Laugh and squirm to one of best sit­coms for 10 years

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - SQUARE EYES -

If you are a par­ent who has ever felt that hav­ing kids who are at school is a bit like be­ing back at school your­self, I can­not rec­om­mend BBC2’S Mother­land highly enough.

Even if you are not a par­ent, you should still give this sit­com a go. It’s one of the best TV come­dies I’ve seen in the past 10 years.

That should not be a mas­sive sur­prise given it was cre­ated by Sharon Hor­gan (Catas­tro­phe, Di­vorce, Pulling) and Gra­ham Line­han (Fa­ther Ted, The IT Crowd, Black Books) along­side Line­han’s wife He­len and ris­ing com­edy star Holly Walsh. As Hor­gan has al­ready proved with Catas­tro­phe, the school gates pro­vide huge op­por­tu­ni­ties for laughs and bit­ing so­cial comment.

Mother­land also adds a layer of knuckle-chew­ing awk­ward­ness which you have to sus­pect comes from the Line­han side of the ta­ble.

The bravest thing about it, how­ever, is the left-field cast­ing – and it works a treat. Ac­tors who have mainly been known for gritty roles in the past such as Anna Maxwell Martin (Poppy Shake­speare, Bleak House, Reg) and Paul Ready (Utopia, Cuffs) slot in seam­lessly along­side the likes of Diane Mor­gan (David Brent: Life On The Road, Char­lie Brooker’s Screen­wipe), who in­jects just enough – but never too much – Philom­ena Cunk into the role of Liz.

For me, Liz is eas­ily Mother­land’s best char­ac­ter. Her ap­proach to a par­ents’ fundraiser last night was to spike the punch and sab­o­tage the live auc­tion.

I think most par­ents would agree ev­ery school fundrais­ing night needs some­one like Liz.

IAN HYLAND on last night’s telly

SCHOOL RUN Mother­land may­hem

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