Press clippings

Motherland Christmas special review

You'll laugh, gasp in shock ... then punch the air.

Jack Seale, The Guardian, 23rd December 2022

Motherland: Last Christmas, review

The scabrous parenting sitcom is the perfect antidote to syrupy sweet Christmas fare.

Michael Hogan, The Telegraph, 23rd December 2022

Motherland Christmas special review

The slapstick carnage in this one-off episode - there's a broken nose, a toppled tree and an explosion of flour - is not as funny as the more low-key moments.

Alexandra Pollard, The Independent, 23rd December 2020

Motherland review: being a parent is a laughing matter

Motherland (BBC2) is a comedy that captures those moments of parental misery and magnifies them.

Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail, 8th November 2017

Preview - Motherland

The first series of Motherland begins Tuesday 7th November on BBC Two. Here are Sophie's thoughts on the opening episode...

Sophie Davies, The Velvet Onion, 4th November 2017

Ralf Little and Michelle Terry return for a second series of their self-penned sitcom set in Weston-Super-Mare. Sarah (Terry) is back behind the café counter along with mother Carol (Ellie Haddington) and grandmother Sarah (June Watson). Most of today's customers bring consternation, not least Richard (Little), who has an announcement to make, and new character Phil (Robert Glenister), Carol's estranged husband.

It's all very staged but the script is reasonably amusing, with asides, misunderstandings and repetition to order. References to Twitter and Facebook nestle reasonably comfortably alongside the portrait of a crumbling seaside town, with the aghast Sarah the pivot between the two. Her frustrations will undoubtedly form the backbone of the series, and viewers will want to see her luck change - though how many episodes that will take remains to be seen.

Anna Smith, Time Out, 24th July 2013

Its premiere may be called 'Diminishing Returns', but we can assure you that The Cafe is as chucklesome as ever when it returns to Sky1 for its second series this week.

The Ralf Little comedy picks up with Carol's (Ellie Haddington) ex and Sarah's (Michelle Terry) estranged father Phil, played by Hustle star Robert Glenister, stopping by to say 'alroight' when he arrives in Weston-Super-Mare to shoot a tourism brochure. Elsewhere, Richard (Little) and Ava (Carolin Stoltz) make an unexpected announcement and Mary (June Watson) discovers Twitter. Knock together a nice bacon butty for yourself, pull up a pew and enjoy.

Daniel Sperling, Digital Spy, 21st July 2013

Sky1's latest sitcom offering comes from the team who helped make The Royle Family what it was. Shame it seems the magic has gone.

The Café is set in a... well you can guess where, but this particular establishment is located in Weston-Super-Mare and is called "Cyril's". Despite this, there's no-one called Cyril in the show. The main characters are the owner of the café, Carol (Ellie Haddington), her daughter and wannabe writer Sarah (Michelle Terry, who co-writes the series with Ralf Little, who also stars in the series), and Carol's mother Mary (June Watson).

However, this is just the start. There are 13 main characters.

Now, I don't mind there being lots of characters in a sitcom. Green Wing, for example, had a minimum of 14 regular characters in it at any one time. However, you can't make the characters fully rounded if the episodes are just half-an-hour (minus advertising time), compared to the hour-long episodes Green Wing had. There are some interesting characters, like Kieran the living statue (Kevin Trainor), but it's a bit of a mess.

But the main problem with this show is that it just isn't funny enough. It comes across as overtly sentimental, and while this programme does have the odd laugh now and then, what this show really needs is less characters and less drama.

Ian Wolf, Giggle Beats, 28th November 2011

Is it wrong to judge a show by its theme tune? The folky version of Somewhere Beyond The Sea which opens The Cafe is sung by Kathryn Williams in a voice so wistfully fairy-like she makes Janet Devlin off The X Factor sound like Joe Cocker.

The second impression you'll get of The Cafe is that it's a bit Early Doors On Sea because it's directed by Craig Cash and is set, as you could probably guess, in and around a pretty beach-front cafe in Weston-super-Mare called Cyril's.

It's written by and stars Ralf Little and Michelle Terry (who is actually from Weston) and it makes a nice change to see Somerset getting a bit of a look-in, instead of the North West.

Having said that, many of the eccentrics who frequent the cafe run by Carol (Ellie Haddington) could have just stepped off the bus from Doc Martin territory. One of them, Kieran, who works as a living statue, is actually a different colour every day (a bit like Gold Guy in the short-lived sitcom Angelo's). Michelle Terry plays Carol's daughter Sarah, who's reluctantly living back home after a stint in London and is trying to become a writer.

Little plays her ex-boyfriend Richard who works in a care-home.

But a potential new relationship arrives tonight in the shape of an old school friend who has just zoomed down from the capital in a Porsche.

John is played by Daniel Ings from Pete Versus Life, who now seems in danger of being type-cast as the handsomest man for miles around. Poor thing. Must be tough for him.

Jane Simon, The Mirror, 23rd November 2011

Royle Family actors Ralf Little and Craig Cash collaborate for a gentle sitcom set in a seaside café in Weston-super-Mare. Cash directs a script by Little and actress Michelle Terry in a story revolving around three generations who run a struggling café: Gran (June Watson), divorcee Carol (Ellie Haddington) and daughter Sarah (Terry). The characters are nicely observed - in particular some of the café regulars such as Richard (Little), a care-home assistant and Sarah's ex, and Keiran (Kevin Trainor), who works as a "living statue" - but The Cafe's sedate pace does make it a bit dull.

Simon Horsford, The Telegraph, 22nd November 2011

Share this page