Motherland. Image shows from L to R: Liz (Diane Morgan), Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin), Kevin (Paul Ready)


  • TV sitcom
  • BBC Two
  • 2016 - 2021
  • 19 episodes (3 series)

Comedy about middle-class parenthood and juggling kids, school, and other parents. Stars Anna Maxwell Martin, Diane Morgan, Paul Ready, Lucy Punch, Philippa Dunne and more.

Episode menu


Motherland. Image shows from L to R: Liz (Diane Morgan), Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin). Copyright: Delightful Industries / Merman
When Julia's mother decides she is no longer going to be the free child-sitter and school-run taxi, Julia finds her organisation skills are taxed and nowhere near the level of the Alpha Mums.

Broadcast details

Tuesday 6th September 2016
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Monday 30th October 2017 10:00pm BBC2

Cast & crew

Anna Maxwell Martin Julia
Diane Morgan Liz
Paul Ready Kevin
Lucy Punch Amanda
Philippa Dunne Anne
Ellie Haddington Marion
Oliver Chris Paul
Guest cast
Margaret Cabourn-Smith Janet
Sonita Henry Sunita
Terry Mynott Ian
Chetna Pandya Mrs Lawson
Writing team
Sharon Horgan Writer
Helen Serafinowicz (as Helen Linehan) Writer
Holly Walsh Writer
Graham Linehan Writer
Production team
Graham Linehan Director
Richard Boden Producer
Richard Boden Executive Producer
Graham Linehan Executive Producer
Sharon Horgan Executive Producer
Clelia Mountford Executive Producer
Holly Walsh Associate Producer
Charlie Fawcett Editor
Dennis De Groot (as Dennis DeGroot) Production Designer
Sarah Crowe Casting Director
Caroline Pitcher Costume Designer
Vanessa White Make-up Designer
Bill Broomfield Director of Photography
Jo Kennedy-Valentine 1st Assistant Director


Top 40 TV Shows of 2016: #17 Motherland

Is this a sign 2016 wasn't a great year for comedy? The second highest-ranking sitcom in our list - if you even count Fleabag as a sitcom - was only a one-off pilot episode.

Jack Seale, Radio Times, 26th December 2016

Undoubted comedy of the week was Motherland, a terribly truthful exposition of what it means to battle between being the "good" mother - a flawlessly moneyed, pretty, organised and quietly angry Lucy Punch - and the hopeless, exemplified here by Diane Morgan, who lives off frozen food, only gives a forlorn what-the-bugger-now sigh when she severs her finger, and is quietly happy.

Caught in the middle, as I suspect an entire 90% of British mothers are and always have been, is the phenomenal Anna Maxwell Martin as Julia, who makes the one mistake - one! - of lying, once. When asked, by the impossibly kind school to which she ferries with difficulties her two children, whether she had forgotten it was half-term, she opts for a proudly cheerful "No. No?" and so mires herself in a day of tense phone calls, criminal driving, accidental and deliberate snobbery, blood, wine and insane hunger while trying to hold down a job in event management. She's due later in her hellish week to have Peter Mandelson introduce the Women in Construction awards, which deserves an award of its own. As does the terse "I don't have to come to the office for a whole day to watch Elaine print out a press release."

"What time is it now?" she begs Liz (Morgan) as they struggle with their many kids, with prayers for it to be about 4.30pm, or if possible midnight. "Just after midday." "Fucking HELL." It's written by, among others, Sharon Horgan and Graham Linehan, features the most fascinating annoying dad yet written, and is a sure triumph.

Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 11th September 2016

Motherland review

Sharon Horgan and Graham Linehan's slapstick sitcom shows the fullblown apocalypse of child-rearing.

Tim Jonze, The Guardian, 7th September 2016

Motherland, BBC Two, review

Promising pilot of comedy about middle-class parenting.

Veronica Lee, The Arts Desk, 7th September 2016

Essentially Mumsnet: the sitcom, an utterly hysterical and bracingly honest look at the messy business of motherhood. Diane ("Cunk") Morgan, Lucy Punch and Anna Maxwell Martin are by turns chaotic, uber-competitive and Not Coping Very Well ("I really want the children to be brought up like I was - by my mother") in this delicious one-off from the combined writing talents of Graham and Helen Linehan, Sharon Horgan and Holly Walsh. Fingers crossed for a series.

Ali Catterall, The Guardian, 6th September 2016

King & queen of comedy: Sharon Horgan & Graham Linehan

If they were musicians, they'd be forming a London Irish supergroup. Sharon Horgan is co-creator and star of the savvy, groundbreaking comedies Pulling and Catastrophe. Graham Linehan is the grandmaster of surreal farce, most of all in Father Ted and The IT Crowd. Together they have merged their talents in Motherland, a new comedy pilot directed by Linehan about the horrors of daytime parenting.

Jasper Rees, The Telegraph, 6th September 2016

Motherland has realities of school run down to a tee

Modern parents will recognise themselves - and cringe - in this pilot comedy from Catastrophe's Sharon Horgan and Father Ted's Graham Linehan, says Ben Dowell.

Ben Dowell, Radio Times, 6th September 2016

Motherland preview

Frenetic, stressy and trying to juggle several balls at once... the whole tone of Motherland has a lot of parallels with the chaotic realities of parenthood, which it represents so well.

Steve Bennett, Chortle, 6th September 2016

Motherland - review

It's straight to the naughty step if the BBC declines to commission a full series.

Ed Power, The Telegraph, 6th September 2016

TV preview: Motherland, BBC2

How kind of the BBC to save the sitcom pilot with the most potential until last.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 5th September 2016

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