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


  • TV sitcom
  • BBC Two / BBC One
  • 2016 - 2022
  • 20 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.

  • JustWatch Streaming rank this week: 571

Episode menu

Series 2, Episode 1 - No Mum Left Behind

Motherland. Image shows from L to R: Meg (Tanya Moodie), Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin)
As the school year begins, a new mum at the school gates attracts the attention of Julia, Liz and Kevin. Does high-flyer Meg really have it all? Meanwhile Julia agonises over a promotion and the gang have a night out.

Broadcast details

Monday 7th October 2019
30 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Thursday 17th September 2020 9:30pm BBC2
Sunday 2nd May 2021 11:40pm BBC4
Tuesday 1st June 2021 12:25am BBC4
Wednesday 30th June 2021 1:05am BBC4
Thursday 29th July 2021 12:45am BBC4
Thursday 26th August 2021 1:10am BBC4
Friday 24th September 2021 2:10am BBC4

Cast & crew

Anna Maxwell Martin Julia
Diane Morgan Liz
Paul Ready Kevin
Lucy Punch Amanda
Philippa Dunne Anne
Tanya Moodie Meg
Jackie Clune Mrs Lamb
Guest cast
Peter Singh Andrew
Michael Abubakar Leon
Michael Ballard Policeman
Anthony Head Bill
Patrick Regis Bus Driver
Corinne Skinner-Carter Meg's Mum
Melanie Wilder Sam
Alice Franziska Woodhouse Lydia
Writing team
Sharon Horgan Writer
Helen Serafinowicz (as Helen Linehan) Writer
Holly Walsh Writer
Barunka O'Shaughnessy Writer
Production team
Juliet May Director
Sam Pinnell Producer
Richard Boden Executive Producer
Sharon Horgan Executive Producer
Clelia Mountford Executive Producer
Holly Walsh Executive Producer
Samantha Frith Line Producer
Jake Bernard Editor
Anna Sheldrake Production Designer
Sarah Crowe Casting Director
Ben Marks Casting Director
Caroline Pitcher Costume Designer
Greg Duffield Director of Photography
Vanessa White Make-up Designer
Oli Julian Composer
Kas Braganza 1st Assistant Director
Alex Moody Commissioning Editor


I made the mistake a few weeks ago of powering through every single outing of Nick Hornby's lovely, subtle State of the Union in a single night. I won't be erring in similar fashion with the latest series of Motherland, even though it's tempting, it all having been dumped on iPlayer in one greedy gloop.

No, I'll savour it: and the opener (all right, opening two) have riches to savour indeed. Chiefly, in the first, the gutsy performance of Tanya Moodie as 'aving-it-all, high-flying mum Meg, who soon lets slip that her very singular definition of "juggling" is being able to conduct a fluent South American conference-call while throwing up in a pub toilet, having just been arrested for pissing in the street. To, first of all, Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) and her jealous disdain - her wordless, mouth-stretching half-sneers to every one of Meg's matey gambits are a joy to half-behold - and, then, her sneaking admiration: might Meg even be a role-model, a mentor, someone who can help her navigate the vicissitudes of middle-class London motherhood?


Julia sinks back to her comfort levels of harried incompetence - and even below those levels, soon taking to arriving at the losers' table in the cafe in sweatpants and cheap faux-furry coat. Even Liz, the wonderfully sane-speaking Diana Morgan, raises an eyebrow: "You look like a mental patient."

Is Julia about to have that long-threatened, possibly delicious, full English breakdown? And how long can the (equally well-drawn) Amanda (Lucy Punch), arriving way late to the "hygge" beanfeast with her over-niche shop ("store," she will insist), funded by hubby's guilt-money over the split, continue to sell scented candles at £89? Cards only ("we're cashless!")? I'm going to wait to find out, and suggest you toy weekly with it: subtler than Sharon Horgan's Catastrophe, with input from a further three writers, this is at most turns a joy, although occasionally the type of joy felt upon the absence of pain about 40 seconds after stepping on a piece of Lego in your bare feet.

Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 13th October 2019

The fake news in Motherland (BBC2) was that the new mum at the school gates, Meg (Tanya Moodie), was a superwoman.

Apparently an international business consultant, she struck deals in multiple languages on her mobile while raising five well-adjusted children and enjoying a blissful marriage.

Naturally, Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) loathed her. 'Where's your secret sadness?' she fumed. But this is Motherland, where parenthood is the seventh circle of hell and every day when you haven't strangled one of your little darlings can be counted as a success.

No surprises, then, when Meg turned out to be a raging alcoholic who regarded hijacking a bus and confrontations with the police as ordinary hazards of a good binge.

Even if this comedy is a trifle cynical and earthy for some tastes, it's always worth it for the deadpan world-weariness of Liz (Diane Morgan) -- who reckons the chief compensation for being a single mother is getting ten per cent off at Dorothy Perkins.

Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail, 8th October 2019

TV review: Motherland, BBC2

It was announced just before this second series started that there would be a third series of Motherland. It's be interesting to see how it evolves as there are a few changes in the opening episode of the second run.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 8th October 2019

Middle-class mums are in the not-so-flattering spotlight for a second season of Sharon Horgan, Holly Walsh and Helen Linehan's comedy on parenthood at the school gates. As term starts up, there is fresh blood in the form of high-flying mum of four Meg (straight-talking Tanya Moodie); she has conspicuously moved in opposite Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin), who continues to juggle a hectic career with the efforts of keeping up with the other parents. A gleeful takedown of competitive parenting culture.

Ammar Kalia, The Guardian, 7th October 2019

Motherland series 2 preview

It's a welcome return for Motherland, the comedy that does for parenthood what The Thick Of It did for politics - revealing in ugly detail the stresses and panic behind every hastily improvised decision made by the tired and harassed.

Steve Bennett, Chortle, 7th October 2019

Last night's view: Alison Rowat on Motherland

Review of the BBC Two sitcom.

Alison Rowat, The Herald, 7th October 2019

Motherland review

Parenting comedy returns with sad and angry hidden depths.

Ed Cumming, The Independent, 7th October 2019

Motherland, series 2, review

This astute, spiky sitcom conjures stress so vivid that it's difficult to watch.

Sarah Carson, i Newspaper, 7th October 2019

Motherland, series 2 episode 1 review

Why has it descended into farce?

Michael Hogan, The Telegraph, 7th October 2019

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