Motherland (TV series)

Motherland is a British television sitcom set in London, which examines the trials and traumas of middle-class motherhood.[4]

Written bySharon Horgan
Graham Linehan
Helen Linehan
Holly Walsh
Directed byJuliet May (8 episodes, 2017-2019)
/Graham Linehan (1 episode)[1]
StarringAnna Maxwell Martin
Lucy Punch
Diane Morgan
Paul Ready
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2 + 1 pilot[2]
No. of episodes13
Running time26-28 minutes
Production company(s)Delightful Industries
BBC Studios
DistributorLionsgate UK[3]
Original networkBBC Two
Picture format16:9 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release6 September 2016 (2016-09-06) 
present (present)
External links

A pilot episode, written by a team including Graham Linehan and Sharon Horgan, was first broadcast on BBC Two on 6 September 2016 as part of its "Sitcom Season".[5][4] It stars Anna Maxwell Martin as Julia, a stressed working mother, trying to juggle the demands of her children and her job.

The BBC subsequently ordered a full series of six episodes,[2] the first of which aired on 7 November 2017 to favourable reviews.[6][7]

The second series was released in its entirety on BBC iPlayer on 7 October 2019.


  • Anna Maxwell Martin as Julia, a working mother who realises that her organisational skills are nowhere near the level of the "Alpha Mums"
  • Lucy Punch as Amanda, the superficially polite but acerbic leader of the "Alpha Mums"
  • Diane Morgan as Liz, a chaotic and blunt-talking single mother who is unpopular with Amanda's clique
  • Paul Ready as Kevin, a stay-at-home dad who unsuccessfully tries to ingratiate himself with Amanda's circle
  • Tanya Moodie joined in series 2 as larger-than-life Meg[8]
  • Margaret Cabourn-Smith as Janet
  • Oliver Chris as Paul, Julia's uninvolved husband
  • Nick Nevern as Lee, Liz's ex
  • Phillipa Dunne as Anne, one of Amanda's friends
  • Ellie Haddington as Marion, Julia's mother, who is no longer prepared to provide a free child minding service
  • Connie Wilkins as Ivy, Julia's 9 year old daughter
  • Sonita Henry as Sunita
  • Terry Mynott as Johnny, Amanda's husband
  • Chetna Pandya as Mrs Lawson



No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.K. viewers
0"Pilot"Graham LinehanGraham Linehan, Sharon Horgan, Helen Linehan & Holly Walsh6 September 2016 (2016-09-06)1.74[9][10]

Series 1

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.K. viewers
1"The Birthday Party"Juliet MayGraham Linehan, Sharon Horgan, Helen Linehan & Holly Walsh7 November 2017 (2017-11-07)3.2[9]
Julia is an anxious middle-class mother who lives in suburban London. Despite being an events planner, she finds organising her life difficult. She raises her daughter and son with little help from her estranged husband. She is encouraged by her lazy, irresponsible friend Liz to throw a party for her daughter Ivy's ninth birthday at home in order to gain party invitations for her daughter, giving her free childcare in the future. Julia wants her mother to help organise the party, but she refuses to. Julia asks her estranged husband to help, but he is attending a football match. Julia assumes that the party will be a drop-off, so she is horrified when the mothers stay at her house for the party, making it crowded and meaning that there is insufficient food and drink for the large number of attendees. One of the children's mothers is Amanda, a narcissist who patronisingly insults Julia. Ivy is ill and stays in bed upstairs as the party takes place downstairs. Julia has hired the "Animal Man" as the entertainer: however, he arrives late, and the only animals he brings are cats – yet he expects a tip.
2"Auction of Promises"Juliet MayGraham Linehan, Sharon Horgan, Helen Linehan & Holly Walsh14 November 2017 (2017-11-14)2.3[9]
Julia meets a former colleague, Caroline, outside the gates of her children's primary school. She does not remember Julia. However, Julia is keen to impress her, so Julia becomes involved in a school fundraiser which Caroline is organising, despite Julia hating such things. Kevin becomes a "human cloakroom", wearing several coats simultaneously, causing him to become uncomfortably hot. Liz puts a great deal of alcohol in the punch.
3"The Pool Party"Juliet MayGraham Linehan, Sharon Horgan, Helen Linehan & Holly Walsh22 November 2017 (2017-11-22)1.89[9]

Julia plans to be at work for a war photographer's book launch, but turns up late with wet hair due to having attended a children's pool party. One of the fathers at the party had once asked Amanda out and she rejected him. She thinks that he will want her now, but he has forgotten about her.

A man to whom Liz is attracted accidentally leaves his wallet in a newsagents. She picks it up and arranges to meet him and return it to him, expecting he will want to date her. She is disappointed when, after she returns it to him, he instead rides off on his motorcycle.
4"The Cavalry"Juliet MayGraham Linehan, Sharon Horgan, Helen Linehan & Holly Walsh28 November 2017 (2017-11-28)1.61[9]

Paul is away on a stag do, so he sends his parents, Geoff and Elizabeth, to assist Julia. She does not want them, because their senility and deafness means that they are a burden rather than a help. Kevin tells Julia that he likes elderly people and will help her deal with them. Julia, her children, Geoff, Elizabeth and Kevin dine at a fish restaurant, where a misunderstanding leads Julia to pay for a large group's meals as well as their own. Elizabeth says that she and Geoff are moving back to London, which Julia is horrified by.

Amanda is donating some of her clothes to a cancer charity; Liz buys one of her coats.
5"The After Party"Juliet MayGraham Linehan, Sharon Horgan, Helen Linehan & Holly Walsh5 December 2017 (2017-12-05)N/A

Anne drives a people carrier which she is using for a carpool, which Julia unsuccessfully tries to join.

Liz is angry with Lee – the father of her child – for cohabiting with Debbie-Louise, only 3 weeks after she believes he started his relationship with her. Liz is puzzled at how he and Debbie-Louise manage to keep his house so clean and tidy. Liz wants to meet her.

Amanda tells Kevin that once a month, she has sex with a soldier, Bobby, who is based at Aldershot Garrison, because her husband Johnny enjoys watching her have sex with another man. An argument at a party between Liz, Julia, Anne and Amanda is ended abruptly by Kevin telling them that Amanda is having threesomes with a soldier.
6"The Caretaker"Juliet MayGraham Linehan, Sharon Horgan, Helen Linehan & Holly Walsh12 December 2017 (2017-12-12)N/A
Julia hires Lyndsey (Sarah Kendall), a well-organised Australian nanny, apparently solving her child care problems. Unfortunately, she doesn't like her. Meanwhile, Amanda is keeping a low profile following Kevin's revelation.

Series 2

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date[11]U.K. viewers
71"No Mum Left Behind"Juliet MaySharon Horgan, Holly Walsh, Helen Linehan & Barunka O'Shaughnessy7 October 2019 (2019-10-07)N/A

As a new school year begins, a new mum at the school gates attracts the attention of Julia, Liz and Kevin. Amanda has all the gossip and tells them Meg is a high-flying businesswoman with five kids and a sexy silver-fox husband.

Meanwhile, Julia is struggling to keep her head above water at work when she is offered the choice of promotion or redundancy. When Meg invites the gang for drinks, they go along against Julia’s better judgement and the evening takes a surprising turn, leading Julia to make a big decision.
82"Soft Opening"Juliet MaySharon Horgan, Holly Walsh, Helen Linehan & Barunka O'Shaughnessy14 October 2019 (2019-10-14)N/A

Having resigned from her job in PR, Julia tries to adapt to life as a freelancer and reluctantly agrees to help Amanda launch her new shop even though she believes it is nothing but a vanity project. The soft opening is a success but a careless online post threatens to destroy her good work.

Meanwhile, Liz rails against the gentrification of the area and the loss of her beloved kebab shop and Kevin reveals he has written an unusual children’s book, which he wants Amanda to sell in her shop.
93"Mother's Load"Juliet MaySharon Horgan, Holly Walsh, Helen Linehan & Barunka O'Shaughnessy21 October 2019 (2019-10-21)N/A
Julia finds that working from home is impossible due to all the tasks she has to do for her family. Meg tells her this is her 'mother’s load' - all the things that no-one else will do but that need to be done to keep the home running. Julia removes herself to the cafe to work but even there finds that it is not that easy to get her work done. A possible solution presents itself when she shares a table with a fellow freelancer, but is Julia taking advantage of him?
104"The Purge"Juliet MaySharon Horgan, Holly Walsh, Helen Linehan & Barunka O'Shaughnessy28 October 2019 (2019-10-28)N/A

Kevin reluctantly agrees to host a last-minute Halloween party despite the fact that he’s had no time to prepare. Meanwhile at the school gates the mums are all talking about a celebrity who has moved into the neighbourhood - Lee Mead from Holby.

As this is Julia’s favourite programme she is determined to meet him and decides to take all the kids trick or treating hoping that they will find his house. Liz tags along as she has been stood up by a date and Anne is in attendance trying to make sure that the kids are safe. However by the time they reach Kevin’s one of the kids is missing - Amanda’s little boy Manus. Despite the fact that the happy teatime trick or treat atmosphere has now turned violent and terrifying Liz, Kevin and Julia must venture back out into the streets to search for him through terrifying hordes of teenage zombies and mutant nuns.
115"Le Weekend"Juliet MaySharon Horgan, Holly Walsh, Helen Linehan & Barunka O'Shaughnessy4 November 2019 (2019-11-04)N/A

The gang are delighted when Kevin books a cottage for them to spend half term holidays in the countryside with all their kids. But it is not as nice as the pictures online, and Kevin seems to have miscalculated the number of bedrooms.

When it transpires that Julia has failed to bring any booze, the atmosphere takes a turn for the worse. All hopes rest on Kevin’s plan to cook an event meal by roasting a whole pig in a pit he has dug in the garden. As the long night wears on, tempers begin to fray. Meanwhile, Liz catches the eye of a handsome shepherd.
126"Good Job"Juliet MaySharon Horgan, Holly Walsh, Helen Linehan & Barunka O'Shaughnessy11 November 2019 (2019-11-11)N/A
Julia struggles to abide by the rules and clashes with Mrs Lamb as she attends her first ever school sports day. Apparently it's no longer acceptable to cheer for individual kids, and you can only offer generic support like 'good job'. Over at the Kidiverse soft play centre, Kevin is devastated that an important work presentation means he will miss the dads' race. Liz worries that her new boyfriend is blanking her. And Anne discovers something that leads to a nasty surprise for Amanda.


Series two was commissioned on 8 March 2018 to air later that year, although filming did not commence until early in 2019,[12] giving a release of later in that year. In a Guardian interview with actress Anna Maxwell Martin, published on 26 August 2018, it was stated that a third series had also been commissioned.[13]


  2. Martinson, Jane (6 October 2016). "BBC's Motherland to return as full series". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  4. "Sitcom Season: Motherland". BBC Media Centre. 17 August 2016. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
  5. "Motherland". BBC. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  6. Stevens, Christopher (8 November 2017). "Amid the rage and despair, being a parent is a laughing matter..." Mail Online. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  7. Wilson, Benji (7 November 2017). "Motherland reaches similar comedy heights to Fawlty Towers". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 November 2017.
  8. "Motherland BBC comedy – series 2 interview with Sharon Horgan". Virgin Media. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  9. "Weekly top 30 programmes - BARB".
  10. Dowell, Ben. "BBC orders a full series of middle-class mum sitcom Motherland". Radio Times. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  11. "Motherland – Listings". Next Episode. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  13. Heawood, Sophie (26 August 2018). "Anna Maxwell Martin: 'I've been bullied by other women in the industry – in fact more so than I have by men'". the Guardian.
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