Fireman Sam (Sam Tan in its original language) was a 1986 toymation animation series, about the fire service in the fictional Welsh town of Pontypandy. The original series was first broadcast in the Welsh language, then in English as of 1988. Originally narrated by John Alderton. Said series ended by 1995. HiT Entertainment acquired the rights and produced a new series made with Clay-mation, lasting from 2003 to 2005. An ever newer CGI series debuted in 2008 and is currently broadcast on TV.Pontypandy Fire Service consists of the title character, his friend and colleague Fireman Elvis Cridlington, their boss Station Officer Steele and the newest recruit, Firefighter Penny Morris. Outside of the fire service, the townspeople include Sam's niece and nephew, Sarah and James (and recently their parents Charlie and Bronwyn), shopkeeper Dilys Price and her prankster son Norman, cafe owner Bella Lasagne, bus driver and part time firefighter Trevor Evans, mountain rescue worker Tom Thomas, and the Flood family (nurse Helen, handyman Mike and their daughter Mandy).
Art Evolution: In stages with the different series. Sam and the other firefighters have remained similar in appearance along the way, the twins and Mandy rather less so. Dilys has changed in appearence too, becoming much younger-looking.
Companion Cube: Elvis is very protective of Dummy (later Dolly), the fire station training dummy.
Continuity Nod: A picture of the fire crew in their stop motion guise hangs on the fire station office's wall in the CGI episodes.
Cool Helicopter: Tom Thomas' helicopter certainly qualifies. Also something of a Swiss Army Helicopter as it's always carrying the right equipment, despite being a bit on the small side to be carrying everything all the time.
Cute but Cacophonic: Sarah Jones' voice can reach an incredibly shrill pitch, especially when her brother James is getting into trouble and she's trying to stop him.
Disappeared Dad: Norman Price's father is never even mentioned. (unless you count that time in Brass Band mentioning about his old telescope) Some have noted that the only man in town with ginger hair is, well...
Distracted by the Sexy: Trevor Evans crashes a bus in 'Dilys's Forgetful Day', when he drives past Penny, the new girl in the Ponypandy fire service. Elvis even hits on her a little earlier in the episode.
Dumb and Drummer: Touched on with Mike Flood, who drums for a hobby. It's not that he's stupid - he's a competent handyman and builds a space rocket in his spare time! - it's just that he tends to drum on breakable things. With his hammers...
Easy Amnesia: Dilys had one in the aptly-named episode "Dilys' Forgetful Day". She had one after falling from a ladder (caused by Norman), and recovered after hitting her head on the bus. Also, Norman gave his mother Fake Memories just for the hell of it.
Friend to All Living Things: Brownwyn, although it comes back to bite her somewhat when she wishes at a well that Lion would stop hunting birds. Norman qualifies as well, especially where Wooly and Lambykins are concerned.
Genius Ditz: Elvis, who's a very competent firefighter and who's shown to take the lead on the (very, very rare) occasions Sam's not around, but is often very clumsy when it comes to anything outside of an emergency.
Granola Girl: Bronwyn has hints of this, including giving Dilys a dream catcher for her birthday and believing in a lucky stone.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Elvis and Mike Flood play music together and are paired up for a three-legged race, to their evident delight. It's clear that they get on really well - possibly because they're the only ones daft enough to put up with each other.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In the original series at least, Norman came off as this. While still keen on pranks, he was usually just trying to get a good laugh and felt genuine remorse when they go horribly wrong. He did at least once get an episode showcasing his good side, when he helped Trevor with a charity drive by donating a bunch of his old toys.
Karma Houdini: Even though his Catch Phrase is "Oh mam!", Norman Price rarely gets punished for the many, many problems he causes. Even starting the Great Fire of Pontypandy, putting the lives of every main character in danger along the way, only results in a telling off from his mum. Presumably he serves his punishments after the credits roll...
There was actually ONE episode, Floating Cart, where Sam made Norman go around fixing everything that he'd broken.
The Kiddie Ride: Jupiter was made into one with a figure of Sam attached to it.
The Klutz: Mike Flood, the village handyman, whose main job sees to be mending things that he's previously broken.
A bit of Fridge Horror comes up if you think about this one at length. Both Sam and Station Officer Steele constantly remark about how bad Elvis's cooking is, but we never see them even consider having either taking the job themselves. Steele might refuse to do the cooking out of pride (though he's probably very bad at it anyway), but given Sam devises elaborate machinery to cook in Elvis's place rather than try it himself one can only imagine how much worse he is.
Limited Social Circle \ Omega Cast: No-one other than the main characters is ever seen during an ordinary episode, though one of the 1997 tie-in books featured a cameo from an unidentified police constable. Somewhat hammered home when the same character model was used for two unrelated guest characters in frequency.
In The MovieThe Great Fire of Pontypandy, the entire town is evacuated, and this still just seems to be the main characters. Particularly weird because you've got maybe a dozen people, loaded into a small school bus and a van, but they drive past dozens of houses and shops on the way. Is Pontypandy a ghost town?
Fridge Logic: Maybe the residents are just so used to living around Norman Price by now they'd already got out before the main characters passed through town? Or the reason that Bumper Films didn't have enough toys for any background characters?
The latest episodes actually introduce a handful of new characters, which flesh out the town's population somewhat.
Office Golf: Station Officer Steele indulges in one episode, causing a minor disaster in the fire station.
Only Shop in Town: Dilys Price's shop is this to Pontypandy. Probably justified, given that in the original series Pontypandy is pretty small. Characters are also seen holding carrier bags from a Bland-Name Product version of Tesconote British equivalent of Wal-Mart on occasion.
Parental Abandonment: Sarah and James' parents (Sam's brother and sister-in-law) were never seen until the CGI season, when they became regular characters.
Portmanteau: Pontypandy takes its name from the real South Wales towns of Pontypridd and Tonypandy.
Retcon: In the original series, Penny was actually stationed in Newtown. She came to Pontypandy to help conduct a series of drills, and later on came by once in a while to visit or when an extra hand was needed. The later series change it so that she's a regular member of the Pontypandy Fire Service.
Role Called: Happens within the show itself - the locals must have had it drummed into them that the correct response in any emergency is "Call Fireman Sam" to the extent that even his family and co-workers say it.
Ship Tease: Norman and Mandy in one episode, where they hold hands while lost in the smoke from a fire. Realising they're still holding hands several minutes after being rescued, Norman reacts with the appropriate disgust of an eight year old boy...
Elvis and Penny in the original series, as well as Dilys and Trevor.
Straw Misogynist: Minor example, but Steele, being the old-fashioned fellow he is, was genuinely shocked by the presence of a woman working in the fire brigade upon meeting Penny, though he tried to be polite about it (he wasn't sure how to address her, since he couldn't call her "Fireman Morris" - he finally settles for addressing her as "Firefighter"). By the end of the episode she's won him over, though.
Sibling Rivalry: Sarah and James, frequently. When taken Up to Eleven as they compete for Sam's attention, they're nearly killed in a forest fire. Averted with Sam and Charlie, who by their own accounts got on well as children.
Shout-Out: The crew (or maybe lookalikes of them) along with additional firemen did appear in "It's Very Noisy for Mr. Quiet", a television exclusive Mr. Men story. Steele made The Cameo in the GBA version of LEGO Island 2.
Stock Footage: Largely averted, although a few pieces exist. Station Officer Steele always runs to the printer and reads out the emergency in the same way, for example. And while the animators went to the trouble of using different sequences for the crew preparing to leave the station (each character's helmet has a specific place on the rack, for example, and it's always the correct ones collected), it's always the same few seconds of footage used.
Superme Chef: Penny in the original series, much to the joy of Sam and Steele since they are temporarily relieved of Elvis's cooking.
When All You Have Is a Hammer: Mike Flood. Need to fix the lighthouse door? Or a broken pipe? Or a misfiring boiler? The solution always begins with a hammer... often at the expense of making the situation worse.