TV Review: Motherland, BBC2

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.

Well, not that many new changes as it turns out. Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) is still stressing for England, although by the end of the episode she has decided to quit her high pressure job. Though somehow I suspect she will still be as stressed as ever. House husband Kevin (Paul Ready) is as wet as ever. And cheese-freezing Liz (Diane Morgan) still has the best lines, all weary cynicism and old-school realism about the modern world: "Life’s too short to dick about with aubergines”.

The big change in the first episode is the arrival at the school gates of high-flying have-it-all-and-have-it-large new mum Meg (Tanya Moodie), who seems to be even more of an alpha female than Amanda (Lucy Punch). Meg quickly forms an ad hoc anti-Amanda rival alliance with Julia, Liz and Kevin and when they pop round in the evening for one drink, they pretty much end up re-enacting Micky Flanagan's Out Out routine, with them all ending up in an alcohol-fuelled haze of vomit and public pissing outside a club in the middle of the night. And on a school night as well. "She’s ‘work hard, play hard’. I’m more ‘work hard, watch Poldark hard’,” concluded Julia of Meg.

It's something of a tour de force performance from Moodie, who is probably better known to date for her dramatic roles. The series is written by Sharon Horgan, Holly Walsh, Helen Linehan and Barunka O’Shaughnessy (no Graham Linehan this time round). While the other main characters are more subtle by comparison she dominates proceedings. It'll be interesting to see whether she stays central to the storyline or thers get more of a look-in. I'm not sure if she could keep this performance up. And I'm not sure if I could watch it every week week. But it certainly kick-starts the new series in style. 

Motherland, BBC2, Mondays, 10pm. 

Picture: BBC/Merman/Colin Hutton

Pictured: Anne (Philippa Dunne), Amanda (Lucy Punch), Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin), Liz (Diane Morgan), Kevin (Paul Ready), Meg (Tanya Moodie)


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