Category Archives: TV

Stella

You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you pull on a favourite sweater in the bleak midwinter? Or slip into a dressing gown one size too big after a long, deep, steamy bath?

Well, have you seen Stella? You know…the gentle, warm, cuddly, funny yet poignant TV series set in the fictitious Welsh village of Pontyberry?

The final episode of the 5th series has just aired on Sky One.

Gill and I feel suitably warm and fuzzy, but also bereft that our weekly comfort blanket has been snatched from our clammy grasp. Especially as there will apparently be a hiatus before the next series.

Conceived by Ruth Jones, she plays the central character Stella Morris, a lovable, slightly overweight Welsh Mum who lurches from one doomed love affair to another. But she’s as different from Nessa – of Gavin & Stacey fame – as David Cameron is from Mr Corbyn. Clever, these actors.

The story lines are funny, sad, preposterously far-fetched and yet somehow totally believable, thanks to the quality of the acting and the always evolving panoply of whacky supporting characters. The writing is as razor sharp as the Welsh rugby team’s back line in the 1970s.

If you’ve never been lucky enough to become addicted to Stella, there are too many story threads and characters to describe here. But – and look away now if you don’t want to know the full time result – this brief summary of the final episode of the latest series should give you a good idea why we’ve fallen so deeply in love with Stella.

Michael – the Arabic-speaking lawyer who was working in London but has now set up a temporary office in the allotment shed back in Pontyberry – has agreed to marry Stella. Is this finally true love?

Rob Morgan – the smooth and successful businessman who is the father of Stella’s oldest child Luke, but who moved to Canada for years – is now back in Pontyberry because of heart problems and is still in love with Stella himself.

Beyonce – the scheming young slapper who slept with Michael one drunken night – has changed her mind about who is the father of her young baby. Michael was going to sue for custody, but is now forced to hear the results of a paternity test live on the Welsh equivalent of the Jeremy Kyle show. Sitting opposite the other contestant, the local unemployed thicko.

Emma, Stella’s daughter – I’ve lost track of who her father is  – has recently returned from India, with her happy hippy “husband” Oak, a spiritual sham. Oh, and she really did marry a local Indian lad while still at school and they had a baby girl.

Ben – the youngest of Stella’s children, from when she was married to lovable, gormless Karl – is still at school and is head-over-heels in love with the girlfriend of his best friend, Little Al. Who’s far from little.

Karl’s wife Nadine Bevan – outwardly a rouged, high-heeled air-head – is sensually awoken by newcomer Ivan Schloss, the mysterious tango-dancing, sentence-reordering, lovelorn undertaker.

And that’s barely scratched the surface of plot or characters.

The end is a beautiful mixture of elation and sadness, tugging at our emotions like the final few minutes of a tight Wales v England game at the Millennium Stadium.

Don’t leave it too long, Stella. We miss you already.

 

Isn’t it ironic…..don’t you think?

A little too ironic.

I was reminded of Alannis Morissette’s iconic 1995 song Ironic and lyrics* when I saw Katie Price’s latest TV show – In Therapy – in the listings.

The ex glamour model is undergoing psychological analysis of the effects on her of having lived the last 20 years of her life in front of TV cameras. The therapy sessions are with Dr Claudia Bernat….and of course they’re all carried out in front of TV cameras.

Go figure, as our friends from across the pond might say.

Other examples of irony:

what is irony

11.) Tow trucks gonna tow.

20.) PSHT, I don't need your help sign.

*ALANIS MORISSETTE LYRICS

“Ironic”

An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day
It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay
It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late
And isn’t it ironic… don’t you thinkIt’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
Who would’ve thought… it figures

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
“Well isn’t this nice…”
And isn’t it ironic… don’t you think

It’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
Who would’ve thought… it figures

Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right
And life has a funny way of helping you out when
You think everything’s gone wrong and everything blows up
In your face

A traffic jam when you’re already late
A no-smoking sign on your cigarette break
It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife
And isn’t it ironic…don’t you think
A little too ironic…and, yeah, I really do think…

It’s like rain on your wedding day
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
Who would’ve thought… it figures

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out
Helping you out

Bottom Gear

I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of Jeremy Clarkson, or Top Gear. Or bullying, arrogance or violence. Or cars, for that matter.

But I’ll try really hard – as hard as Jeremy tries not to be controversial, or racist….or blokey – to be objective about his sacking from the BBC.

Yes, I know. Technically he won’t have his rich-as-Croesus freelance contract renewed so he’s not a BBC employee, but he’s still subject to their ethics and HR policies. And that’s the issue.

It’s ironic that after years of sailing oh so close to breaking broadcasting guidelines – and sometimes tacking across them – his demise comes from contravening internal BBC bullying and harassment policies. A bit like Attila The Hun caught shoplifting.

In these morally self-righteous times, you can’t slap your own child. You hesitate to pick up someone else’s if they fall over in the road…even if they’re crying like Gazza after being shown a yellow card. You can’t do your awful impression of Dev Patel in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, shaking your head from side to side while munching a poppadom in your local Bombay Spice restaurant. And you can’t talk about women as if Emily Pankhurst were still chained to the railings.

So Jeremy got away with the abusive slope jibe about an Asian. And other casual on-air insults about Mexicans, Albanians, Germans and Romanians. And public sector workers. And Gordon Brown. And the infamous Argentinian escapade. And the off-air eeny, meeny, miney, mo episode…..

But when he physically assaulted and verbally abused a senior colleague, enough was rightly enough. The BBC had no option other than to terminate their Star With An Unreasonably Large Contract, and walk away from the cash machine.

Jeremy is a brilliant journalist and broadcaster. His star – and bank balance – will continue to rise.

The Beeb will no doubt try to motor on with Top Gear. But without Jeremy will it be like a d’Artagnan-less Three Musketeers? Or Morecambe & Wise without the bald, funny one?

Only time will tell.

But can we please now start talking about something more important?