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.

Another series is in development.

Press Clippings

My lockdown: Holly Walsh

Holly Walsh, 39, wrote BBC parenting comedy Motherland and is working on a new series. She's also written a new sitcom, The Other One, about what happens when you discover your dead dad has a secret family.

Andrew Williams, Metro, 1st June 2020

Tanya Moodie interview

As she wins a TV breakthrough award for playing alpha mum Meg in the BBC comedy, the actor talks about faith, focus and her passion for the stage.

Ellen E. Jones, The Guardian, 19th March 2020

Royal Television Society announces award winners

The 2020 Royal Television Society Programme Awards have been announced, with London Hughes, Ncuti Gatwa and Saoirse-Monica Jackson all recognised for their talent.

British Comedy Guide, 17th March 2020

Paul Ready interview

The actor on working with his wife, Michelle Terry, taking the rap for blowing up Keeley Hawes and the perils of real-life parenting.

Michael Hogan, The Observer, 2nd February 2020

Opinion: top TV comedies 2019

Mostly below, in no particular order, are the shows that simply made me laugh the most this year. Shows that totally tickled my funny bone first and didn't necessarily do anything else.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 31st December 2019

Euan Ferguson's best TV of 2019

Fleabag, of course, but also GameFace, Aisling Bea's This Way Up, Motherland - and that lovely, short sweet run, State Of The Union. Black Mirror as well, although too few episodes. There was sadcom too - don't forget Don't Forget The Driver, Defending The Guilty. And with Stath Lets Flats and Flack, we were laughing all the way until we suddenly stopped.

Euan Ferguson, The Guardian, 30th December 2019

Motherland, final episode, review

A hilariously close-to-the-bone depiction of parenthood.

Anita Singh, The Telegraph, 11th November 2019

The second series of the comedy about struggling middle-class mums ends with another Julia special: a school sports day where she faces off with old adversary Mrs Lamb. While the material is more knowing and less quietly chaotic, Anna Maxwell Martin and Diane Morgan excel themselves.

Hannah J Davies, The Guardian, 11th November 2019

The mighty Motherland continued; it's still gloriously funny, but now, also, irksome. In a good way. Because, just as we're now trying to include harried mums in all the causes screaming for our empathies, our antihero Julia suddenly behaves like the self-centred, entitled sod we all half-suspected, ramping up her "victimhood" to take huge advantage, again and again, of a kindly soul in a cafe (and never mind the poor owner, always down at least half a day's heating in exchange for one all-day latte).

Irksome in a good way because it denotes the supreme confidence of the script to dare to show Julia as several-dimensioned, and one of those dimensions (it turns out) is sweet-smiley manipulative bitch. It's probably no coincidence that there are no fewer than four writers involved, of presumably strong self-opinion and character themselves (one's Sharon Horgan); mimsier hands would have shied away from addling viewers' simple brains with such complexity. Is this, finally, Britain catching on to the US trick, employed in hit after hit, of dedicated writing teams?

Euan Ferguson, The Observer, 27th October 2019

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