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Motherland review – hellish family fun no longer seems so bad

Christmas special brings more stress for Julia and the gang, with frantic festive prep, a school nativity and Amanda’s formal party to contend with

After gleefully inflicting two series of childcare crises, playground politics and social humiliations on its middle-class mums (and Kevin), Motherland (BBC Two) knows them very well indeed. Well enough to imagine exactly what these characters, and their real-world counterparts, would be getting up to at this time of year.

Is it possible for the ever-harried Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) to endure even more stress, without combusting like a brandy-soaked pudding? It certainly is. She had turned “frazzled” into a festive art form, juggling domestic jobs, while waiting hand-and-foot on her demanding in-laws and fielding phone calls from her useless husband (“Ah, what absolute bit of tat are you going to panic-buy me this year?”). Kevin (Paul Ready) has kids who have requested a popular multiplayer video game from Santa (“Minecraft, Kevin, not ‘Mein Kraft’. It’s not German; Hitler didn’t write it.”) And like any responsible parent, he was merrily attempting to “play it all first, to make sure there’s no misogyny or casual drug references”. Liz’s (Diane Morgan) kids were with their dad this year, so she was preparing to settle into a shitmas depression, with only a pint of advocaat for company. The perma-pissed Meg (Tanya Moodie) was enjoying all the corporate drinks parties, but dreading the eventual hangover, surrounded by her picture-perfect blended family.

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