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

Motherland

BBC Two sitcom middle-class motherhood. 13 episodes (pilot + 2 series), 2016 - 2019. Stars Anna Maxwell Martin, Diane Morgan, Paul Ready, Lucy Punch and others.

Next new episode is on tomorrow at 10pm. Series 2, Episode 2
Catch-up on Episode 1 on BBC iPlayer

Press Clippings

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?

No.

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

Sharon Horgan interview

The busiest woman in TV talks to Ellie Harrison about 'Modern Love', motherhood, anxiety and why 'it's not a bad thing to sound a bit messy'.

Ellie Harrison, The Independent, 12th October 2019

Sharon Horgan on mean mums and Motherland

As the comedy about panicked parenting returns, its cast and writers discuss the difficulties of modern motherhood.

Ellen E. Jones, The Guardian, 12th October 2019

In praise of Motherland

Sharon Horgan and co's clever, funny, oestrogen-fuelled comedy is an antidote to the patronising delusions of smug parents..

Rachel Cooke, The New Statesman, 9th 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

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

Motherland, series 2 episode 1 review

Why has it descended into farce?

Michael Hogan, The Telegraph, 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 review

Parenting comedy returns with sad and angry hidden depths.

Ed Cumming, The Independent, 7th October 2019

Last night's view: Alison Rowat on Motherland

Review of the BBC Two sitcom.

Alison Rowat, The Herald, 7th October 2019