Mum. Cathy (Lesley Manville)


  • TV sitcom
  • BBC Two
  • 2016 - 2019
  • 18 episodes (3 series)

Sitcom about a middle aged mother who is trying to rebuild her life following the death of her husband. Stars Lesley Manville, Peter Mullan, Sam Swainsbury, Lisa McGrillis, Ross Boatman and more.

  • JustWatch Streaming rank this week: 1,815

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Series 2, Episode 1 - March

Mum. Cathy (Lesley Manville)
It is Cathy's 60th birthday and the family are going for lunch.

Broadcast details

Tuesday 20th February 2018
25 minutes

Cast & crew

Lesley Manville Cathy
Peter Mullan Michael
Sam Swainsbury Jason
Lisa McGrillis Kelly
Ross Boatman Derek
Dorothy Atkinson Pauline
Karl Johnson Reg
Marlene Sidaway Maureen
Writing team
Stefan Golaszewski Writer
Production team
Stefan Golaszewski Director
Georgie Fallon Producer
Kenton Allen Executive Producer
Stefan Golaszewski Executive Producer
Matthew Justice Executive Producer
Richard Laxton Executive Producer
Lyndsay Robinson Associate Producer
Hannah Wilcock Line Producer
Simon Reglar Editor
Abby Bowers Production Designer
Sarah Crowe Casting Director
Richard Cooke Costume Designer
David Marsh Director of Photography
Juliette Tomes Make-up Designer
David Chalstrey 1st Assistant Director
Gregor Sharp Commissioning Editor


Mum, which has returned for a thoroughly deserved second series (with a third already commissioned), has been described, wrongly to my mind, as "gentle" - normally a killer blow to any comedy's self-respect. True, nothing much happens as Lesley Manville's Cathy, widowed at the opening of the first series, turns a wistful 60, her contemplation of the moment wholly shot by the scattergun inanities of her son's girlfriend, Kelly, swinging her heels on the rickety kitchen table ("It's wobbly, isn't it! I'm worried it's going to break!"). But behind Manville's wearily kind eyes, everything is going on in these nothings. Wrangles over family, over forgiveness, over whether and how far to indulge the blitherings of a spoiled generation - and they don't come much more blithery than Kelly (Lisa McGrillis), possibly the finest room-temperature IQ since Father Dougal.

Nothing (and everything) continues to happen as we meet, handily enough, Cathy's splendidly foul-mouthed parents, her inept brother Derek, his scene-stealing gorgon of a girlfriend, Pauline - Dorothy Atkinson, itch-febrile with societal one-upmanship. And, of course, Cathy's putative love interest, shy pal Michael, his every hesitant tenderness rebuffed by his own personality.

There's one scene, Michael and brother Derek passing a moment with small talk, which writer Stefan Golaszewski simply took to wicked, Ayckbournesque lengths. "I cut my toenails this morning," Derek tells Michael, who can only smile and nod helplessly. Derek feels the need to fill the void. "Yeah. So... got a lot more room in my socks." "Um... good feeling?" "One of the best, mate. One. Of. The. Best." It perfectly encapsulates the appalling slide into well-meaning drivel that can befall the best of us. In this, the silence of a banality left hanging, Mum excels, as (of course) do Manville, and Peter Mullan as Michael.

If there's a criticism, it's that at times it feels like it's only sane, bright, selfless Cathy and Michael against the gaggle of grotesques in their world. I also wonder just how much thicker Kelly can be made to look, and whether the comic potentials of the word "carvery" weren't exhausted around 1977. But these are mere niggles. A true delight.

Euan Ferguson, The Guardian, 25th February 2018

Although completely different in terms of quality, Stefan Golaszewski's Mum shares similarities with Hold the Sunset as both feature women-of-a-certain age trying to balance relationships with their sons with the idea of new romances with men they've known for years. Now in its second year, Mum reunites us with Cathy (Lesley Manville) on her sixtieth birthday as her family prepare to take out for a carvery at a local pub. Golaszewski quickly reunites us with all of the series' main players most notably Cathy's dimwit son Jason (Sam Swainsbury) and his ditzy girlfriend Kelly (Lisa McGrillis) who surprise her with a collection of banners and balloons adorning the house which inform the neighbours of her age. What I love so much about Mum is the small conversations that Golaszewski is so brilliant at crafting including Pauline (Dorothy Atkinson), the partner of Cathy's brother Derek (Ross Boatman), asking her about what a carvery involves. Snobbish Pauline is a brilliant creation and her trying to figure out what the three types of potatoes served at Cathy's birthday dinner provides one of many hilarious moments. Also on hand to celebrate Cathy's 60th is Michael (Peter Mullan); one of her late husband Dave's best friends and someone who is clearly besotted with her. The last series of Mum built up to Michael and Cathy holding hands, and it appears that this series will focus on whether these long-time friends will begin a romantic relationship. However, it appears as if Michael is still reticent about whether he will reveal his true feelings for Cathy especially as Jason doesn't seem to be his biggest fan. The other big storyline throughout this series appears to be Jason and Kelly's search for a new flat and the fact that this will result in Cathy living alone. The brilliant thing about Mum is that it's set over a year meaning that Golaszewski can create realistic reasons why the main characters would be in Cathy's house all at once. It also allows the central stories to move along quite quickly with the audience having to fill in the gaps of what's happened to the characters since the last episode. Although not up there with some of the best episodes of series one, the series two opener of Mum still had some funny moments whilst also setting out the big stories that will populate the next five weeks. Manville continues to be brilliant in the lead role whilst Mullan's subtle performance as Michael is beautifully realised and Atkinson steals almost every scene she's in as the ghastly Pauline. Overall, Mum is a well-observed and brilliantly written series and I'm so glad that a third series has already been announced as I just love spending time with these characters.

Matt, The Custard TV, 24th February 2018

Mum review - cliched take on the reality of being a mum

Lesley Manville suffuses her character with warmth and melancholy, but there is more to motherhood than 'keep calm and carry on ironing'.

Chitra Ramaswamy, The Guardian, 21st February 2018

TV Review, Mum (BBC2)

Lesley Manville returns in family comedy gem.

Sean O'Grady, The Independent, 21st February 2018

Mum, BBC Two, series 2 review

Lesley Manville is a discreet delight.

Jasper Rees, The Arts Desk, 21st February 2018

Left stony-faced by Cleese? Try bittersweet gem Mum

We all laugh at different things. Opinions were sharply divided, in my home and probably millions of others, over John Cleese's new sitcom Hold The Sunset last Sunday -- blissfully traditional, or wheezingly out-dated, depending on your taste. Mum (BBC2) tackles identical subject matter: the recently widowed woman, not yet ready for her bath chair, whose hopes of new romance with an old friend are constantly obstructed by her selfish son and the rest of her feckless family.

Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail, 21st February 2018

Lesley Manville brings the cheery pathos in series two of the understated but affecting comedy about a widowed woman and the people who buzz relentlessly around her. It is Cathy's 60th and she's off to the carvery with the family; her tentative love interest Michael (Peter Mullan) has bought a new shirt for the occasion.

Hannah Verdier, The Guardian, 20th February 2018

Mum makes the mother of all returns

Poignant is a word that doesn't get used much these days, but it fits Mum (BBC Two) like a glove. In this spare, quiet sitcom, deep emotions aren't so much plumbed as plucked at in a piquant, reserved, achingly sympathetic way.

Gerard O'Donovan, The Telegraph, 20th February 2018

TV preview: Mum, BBC2

The first series of Mum found saintly Cathy (Lesley Manville) mourning the death of her husband and dealing with her, erm, colourful family. The second series starts with a marginally lighter issue. She is about to turn sixty and also has her Essex family descending on her en masse.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 18th February 2018

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