Set in the fictional Welsh town of Pontyberry, the series follows single mum of three Stella Morris and her friends and family.
Stella earns a living doing the locals' 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 as a consequence of joyriding; beautiful 16-year-old Emma who starts the series smitten with her first love Sunil and expecting his baby; and the brains of the family, 12-year-old Ben.
Stella's ex-husband Karl, father of Emma and Ben, has left her for new girlfriend Nadine but is involved in his children's lives. Luke's father Rob Morgan appears after 25 years, causing conflict for Stella who has recently started seeing 32-year old Sean. Stella's brother Dai is married to Paula, the local undertaker, and the two have a very kinky sex life. Paula's father, known only as "Daddy", and assistant Bobby help run Simpsons the funeral parlour. Stella's Aunty Brenda is the busybody of the town. And there's Alan, who has been in love with Stella since 1984 despite her just wanting to be friends with him.
New characters in the third series include Stella's new neighbour Michael Jackson (not that one).
Not to be confused with American TV Show of the same name.
Stella provides examples of the following tropes:
- Age-Gap Romance: The early-30's Sean and mid-40's Stella - it's one main reason they break up...that and the whole "she cheated on him" thing.
- The Alcoholic: Paula. Played for Laughs.
- Amicably Divorced: Stella and Karl. Stella is secretly pleased Nadine took him off her hands.
- Casual Kink: Paula and Dai.
- Celebrity Paradox
- Character Outlives Actor: Howell Evans (Daddy) died during the filming of Series 4, having already been seriously ill after a stroke; he chose to come back to play Daddy and appears in the early episodes. His character went to New Zealand.
- Deadpan Snarker: Aunty Brenda.
- Disappeared Dad: Rob Morgan, until Ben manages to track him down whilst doing a family tree project for school.
- Karl leaves for a new job in Abu Dhabi between the second and third series. He returns though in the last episode of the third series.
- The Ditz: Nadine, and to a lesser extent Emma.
- Eccentric Townsfolk: Just one example, the elderly couple who live across the road from Stella keep a horse. In their terraced house. She leaves him in Series 2 and takes the horse with her, but returns in Series 3 after Horse has died and they adopt a donkey... named Donkey.
- Estranged Soap Family: After Ken and Meg swap houses with Aunty Brenda in Tenerife, they fail to return for their great grandson's naming ceremony, or to support their son when his marriage begins to break down.
- Neither his grandparents, uncle and aunt, or father turn up for Luke's wedding to Zoe. Only Rob is given a reason for not attending, that it was such short notice he couldn't get over from Canada, but he did offer to pay for the honeymoon.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep"
- "Daddy", Paula's father who works at the Funeral Director.
- Aunty Brenda. Even her nametag at a self-help group says "Aunty Brenda".
- I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: James Corden, Ruth Jones' friend, co-star and co-writer of Gavin and Stacey, appears in the final episode of Series 1.
- Just Friends: Stella and Alan, despite the latter wanting to take things further.
- Named Like My Name: Stella's new neighbour is called Michael Jackson. He will point this out on your first meeting "just to get it out of the way".
- Mistaken for Pregnant: Stella.
- Naked People Are Funny: After Ben breaks the bathroom window with his basketball, Stella gets to see Michael naked in the shower...
- One-Steve Limit: Averted. Not only do we have Alan and his son, Little Alan, we also have two townsfolk called "Dai" - Stella's brother Dai Kosh, and rugby club chairman Dai Davies. A Running Gag is people having to specify which Dai they mean, even after Dai Kosh has left Pontyberry.
- It turns out that Alan's father, grandfather, great-grandfather etc were all also called "Alan" - as is his brother.
- Put on a Bus
- Stella's parents Ken and Meg between Series 1 and 2. They are said to be on a house swap with Stella's Aunty Brenda, Ken's sister.
- Karl between Series 2 and 3. He has taken a new job in Abu Dhabi.
- Dai and Paula have joined his parents in Tenerife between Series 2 and 3.
- Emma and Sunil leave for India during the Christmas Special.
- The Bus Came Back: Karl returns during the final episode of Series 3, Sunil returns in the Christmas special, and Paula returns for two episodes in Series 4, with Rob turning up in that finale.
- Quirky Town: Pontyberry
- Real Person Cameo: Many Welsh rugby players, and British TV stars, have appeared in Pontyberry as themselves.
- Running Gag: Several, including:
- "Dai Davies or Dai Kosh?"
- When talking about a rival undertaker:
Character 1: "Thomas, Thomas, Evans and Thomas".
Character 2: ..."and Thomas".
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Stella and Michael are heading this way.
- Status Quo Is God: Three major events from the Series 1 finale were retconned as early as Episode 2 of Series 2
- Stella's pregnancy: She wasn't pregnant, she only thought she was because she missed her period.
- Luke moving to Canada: His criminal record is discovered and he's deported back to Pontyberry.
- Bobby leaving Pontyberry to live with his boyfriend Steven: Steven cheats on him and he moves back.
- The Unintelligible: "Daddy". Everyone in Pontyberry can understand him (it's supposed to be Welsh), but outsiders and the audience can't.
- Who's Your Daddy?: At the end of Series 1, Stella sleeps with Rob Morgan and falls pregnant, leaving her to wonder if he or Sean is the father. It turns out she's not pregnant, just missed a period and thought she was, but only after confessing to both Sean and Rob about the baby.