Motherland Christmas special review – you’ll laugh, gasp in shock … then punch the air
This parenting sitcom’s gift for gleefully inappropriate humour runs amok in its festive special – which features an event that flips the regular Christmas Day tribulations on their head
Sometimes after a hard day’s parenting – or a hard year’s parenting – it’s difficult to know whether a parenting sitcom is really what you want to watch. From Outnumbered to Breeders and, back now for a Christmas special, Motherland (BBC One), they do tend towards bleakness. Are you worried that you won’t ever find a reward in the endless cycle of rushed breakfasts, lost consent forms, botched childcare arrangements, pointless parents’ evenings, compromised marriages and unhelpful grandparents? Sometimes Motherland feels like it’s saying: you never will, so let’s mirthlessly chuckle at how thankless the task is – and always will be.
In the new episode, once the Christmas preamble is out of the way – which in Motherland means acerbically ticking off regular trials and new trends, like the expectation that a term’s worth of primary-school work will be taken home and cherished, or the sudden preponderance of cargo bikes – we settle in for what looks like a typically horrendous 25 December with Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin). As well as continuing her fractious relationship with her own mother (Ellie Haddington), whose gift she has ended up shopping for online on the day itself, she must deal with the inane wanderings of her ludicrously self-absorbed husband (Oliver Chris), who is constructing a plunge pool in the garden, and his parents, who are farting in the lounge.