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Fireman Sam (Sam Tan in its original language) was an 1985 stop motion 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 1987. Originally narrated by John Alderton. Said series ended by 1994. 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).


This show has the following tropes.

  • The Ace: Sam.
    • In The Movie Elvis gets his chance to shine, even saving Sam's life!
  • 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.
  • AI Is a Crapshoot: Trevor's satnav system sends his bus over a cliff in one episode.
  • Alliterative Name: James Jones, Tom Thomas (see also Repetitive Name)
  • An Aesop: Managed not to be Anvilicious about it most of the time, and usually involved Anvils That Needed to Be Dropped anyway.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Just how many times does Norman need rescuing by the fire service?
  • Anti-Hero / Byronic Hero /VillainProtagonist: Norman (Type V).
  • 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.
  • 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 (Fireman Sam!) He's gonna save the day (Fireman Sam!)...". Overlaps with Expository Theme Tune and Title Theme Tune to an extent.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Norman Price.
  • Bungling Inventor: Sam.
  • Butt Monkeys: Trevor Evans, Mike Flood, and Charlie Jones.
  • Catch Phrase: "Great fires of London!", "Call Fireman Sam!" and others.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Bella and Rosa in the CGI season.
  • Cold Open: In The Movie The Great Fire of Pontypandy.
  • Companion Cube: Elvis is very protective of Dummy (later Dolly), the fire station training dummy.
  • 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.
  • Da Chief: Station Officer Steele.
  • Demoted to Extra: Trevor Evans in the newer series.
  • Did Not Do the Research: Largely averted, but for all that the show is clearly well advised on fire safety issues, one episode shows the crew using water to put on an electrical fire.
    • They do unplug the appliance in question first, however. In Real Life the crew would have used extinguishers containing foam or powder, so this was probably a concession to the limits of the special effects and/or a subtle PSA about how to deal with an electrical fire when water is all you've got on hand.
  • Disappeared Dad: Norman Price's father is never even mentioned.
  • 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.
  • Eek! a Mouse!: Bella does not like mice.
  • First Name Ultimatum: "NOR-MAN!"
  • 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.
  • Geographic Flexibility: In the CGI season, Pontypandy has somehow acquired a coastline.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 recently.
  • Jerkass: Norman.
  • Job Title
  • Karma Houdini: 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.
  • Lethal Chef: Elvis Cridlington.
    • A bit of Fridge Horror comes up if you think about this one at length. Both Sam and Station Officer Steele admit to not liking his food, but never try cooking themselves. Given they're willing to put up with Elvis's cooking one can only imagine how much worse either of them are.
  • Limited Social Circle: No-one other than the main characters is ever seen during an ordinary episode, though one of the 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 different episodes.
    • 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. 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 probably the Grim Reaper or Mr. Dark came and killed the residents before the cartoon aired in 1986?
  • 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.
  • The Movie: The Great Fire of Pontypandy.
  • 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... or Norman.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Elvis.
  • No Name Given: Sam is nearly always referred to by his first name only. His full name is Sammuel Peyton-Jones
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pride Before a Fall: Most of the problems that stem from Norman's arrogance.
  • Repetitive Name: Tom Thomas.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Averted constantly with Dilys, who's practically a stampede waiting to happen all on her own. However, in The Movie she averts this 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.
  • 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.
  • Talking to Himself: John Alderton voiced all the characters in the original series, even the females.
  • Tear Jerker: The episode "Steele Under Par", when Station Officer Steele is forced to retire from his job.
  • Ted Baxter: Norman.
  • The Ditz: Elvis, who finds mopping the floor difficult. But see also Genius Ditz above, as he's rarely lacking in an emergency.
  • Those Two Guys: Sarah & James.
  • Title Drop: Frequently, often more than once an episode. Whatever the emergency, "Call Fireman Sam!" is the correct response.
  • Trickster Archetype: Norman.
  • Tsundere: Penny Morris towards Norman in the 2005 season.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Norman and Mandy are either thick as thieves, or at one another's throats.
  • Weekend Inventor: Sam in the original series. Mike Flood builds an impressive rocket in the new series
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Elvis can be this with Station Officer Steele and, to a lesser extent, 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.
  • Working Through the Cold: Season 6's "Poorly Penny" does this with, well, Penny.
  • Wrench Wench: Penny, more so in the earlier series.
  • X Meets Y: Lego Island meets Postman Pat.
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