‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly Until Murphy’s Law Takes Hold
Sitcom Christmas Specials seldom live up to expectations for comedy content but, somehow, it’s comforting to see those characters in whose company you have come to feel comforted, coming together to enjoy the festivities.
Motherland: Last Christmas is no exception. A sitcom that should figure on everyone’s top ten list, maybe didn’t quite hit the mark this time but, nevertheless, had some great moments for regular fans. A well conceived portrayal of Christmas for so many families. A mix of fun, laughter, frustration, turmoil and sadness.
A cracking scene at the school gates familiar to most parents is followed by the last minute queue at the butchers watching Meg struggling to manoeuvre her heavily ladened cargo bike – are they really a thing outside of West London?
And so the big day is here. The best laid plans of mice and men and Liz (Diane Morgan) of course go awry thanks to her fallible ex; Amanda (Lucy Punch) tries to deal with the ignominy of lunch with her ex-husband, new partner and her own acerbically critical mother (Joanna Lumley) who has been invited to his home to see the grandchildren. Amanda gets some unpalatable news causing her to storm out of the house and take to the road.
The hapless Kevin (Paul Ready), resigned to spend the day in the company of other divorced dads at a hotel, is instead invited to the ever-pressed Julia’s (Anna Maxwell Martin) family gathering provided he relieves her of the cooking duties. With Julia’s self-obsessed husband, his self-centered parents and her mother also sharing the crowded house, Murphy’s Law takes hold.
Across the road, Meg (Tanya Moore) and husband Bill (Tony Head), who have the only relatively stable marriage in the whole group, have bought each other expensive gifts for which they secretly hope they have each kept the receipts. Tanya, having recovered from cancer in the previous episodes copes by swigging a whole bottle of Irish cream liqueur.
Inevitably things go from bad to worse at Julia’s as Kevin struggles with the cooking; the in-laws become more flatulent; her husband stays in the garden testing his self-built cryogenic pool and Liz turns up with her two kids to add to the chaos.
Amanda returns to her ex’s house to collect the children and makes a joyous assertive stand before later turning up at Anne’s (Philippa Dunn) crowded family gathering.
A real turn of events brings Motherland Last Christmas to a close but we hope not the series.