lawyer might think twice about accepting the offer again, though, following an incident involving a basketball and shattered glass. Daughter Emma, on the other hand, heads into dangerous territory, crossing the line with boss Marcus. Brenda's Buses make their maiden voyage, too, but with Brenda and Dai butting heads at every turn, surely it's only a matter of time before the business runs out of gas? Plus, jaws drop when Simpsons relaunches in an attempt to attract "classy stiffs", and Big Alan grows closer to the troubled Celia.
5 "Episode Five" 0.95 21 February 2014 (2014-02-21)
Stella accidentally shuts Michael's hand in his car bonnet - thankfully the pair are still being pally at this point. Something is bound to happen between them, though, with Stella's raging hormones just about being kept at bay by a 50 Shades of Grey-style erotic novel. Later on, a girls' night out to the local nightclub to see TV presenter and one-time X Factor star Rylan spells trouble for young Emma when she continues to cross the line with the very married Marcus. On a brighter note, Big Alan asks Celia out for dinner, and Luke has a big question for Zoe. This episode includes a cameo by Rylan Clark as himself.
6 "Episode Six" 1.10 28 February 2014 (2014-02-28)
Michael tells his smug ex-wife Jan that he has a date for the charity gala dinner... now all the lawyer needs to do is actually ask Stella.
7 "Episode Seven" 1.11 7 March 2014 (2014-03-07)
Although well-acquainted with Michael between the sheets, Stella starts to wonder how serious things really are between them.
8 "Episode Eight" 1.06 14 March 2014 (2014-03-14)
Ben is suspended from school. Luke, meanwhile, is let go by the police but can't escape the suspicions of those around him.
9 "Episode Nine" 1.01 21 March 2014 (2014-03-21)
Proud parents Luke and Zoe get the ball rolling on their wedding plans.
10 "Episode Ten" 1.10 28 March 2014 (2014-03-28)
With a fresh start in Chichester on the cards, will Michael see the error of his ways before it's too late?
11 "Christmas Special" December 2014 (2014-12)

Series 4 (2015)[edit]

It was confirmed that a fourth series was commissioned and will air in early 2015.

DVD release[edit]

The complete first series of Stella was released on DVD on 12 March 2012.[6]

The complete second series of Stella was released on DVD on 18 March 2013.[7]

The complete third series of Stella was released on DVD on 31 March 2014.[8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ A technical fault caused this episode to be broadcast for 40 minutes without sound before being replaced by a repeat of The Simpsons, in its usual Friday evening slot.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stella filmed in Ferndale
  2. ^ Sky order 2nd series of Ruth Jones comedy drama Stella, retrieved 10 February 2012
  3. ^ Ruth Jones's Stella gets third series, retrieved 25 August 2012
  4. ^ Sky orders Series 4 of Ruth Jones comedy drama Stella, retrieved 27 February 2014
  5. ^ a b c "Weekly Top 10 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. Retrieved 9 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "Stella [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Stella - Series 2 [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "Stella [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 

External links[edit]