By Will Barber – Taylor
Ruth Jones returns as the gutsy fortysomething working mum from the Welsh Valleys who has decided to put love on hold and focus all her energy on her family and her nursing degree. However, the arrival of handsome lawyer Michael could prove distracting – although their first run-in is anything but romantic. Meanwhile, Aunty Brenda is horrified to discover her wayward daughter Viv is back from her travels, Big Alan panics when the solicitor tells him to put Little Alan on a diet and Emma nervously prepares for a job interview at a posh hairdressing salon.
The Welsh based sitcom returns for a new episode and it is in rude health. The episode opens with Stella in a nursing lesson on choking. This sets the mood for the episode as we are introduced to some of the new residents of the town while continuing with the plot lines set up in the previous series. We meet the “love interest” Michael, his ex-wife, and a few other new characters. The episode sets up the series arc well which as with previous series will carry through right till the end.
The comedic acting is brilliant in the episode particularly Aled Pugh as the camp undertaker Bobby. Pugh is particularly good in this episode as he quite literally plays against himself, in the form of a rival undertaker. His performance is akin to a toned down Kenneth Williams. The rest of the cast are as always on top form.
All in all, the first episode of Series Three of Stella was an excellent example of innovative writing and acting. Unlike a lot of recent sitcoms it manages to do the balancing act of comedy and drama and one never contradicts the other. An example is when we have a serious scene with Emma in her job interview which is then nicely balanced by the comic reveal of the fact she has got the job. I would recommend that you watch the episode now on Sky catch up as it is well worth it.