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.