Motherland switches to BBC One for Christmas special

Tuesday 29th November 2022, 12:00am by Jay Richardson

  • Motherland is returning for a Christmas special on BBC One
  • Julia is hosting a chaotic Christmas Day at her house, while Amanda is spending the day with Johnny and his new wife Tamara
  • Meanwhile, Meg's husband buys her a present so dire that it has her questioning whether he really knows her at all
Motherland. Image shows left to right: Kevin (Paul Ready), Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin), Liz (Diane Morgan), Anne (Philippa Dunne), Amanda (Lucy Punch), Meg (Tanya Moodie)

Motherland is returning for a Christmas special, as the BBC unveils its festive schedule.

Alongside a new episode of Inside No. 9 and Mark Gatiss' latest M.R. James Ghost Story adaptation, Count Magnus, there are also previously announced specials for Ghosts, The Cleaner and Mrs Brown's Boys on BBC One, as well as returns for Detectorists and Two Doors Down on BBC Two.

Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, Frankie Boyle's New World Order, Live At The Apollo, QI, Would I Lie To You? and Michael McIntyre's The Wheel are also getting end of year episodes. And as previously revealed on British Comedy Guide, there is a feature length-adaptation of David Walliams' Gangsta Granny Strikes Again.

In Motherland, Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) is hosting a full house for Christmas dinner, with an influx of grandparents demanding endless cups of tea, as they play with a VR headset that her husband Paul (Oliver Chris) bought "for the kids".

Julia has invited Kevin (Paul Ready) along too after learning that his alternative was dining on turkey crisps from the hotel vending machine in the company of the other divorced dads, and he excitedly offers to whip up a full-on Persian feast. Liz (Diane Morgan) also turns up when her ex cancels following a massive Christmas Eve bender, letting her down on his first ever offer to host.

Meanwhile, Amanda (Lucy Punch) is spending Christmas Day with Johnny (Terry Mynott), the kids and Johnny's new wife Tamara (Louise Delamere). Amanda's mother Felicity (Joanna Lumley) has been invited too and jumps at the chance to revel in the awkward atmosphere. The contrast with Christmas at Anne's (Philippa Dunne) house couldn't be starker; Anne is hosting her mammy (Maggie McCarthy) and the cousins - all 29 of them - and is beside herself with excitement.

And despite their enduring love, Meg's (Tanya Moodie) husband Bill (Anthony Head) buys her a present so dire that it has her questioning whether he really knows her at all. She gets stuck into the plentiful supply of booze she's bought for the day but regrets the drunken results when something really shocking happens over the road at Julia's.

The episode is written by the regular writing team of Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe, Pulling), Holly Walsh (The Other One, Henpocalypse), Helen Serafinowicz (Look Around You, Fit), and Barunka O'Shaughnessy (Timewasters, Hunderby). After three series on BBC Two, it has still to be confirmed if Motherland will return for a fourth.

The Christmas special is once again directed by Simon Hynd (Ghosts, There She Goes) and produced by Caroline Norris (The Other One, Horrible Histories) for Merman (This Way Up, Catastrophe) and TwoFour (My Funniest Year). The executive producers are Clelia Mountford, Horgan, Walsh, Serafinowicz and O'Shaughnessy and it was commissioned by Jon Petrie, controller of comedy commissioning for the BBC. The commissioning editor is Tanya Qureshi.

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