Over-worked Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin), is out-of-her-mind desperate to dump her children onto someone else so she can go to work. In the BBC's pilot episode of Motherland last year, Julia announced: 'I really want the children to be brought up like I was – by my mother'. Nothing has changed: Julia still just wants some child care, preferably that she doesn't have to pay for.
Her friend Liz (Diane Morgan, aka 'Philomela Cunk') is a spiky single mum who gives the uppity women at the school gate the same unimpressed scowl she made when accidentally chopping her fingers off. She suggests Julia throws a 'drop off' birthday party, in which parents leave their kids at her house for a few hours, in the chance of a quid pro quo.
Between the tight-lipped alpha mums and the prickly networking opportunities at the school gates, Liz and Julia find that their only other real friend is Kevin (Paul Ready), a hopeless stay-at-home dad.
Kevin goes to great, embarrassing lengths to befriend the cool mums, Liz gets drunk and makes mischief, and Julia is distracted trying to con someone, anyone, into taking her kids off her hands for a few hours. We barely ever see the kids at all.
There's no cutesy moments, no happy endings and barely any children on screen. Motherland is about the lives of over-burdened adults who just want to be selfish. Bring on the fights over caterpillar cakes and the party entertainers, this is marvellous.
|What||Motherland review, BBC Two|
07 Nov 17 – 28 Feb 18, Motherland airs at 10pm Tuesday 7 November