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Fireman Sam (Sam Tân in Welsh) is a 1987 toymation animation series, about the fire service in the fictional Welsh town of Pontypandy. The original series was first broadcast on S4C in the Welsh language, then in English (on The BBC) as of 1988. Originally narrated by John Alderton. Said series ended by 1995. Hit Entertainment and Siriol produced a new series made with Claymation, lasting from 2005 to 2006. An ever newer CGI series debuted in 2008 (after S4C sold their stake in the Fireman Sam IP to HiT) 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).

Series 8 introduces Gareth Griffith, Bronwyn's father and Sarah and James's grandfather who's a retired Newtown train driver who now operates the Pontypandy Express to and from the Pontypandy Mountains, mountaineer Moose Roberts, a Canadian expat who runs Pontypandy Mountain's Mountain Activity Center, and the kids' school teacher Mrs. Chen and her toddler daughter Lily. Series 9 brings in the Sparkes family, Mechanic and inventor Joe and his wife Lizzie, along with their wheelchair-bound daughter Hannah, coastguard Ben Hooper who is the head of the newly opened Ocean Rescue Center, and in the second movie special "Ultimate Heroes", Arnold McKinsley and Ellie Phillips, 2 newly graduated firefighters that are brought to Pontypandy by Chief Fire Officer Boyce (himself introduced in Series 7 as an old friend and superior to Steele) to help round out the firefighters' newly built Fire Station. During Series 14, Sam and his crew got new uniforms, and the theme song was changed to have more focus on the rescue team, rather than Sam himself.

There are, apparently, two English dubs of this show, one meant for the UK and one for the US (the US version is actually dubbed in Canada with a Toronto voice cast), with the strange exception of Tom, Bella, and Moose who have the same voice actor in both dubs, since they're supposed to be foreigners (Australian, Italian, and Canadian, respectively). In addition, Station Officer Steele is addressed as Fire Captain Steele and Chief Fire Officer Boyce is referred to as Fire Department Chief Boyce instead. The biggest differences with the voices is the general lack of assorted "British" accents, and in a couple of cases, less "harsh" sounding characters, notably with Sarah, James, and Norman, though Gareth inverts the trend. The "in-house" vibe of it makes it come off as a bit different from an out-right re-dub, and it would explain Tom and Moose. Note that the US version is not very common, only appearing on the Fireman Sam US YouTube channel and the US Amazon Instant Videos. Beyond that, there's little evidence to suggest the dub even exists at all. Also, the US dub has only been made recently, as PBS Kids Sprout aired the series as late as 2014 with the UK dub.

Great fires of Tropedon!

  • Aborted Arc: In 1989 a soundtrack album was released by Pickwick records of otherwise unreleased music, suggesting that the show may have been intended at one time to follow a similar format to contemporary stop-motion shows such as Postman Pat and Bertha by including songs about the characters in some episodes.
  • The Ace: Fireman Sam himself, being a hyper competent fire fighter and all around Nice Guy.
    • In The Movie, Elvis gets his chance to shine, even saving Sam's life! Same goes for the second movie special, "Ultimate Heroes". Sam is off in the old Pontypandy mines to retrieve Penny and the kids, so Elvis is left in charge with guiding the newcomers Arnold and Ellie with preparing for and dealing with the ongoing hurricane. Here, Elvis shows his stuff more than once, even making the correct call on a situation that Arnold ignores before saving his and Mrs. Chen's lives. Elvis himself says he learned from the best, a.k.a. Sam, just as Arnold aspired to do earlier.
    • Generally speaking, as far as competences goes, Tom is shown to have Ace traits, too. At least when it comes to his helicopter skills. Though he is shown to be Not So Above It All when the right people are around him, namely, Moose.
    • Moose Roberts is said to be a famous mountain climber and wilderness expert who even has a book out detailing his adventures. He's usually pretty successful when he's on his own, too. Though since he's not a trained rescue worker, Sam and others still have to be called from time to time, especially when Moose is with someone else.
    • Series 9's recent addition, Ben Hooper, is shown to be this as Pontypandy's new coastguard and head of the Ocean Rescue Center, particularly when in his element at sea on the Titan. He also hasn't accumulated the "Not So Above It All moments" that Tom has (excepting that one time when he makes a poor call and ends up stranding himself, Bronwyn, and Charlie on a capsized boat during a whale watching trip), and is essentially pre-new series Tom, but on water instead of in the air.
  • Acquainted with Emergency Services: Pontypandy may be a small town but one can't help but suspect there are other reasons everyone in town knows the emergency service personal so well. Special notice should of course go to Norman Price and Mike Flood.
  • Advanced Tech 2000:
    • Joe Sparkes tends to name his inventions like this.
    • In "Set For Action", Jupiter is redecorated and named "Jupiter 2000".
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Auxiliary Fireman Trevor Evan's satnav system sends his bus over a cliff in one episode.
    • When Tom and Moose take the Pontypandy Pioneers to the top of Pontypandy Mountain, Tom's high-tech GPS ends up leading the group in circles. Not that Moose's natural tracking skills were any better.
    • Both instances seem to be a Take That! against GPS systems often leading users in the wrong direction, or over routes that are either closed or non-existent.
  • Alarm SOS: In one episode, Norman and Dilys see a fox and think it's a wolf, so they ring the fire alarm to get help.
  • Alliterative Name: James Jones, Gareth Griffiths, Tom Thomas (see also Repetitive Name).
  • An Aesop: Fireman Sam had a Once an Episode Aesop about some aspect of personal safety that was never even remotely subtle, but highly effective. Being Backed By The Fire Brigade helped.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Just how many times does Norman need rescuing by the fire service?
    • Same goes for the Adults who really should know better, like Trevor and especially Mike.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Dilys toward Norman, and by her own personally admission, Hannah feels her dad Joe is this to her.
  • Alien Invasion: That trope is the plot of the special Alien Alert.
  • Animation Bump: The fifth stop-motion season had a pretty huge one (being animated by a different team a decade later) with overall smoother animation and added lip-sync. The CGI seasons also got increasingly more polished (the earlier ones suffered the usual downfalls of their time, with stiffer, floatier movement and occasional dead eyed expressions along with more basic scenery and lighting).
  • Animesque: The character puppet models from the first four seasons of the classic series slightly resemble the anime-style puppets used in the Rankin/Bass stop-motion Christmas specials, which were co-produced by the Japanese studio Topcraft. The style also resembles the works of Osamu Tezuka, particularly in how characters' faces are designed. The look is less noticeable from series 5 onward, as Hit Entertainment had bought the rights and wanted to update the style to better resemble other British stop-motion franchises.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Sarah and James can be this to each other from time to time, especially during the CGI series (compared to previous series, where they rarely, if ever, argued at all; the change likely came because their behavior could come off as unrealistic and creepily perfect). Though they are twins, so neither is really younger than each other.
  • 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 (in the classic series, due to the crude nature of the models, the twins actually looked older than they should). Dilys has changed in appearance too, becoming much younger-looking.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: In the CGI special "Set For Action!", Jupiter has a lot of fancy upgrades for filming the movie Sam is starring in. Jupiter may have looked awesome, but when a real fire happens in the climax, these upgrades prove to be a real hindrance, making it hard to not only drive to the destination but also obtain the equipment. For this reason, the firefighters remove the upgrades, turning Jupiter back to normal.
  • Bait-and-Switch: At the start of Heroes of the Storm, Sam shows concern for Mike's safety awareness as he builds their new station, especially around some nearby gas canisters. Surprisingly Mike does a competent job and the station has no hiccups, however the gas canisters remain a threat when a fire starts to spread near them, risking an explosion.
  • Banister Slide: Sam does this in the opening theme for the original series.
  • Badass in Distress: On a few occasions, one of the fire team will get caught in one of the emergencies they usually solve and need rescuing themselves. This of course is more often Truth in Television than just holding the Distress Ball, since the rescue team are putting themselves in legitimately dangerous situations.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Sam, Elvis, and Penny. Notable for actually being the opposite of their hair colour tropes (Dumb Blonde, Brainy Brunette, Fiery Redhead.) Sam (Redhead) is very even tempered, Penny (Blonde) is very brainy and competent, and Elvis (Brunette) is, well... not.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: "So move aside make way for (Fireman Sam!) 'Cause he's gonna save the day, (Fireman Sam!)..." or "Fireman Sam is on the way, with the Rescue Team. Sam is gonna save the day, with the Rescue Team" from Series 14 onwards. Overlaps with Expository Theme Tune and Title Theme Tune to an extent.
    • The original version from the stop-motion series was rather less egregious about this.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Norman Price. On occasion, the other kids will get like this, but it's not often nor does it last for long, especially when compared to Norman.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Bessie, Steele's old rail fire engine, was found collecting dust in a shed. Steele, Sarah and James resurrect it, just in time to help against a mountain fire the rest of the team can't reach. It is unretired afterwards and used in several later emergencies.
  • Bridal Carry:
    • In "Bentley the Robot", Bentley does this with Firefighter Penny Morris during her near-death experience after Norman Price messes around with Bentley's control cassette, inadvertently spilling paraffin over the garage, starting a fire.
    • In "Rich and Famous", Fireman Sam does this with Dilys Price after she slides into his arms while he saves her when her attic catches fire.
  • British Brevity: The original series comprised of four seasons of only 8 or 9 episodes each. Subverted with most seasons of the revival series. The show currently totals to over 200 episodes.
  • The Bully: Norman. At least when it comes to practical jokes. He has never done anything that could constitute actual bullying.
  • Bungling Inventor: Sam. Moreso earlier on. Recent addition Joe Sparkes pretty much adopts Sam's old trait and then some.
  • Butt Monkeys: Trevor Evans, Mike Flood, and Charlie Jones. Elvis, too, at times. And as of Series 9, Joe Sparkes can be added to the list.
  • Canada, Eh?: Moose Roberts originally hails from Canada and has the accent (or lack-thereof) to prove it. And yes, he does sometimes finish his sentences with "eh?".
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Generally if the residents do even the slightest thing without precaution, it will end in a huge fire or disaster. Sometimes this is Played for Laughs, though often this is to teach its audience about safety procedures.
  • Captain Obvious: Sarah acted this way in some of the early CGI episodes.
  • Catchphrase: "Great fires of London!", "Call Fireman Sam!" and others.
    • And the ever popular "Oh Mam!"
  • Character Development: James Jones goes through a series of misadventures in the early CGI series, including being lost at sea and trapped by a rock slide. Later episodes show him being much more cautious and safety conscious (as he was in the stop-motion), often making him the voice of reason that tends to be largely ignored with regards to the problem of the day.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In "Alien Alert", Norman picks up what seems to be a piece of alien wreckage when a small UFO he was following crashed. This comes up later when a pizza delivery drone piloted by Joe crashes, and Norman finds an identical piece from the wreckage. His suspicions are confirmed when he takes both pieces to Joe and he identifies them as the same type of batteries, meaning that the UFO's were actually drones.
  • Chekhov's Skill: One episode had Norman briefly look at a training exercise at the fire station when he wanted to ask Sam if he could borrow his binoculars for a bird-watching trip. Said lesson points out that if a fire is in an enclosed space like a box or under a car hood, opening said space makes the fire worse since now there's more air around it. Later, Trevor's bus briefly catches fire under the hood, and Norman, recognising this, tells him not to do it.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Bella and Rosa in the CGI series. Bella is essentially replaced by Bronwyn; she even runs a Café like Bella. Lion is pretty much a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to Rosa, right on down to appearances. Bella's cafe can still even be seen in the same place across from Dilys's shop, but with no Bella in sight. Bella would eventually return in Series 10, having moved to Newtown and visiting her old friends in Pontypandy every now and then.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Elvis, in his Rock and Roll moments.
  • Cold Open: In The Movies "The Great Fire of Pontypandy" , "Ultimate Heroes" , and Alien Alert.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: No prizes for guessing who Elvis looks like.
  • Companion Cube: Elvis is very protective of Dummy (later Dolly), the fire station training dummy.
    • Trevor Evans and his ukulele Marjorie as well.
    • Also Officer Steele towards Bessie, his original fire engine.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In the episode, “High Jinx”, Elvis finds Sam’s panted potato picker previously show in “Barn Fire”.
    • A picture of the fire crew in their stop motion guise hangs on the fire station office's wall in the CGI episodes. It's even brought over to the newly built Fire Station in "Ultimate Heroes".
    • The old recipe written by Bella that James used to make pizza has Bella's picture from the puppet show stuck on it.
    • In "Set For Action", Sam finds the toy Jupiter he got for his birthday.
    • In “Norman’s Holiday Heist”, the event of “Floating Kart” is referenced.
  • Cool Car: Loads of 'em. Pretty much all the Fire Station vehicles, including Fire Engine Jupiter, Venus the rescue tender, Mercury the off road bike, and the most recent being Moose's donated amphibious vehicle, newly named Hydrus.
    • Cool Boat: The CGI series brought with it Neptune, and Series 9 followed it up with Juno and Titan, all three are used for water related rescues.
    • Cool Helicopter: Tom Thomas' helicopter, the Wallaby 1, 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. It's later upgraded with Wallaby 2.
  • Country Mouse: Inverted with Bronwyn. She was born and raised in the City but feels much more at home in Pontypandy.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Elvis on several occasions. He may come across as a bit dim and air-headed, but don’t ever doubt his ability or competence as a firefighter.
  • Crush Filter: Downplayed more so than most examples, but surprisingly happens to Penny when Ben Hooper is introduced, complete with bag slung over his shoulder as he makes a slow walk towards the group while removing his shades. Even Bronwyn takes another breath in a quick 1-second scene.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: From what little we see of the illustrious Newtown at the end of "One-Way Street", Newtown looks like a slightly differently arranged version of Pontypandy with even fewer people (read: none, other than our usual characters).
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: Sarah Jones' UK voice can reach an incredibly shrill pitch, especially when her brother James is getting into trouble and she's trying to stop him. Her US voice actress tones this down.
  • Da Chief: Station Officer Steele.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the (sort-of) Big Bad of "Alien Alert" who only wanted footage for his show by deploying drones disguised as UFO's which resulted in purely accidental incidents such as Sarah's broken arm and Pontypandy Island set ablaze, "Set For Action" has a self-absorbed movie star who sets up accidents on purpose and is willing to put the camera crew's lives at risk which gets Sam fired as a result since he was responsible for the safety checks.
    • Professor Polonium (and to a lesser extent her assistant Crumpton) from the "Norman Price and the Mystery in the Sky" special intentionally creating emergencies for Polonium to solve to show off their flying rescue suit and when it gets taken, acting as a super villain to draw the thief out.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • When Elvis breaks his leg, Station Officer Steele has to take over his duties and makes such a hash of it, Elvis has to save him, earning Steele's respect.
    • The occasional episode has another firefighter take the lead for Sam while he is elsewhere. A similar occurrence happens in "Poorly Penny" when an ill Penny is vehement not to drag Sam from his day off (luckily Sam is a Workaholic anyway, and willingly comes in just as things start to go wrong).
  • Demoted to Extra: Downplayed for Trevor Evans. Though he still gets a pretty healthy amount of screen time, he was much more prominent in the first couple of seasons due to sometimes filling in as an auxiliary fireman and helping Sam in emergencies. After Penny and other firefighters were introduced, this role was no longer needed and Trevor became solely another supporting character.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • In "Set For Action", Because Sam allegedly botched a safety check which could've resulted in the camera crew's deaths, he's fired as a result.
    • In The Great Fire of Pontypandy Norman starts a campfire against safety regulations, which spreads out of control. While most of Norman's antics before and after don't get much more than a stern finger wagging, in this case the authorities and his mother are understandably furious with his actions, which destroyed a good amount of wildlife and could have done the same to the town.
  • Disappeared Dad: Norman Price's father is never even mentioned (unless you count that time in the episode "Brass Band" mentioning about his old telescope).
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Auxiliary Fireman Trevor Evans crashes his bus in "Dilys's Forgetful Day", when he drives past Penny, who, in the classic series, was a recurring character based at Newtown, and thus visited every now and then. Elvis even hits on her a little earlier in the episode.
    • Though it only lasts for a couple of seconds, Penny is shown to be quite smitten with Ben Hooper when he's introduced, completed with a bit of Crush Filter. So is Bronwyn in a quick blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot.
  • Drop-In Character:
    • Penny in the original series was a firefighter from Newtown who initially came to help with drills, though made regular drop-ins afterwards, often without explanation. The revival series skipped the formalities and just relocated her to Pontypandy full-time.
    • Chief Fire Officer Boyce after his introduction. In later series, his appearances become more frequent. This is despite the fact that he actually lives and is stationed in Newtown, where Penny was stationed in the classic series.
    • Bella, after a long absence, returns as such in Season 10, having apparently moved to Newtown.
  • 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...
  • Early Instalment Weirdness:
    • Several designs and layouts changed dramatically from the original series. Pontypandy went from a fairly small cosy village to a reasonably large coastal town. The fire station also became increasingly larger and higher tech.
    • Penny not only got one of the largest overhauls in character design, but also lost her soft spoken English accent. Her background as a Drop-In Character from Newtown was also seemingly retconned.
    • Trevor was an Auxiliary Fireman who sometimes helped out in emergencies in earlier seasons (since fire stations generally required a minimum of four members). When Penny was promoted to a main character, this role was largely dropped.
    • In the original series, Sam was a Gadgeteer Genius as his defining Not So Above It All trait. This was mostly dropped in the revival seasons, with Joe Sparkes eventually taking over as the Bungling Inventor of the cast.
  • 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.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Bella does not like mice.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In "Jupiter On The Loose", while on a trip to the fire station, Norman and Derek attempt to drive Jupiter. The fire team don't realise until Trevor calls them and Steele reads out the emergency.
  • Firehouse Dalmatian:
    • Averted in the season 5 episode, "Bathtime for Dusty", where Dusty, a mutt, is chosen to be the firehouse dog under the condition that he takes a bath, something which he is not fond of.
    • Played straight in the CGI series with Radar the Dalmatian, who is not just the mascot of the team, but also a rescue dog who is very brave, loyal and loveable.
  • First-Name Ultimatum: "NOR-MAN!"
  • Flanderization:
    • A lot of the civilians (especially Norman and the other kids) became exceptionally dumber and more careless in the CGI seasons to necessitate the need for bigger emergencies happening.
    • Zigzagged for characters such as Elvis and Steele, who got their defining traits exaggerated, but also demonstrated more Hidden Depths to balance it. Elvis became more outwardly dopey and clumsy, but got more moments of individual competence on-duty, while Steele became a stricter Upper-Class Twit, but also had more playful Cool Old Guy moments.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Bronwyn, 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.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Sam in the original series. Mike Flood builds an impressive rocket in the CGI series and later builds the team's high-tech fire station. Mechanic Joe Sparkes takes this role up starting in Series 9.
  • Geographic Flexibility: In the CGI series, Pontypandy has somehow acquired a coastline. Most likely as a means of giving newly introduced Charlie Jones something to do, as he is a fisherman, and also to showcase sea-related rescues, emphasized with Series 9's head of the new Ocean Rescue Center and coastguard, Ben Hooper.
  • 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.
    • To a lesser extent Mike, who is a hopeless handyman and one of the biggest sources for emergencies in Pontypandy, but sometimes demonstrates a niche knowledge that helps solve the problem of the day. Despite his usual hiccups, he also does a surprisingly competent job building the team's new overhauled fire station.
  • Granola Girl: Bronwyn has hints of this, including giving Dilys a dream catcher for her birthday and believing in a lucky stone.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": Elvis: "Elbow grease...?"
  • Heroic BSoD: Sam goes through one after getting fired in Set For Action.
  • 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.
    • Tom Thomas and Moose Roberts, starting from Series 8 onward. They are the self-proclaimed "Wild Men of Pontypandy" who tend to get into a lot of friendly debates and competitions with each other in regards to their wildlife skills. Notably, before Moose showed up, Tom generally didn't interact with the citizens of Pontypandy outside of a rescue operation. It helps that they're both foreigners, with Tom coming from Australia, and Moose from Canada.
  • Hiccup Hijinks: "Sheepdog Trials" has Elvis suffering from a case of hiccups. His friends try various cures, but nothing works. He's eventually cured when being surprised when meeting Officer Steele. Then he gets hiccups.
  • Holding Out for a Hero: Frequent examples.
  • Hollywood Fire: Almost inevitably. It's more realistic than a lot of portrayals, however, and the firefighters make a point of suiting up appropriately. There's generally a lot of smoke, too.
  • Invisible Parents: Charlie and Bronwyn Jones, until the CGI series.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Norman Price. While keen on pranks and mischief, he is usually just trying to get a good laugh and feels genuine remorse when things went horribly wrong, though he doesn't often seem to learn from his mistakes. He has also had many heroic moments when he is the one to summon help from the Fire Brigade when others are in danger.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Even though his Catchphrase is "Oh Mam!", Norman Price rarely gets punished for the many, many problems he causes. There was actually ONE episode, Floating Cart, where Sam made Norman go around fixing everything that he'd broken.
    • At the end of "Set for Action", Flex gets no comeuppance outside of a telling-off for the deliberate accidents he set up, framing Sam for nearly killing the camera crew and getting him fired and setting the dockside district on fire by making the explosives more powerful. Sam even recommends that he should be the star of the film's spinoff sequel.
  • The Kiddie Ride: Jupiter was made into one featuring Sam, Elvis and Station Officer Steele, courtesy of OMC Electronics (the same team that brought us Postman Pat). There was another version, spawned by Mitchells, but this time features Sam and Penny.
  • The Klutz: Mike Flood, the village handyman, whose main job seems to be mending things that he's previously broken.
  • Last-Second Joke Problem: The conclusion of "The Great Fire of Pontypandy" has everyone celebrating in the rain... until Radar finds sausages. Norman and his cousin Derek realise that it's their sausages, and everyone is extremely angry at them, because the sausages are the things that caused the forest fire in the first place.
    Norman: Oh, no! Radar has found our sausages!
    Sam: What on earth's that?
    Steele: Sausages?!
    Derek: I think we're the ones who need saving now..
    Dilys: (gasps) So that's why I could smell sausages! Were you cooking in the bushes, Norman?
    Steele: You made a campfire?! Ooooooh... Norman Price! You done it this time! Right! Where's your mother?
    Dilys: I'll make sure he's properly dealt with at home, Station Officer Steele. You naughty boy!
  • Leeroy Jenkins: In due part because he didn't trust Elvis' judgement due to his tendency to bungle when not actively doing his job, Arnold goes right ahead in trying to rescue Mrs. Chen and Lily who are stranded on top of their car in the flooded streets of Pontypandy while ignoring Elvis's pleas to wait for Ellie to return with Venus so she could secure the Firefighters and the car with a line. Arnold does manage to save Lily and bring her to Elvis, but ends up losing his footing on his return trip for Mrs. Chen and would have been washed away were it not for her holding on to his hand at the last minute. Brave he may have been, but were it not for Elvis rescuing him (plus Mrs. Chen) after being secured by Venus' tow wench, he may well have been lost on his first big emergency in Pontypandy. To Arnold's credit, however, he does apologize to Elvis afterword.
    Arnold: "I'm here to rescue people, Elvis, not wait around all day!"
  • Lethal Chef:
    • Elvis Cridlington. The OST even had a song dedicated to his poor cooking.
    • Bronwyn is a more literal variant. She can make edible food...whenever she isn't setting her cafe on fire by mistake.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Elvis, who is often barely functional in terms of basic living, tends to act much more competently on duty and naturally gets a few moments of individual heroics. Applies to the rest of the fire team to a lesser degree, who all have their quirky moments but often take serious action when an emergency occurs.
  • Limited Social Circle: 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 Movie The 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.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Pretty much everyone only ever wears what they are always seen wearing, with very few exceptions. So seeing Sam wear more casual clothes like a flannel shirt and khakis like in "Turtle Hunt" is definitely a rare sight.
  • Malaproper: Dilys.
  • Making a Spectacle of Yourself: Dilys glammed up somewhat between the original and CGI series, including gaining a pair of outsize pink glasses.
  • Meaningful Name: Bella Lasagne and Mandy Flood.
  • Mood Whiplash: Happens frequently since in spite of cozy funny goings on in Pontypandy, the danger of the emergencies is often taken quite seriously. "Bentley the Robot" is a prime example, starting off as a Denser and Wackier episode about Sam's new invention going comically haywire. It shortly causes a fire however, in which Penny gets trapped and loses consciousness...
  • The Movie: "The Great Fire of Pontypandy", and later "Ultimate Heroes", "Alien Alert" and "Set For Action".
  • My Beloved Smother: Dilys. May explain why Mr. Price is mysteriously absent.
  • Nephewism: Sarah and James are Sam's niece and nephew, and until recently, their parents were never seen.
  • No Antagonist: Unless you count fire, Norman, or Buck Douglas. Flex and Professor Polonium are noted aversions.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Elvis.
  • No Name Given: Sam is nearly always referred to by his first name only. His full name is Samuel Peyton-Jones
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Especially the actors for the US version, though an occasional affected Jewish accent for the Flood Family not withstanding. Tom averts this trope, though; you'd never mistake him for not being from Australia.
  • Not Me This Time: On a few occasions, the fire team are surprised when Norman isn't to blame for the current emergency. At times even Norman himself is.
    Norman: *after seeing someone screw up royal* It's normally me that does that.
  • Not So Above It All: While the likes of Norman and Mike are the usual offenders, just about everyone has a turn causing an emergency at some point, even the members of the fire brigade.
  • Office Golf: Station Officer Basil Steele indulges in this in one episode, causing a minor disaster in the fire station.
  • Older Is Better: Mostly averted, since while some apparatuses and virtues are maintained throughout the series, new machinery and upgrades are still often accepted to make lifesaving more effective, particularly when the brigade overhaul the fire station after the original risks being a health hazard. Even old fashioned vehicles like Bessie and Jupiter that have proved efficient have been given upgrades to improve their performance.
  • 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  on occasion.
  • Parental Abandonment: Sarah and James' parents (Sam's brother and sister-in-law) were never seen until the CGI series, when they became regular characters. Norman's dad still hasn't shown up.
  • Portmanteau: Pontypandy takes its name from the real South Wales towns of Pontypridd and Tonypandy.
  • The Prankster: Norman.
  • Pride Before a Fall: Most of the problems that stem from Norman's arrogance. The other characters are prone to this as well.
  • Pyromaniac: There are an awful lot of fires for such a small town. Sam really enjoys being a Hero, doesn't he?
  • Real After All: So far we've had "The Beast of Pontypandy", "The Pontypandyness Monster", and aliens.
  • Repetitive Name: Tom Thomas.
  • 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 (similar to Chief Fire Officer Boyce in the later episodes). The later series change it so that she's a regular member of the Pontypandy Fire Service. Curiously she even gains a Welsh accent to match, despite later episodes maintaining English accents for most Newtown transfers like she had before.
  • 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.
  • Same Language Dub: The show has an American English dub, which only covers a few of the CGI seasons.
  • Sanity Ball: In some cases Norman, of all people, can be the sensible one. In "Hot Air", Trevor was blinded by pride and opened the bonnet of his bus to check the overheated engine despite Norman's warnings, only to let in enough oxygen to set it alight. In "Cadet Catastrophe" he tries to prevent Sarah and Mandy from messing around with a petrol canister.
    Norman: Ellie said not to touch anything!
    Sarah: Well since when have you ever done what you're told?
  • Security Cling: In "Halloween", when a thunderstorm causes a blackout, Fireman Elvis Cridlington is in Trevor the Bus' arms, clinging to him in fear, saying he could "feel the bats flapping!".
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Newcomer Fireman Arnold is shown to have quite the technically-minded vocabulary. His verbose speaking tendencies has Elvis utterly baffled. Sam usually simplifies for him.
  • Seen It All: Averted. This is Pontypandy. Characters have been surprised by such emergency calls as a flare being spotted by a high flying space sandwich and a fire breathing dragon setting fire to Bessies's barn. Sometime's they've mention they've thought they seen it all though.
  • 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 throughout.
    • In the CGI series, not only does Penny get some with Elvis when she thanks his selflessness in trying to get himself fired so Penny wouldn't in a misunderstanding on his part with a kiss, but when Ben Hooper, the new coastguard, is introduced, she sees him for the first time in a toned-down but still noticeable Crush Filter, and a later episode has the two complimenting and conversing with each other, at the expense of forgetting their work with Sam salvaging buoys.
    • Dilys also has some with Sam, Station Officer Basil Steele, and Chief Fire Officer Boyce.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Stock Sound Effect: Gareth's train, the Pontypandy Express, has the same whistle as Spencer from Thomas & Friends.
  • 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. Being made in The '80s, when female firefighters were a recent innovation, this was probably Truth in Television.
  • 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.
    • Sarah and James averted it in the non-CGI series, where they got along well (and any signs of rivalry was limited to harmless ribbing) and were always the Only Sane Kids compared to Norman. They played this trope straight in the CGI series, probably because it's more realistic.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Norman.
  • Sixth Ranger: More new characters are added as the series pass, but the most prominent and obvious examples are Ben Hooper, a coastguard who is in charge of the Ocean Rescue Center (a parallel to Tom and the Mountain Rescue Center), and especially "Ultimate Heroes"'s two new firefighters to go with the newer, bigger Fire Station, Arnold McKinsley and Ellie Phillips, both of whom are fresh, top graduates from Newtown's Firefighter Academy.
  • Stiff Upper Lip:
    • Averted constantly with Dilys, who's practically a stampede waiting to happen all on her own. However, in The Movie she plays this trope straight spectacularly as she leads Trevor and all the kids, including her son and nephew, to safety in the midst of the biggest fire in the town's history.
    • Station Officer Steele. Though clearly upset by his notification of retirement in one episode, he remains composed throughout. He is, however, close to tears towards the end of The Great Fire of Pontypandy, when he believes he is leaving the fire station for the last time as the fire approaches.
  • 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.
  • Supreme Chef: Penny in the original series, much to the joy of Sam and Steele since they are temporarily relieved of Elvis's cooking.
  • Teacher's Pet: In the second movie special Fireman Sam: Ultimate Heroes, after enthusiastically stating how he's looking forward to "learning from the best" from Sam, fellow newcomer Ellie softly accuses Arnold of this, though of course, it doesn't go further than that.
  • Team Chef: Mainly Fireman Elvis Cridlington, though the original series had Penny take over the role from time to time.
  • Technology Marches On: In-Universe: One episode had the subplot of the Mountain Rescue Centre's computer being updated in the old fashion of using a CD, which gets mixed up with a music playlist. In the end, Norman lampshades the situation after simply grabbing the latest version from the internet.
  • The Ditz: Elvis, who finds mopping the floor difficult, and struggles to count past 'one'. But see also Genius Ditz above, as he's rarely lacking in an emergency.
  • Theme Naming: Most of the fire brigade's vehicles are named after planets (Jupiter, Venus, Neptune, Mercury) or constellations (Hydrus, Phoenix). They also have a drone dubbed Saturn.
  • Title Drop: Frequently, often more than once an episode. Whatever the emergency, "Call Fireman Sam!" is always the correct response. Note that this only applies to the CGI series, as in the older series, the more correct term "call the fire service" was used.
  • Title Theme Tune: It's probably a fair bet to say that every Brit aged 40 and under knows the title song.
  • Too Dumb to Live: It's honestly amazing how the people of Pontypandy haven't burnt the town down four times over.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The fire team were already pretty competent in their job originally, though in the CGI episodes, particularly the feature length specials, they often get promoted to Action Hero status.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass:
    • Norman in the CGI series. Whereas in the older seasons, his pranks and plans tended to be better-engineered, they were, for the most part, rather harmless, and he knew when things had gone too far, in the CGI series, his plans are made hastily and irrationally, often goes in over his head, and causes alot of consternation, especially in such episodes as "Runaway Cart".
    • To an extent all the civilians have gotten somewhat dumber and more careless in the CGI seasons due to the increasing need for dangerous accidents that the fire brigade have to stop. Sarah and James in particular tended to only get in danger over more reasonable oversights in the early series, while in modern ones they are sometimes even more foolish than Norman.
    • Downplayed for Elvis who gotten more outwardly oafish and gained more of a Simpleton Voice, but is generally the same palpable level of competence as an actual firefighter and in some cases even seems more cautious than his co-workers.
  • Trash the Set: In "Ultimate Heroes", the old Fire Station is so old and run down (including destitute drain pipes and a leaky roof) that a new Fire Station is built and finished over the course of the first third of the movie. This makes way for a bigger, more high-tech Station for the Pontypandy Fire and Emergency Service to work out of. The team even gets 2 new firefighters fresh from Newtown's Firefighter Academy in Arnold McKinsley and Ellie Phillips on top of that.
  • Tsundere: Penny Morris towards Norman in the 2003-2005 series.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Norman and Mandy are either thick as thieves, or at one another's throats.
  • Vocal Evolution:
    • Happens during the first episode. In her first scene, Bella's voice does not have the distinct high-pitch John Alderton gave both her and Dilys, merely being Alderton's normal voice with an Italian accent. By her second scene, it's shown up.
    • Sarah and James also lost their Welsh accent in later episodes.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Almost all the Pontypandy civilians tend to be keeping the fire brigade very busy with the emergencies their clumsiness causes, though Norman, Mike and Joe especially.

  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Elvis can be this with Station Officer Steele and, to a lesser extent, Fireman Sam.
  • 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.
    • Back in Series 1's "Telly Trouble", Elvis tries to fix a tap which won't turn by hitting it with a hammer.
  • Women Are Wiser: Played straight with the Floods and Sparks families, with the fathers being Walking Disaster Areas (though the mothers do cause some emergencies as well). Played with elsewhere. Sometimes James is more cautious than Sarah, while Sam is arguably the most competent of the fire brigade team (if still sometimes eccentric).
  • Working Through the Cold: Series 7's "Poorly Penny" does this with, well, Penny.
  • Wrench Wench: Penny, more so in the earlier series.


Video Example(s):


Elvis and Mike’s band break up

Elvis Cridington and Mike Flood have an argument on how they performed that they break up their band.

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