Motherland

Some series take a while to get into their stride. I wasn’t sure about Motherland at first but it’s really grown on me, especially now series 2 is up. Motherland is about a group of delinquent mothers plus one stay-at-home dad and their struggles with a rival group of yummy-mummies, not to mention the bureaucracy of the school and the demands of their respective jobs. Anna Maxwell Martin, fresh from being the smug boss in Line of Duty, plays a Julia, a harrassed mum who is always late, always rushing, always dropping her kids off at school with the wrong shoes or without their swimming gear, and with the most selfish husband imaginable. In series 2 she refuses a promotion on the grounds that she’d be doing three people’s jobs instead of one, and sets up on her own as a ‘mumpreneur’. At the same time yummy mummy Amanda (Lucy Punch) has set up a ‘store’ (‘it’s not a shop’) selling the kind of overpriced tat Fran used to sell in Black Books, and an online campaign starts against the ‘yummy-mummification’ (great phrase) of the high street. It’s full of surprises and of course you’re always rooting for the delinquent parents against the yummy-mummies.

One of the reasons I like Motherland is that it’s anti-aspirational. These are not bad parents; they do genuinely care about their kids but they’re running a race they can’t particularly be bothered to win. What’s not so good is that I’m feeling the same way about the Labour Party at the moment. Do they really care about winning or are they just content to sit about in opposition and bleat a bit at odd moments? The polls for today’s elections make depressing reading and I’m going to have to force myself to go out and vote because I really don’t have much enthusiasm for it right now.

*Sigh*

Yesterday was the 200th anniversary of the establishment of The Guardian. In true self-deprecating style they didn’t make a huge fanfare about it but they did release a special inset including articles from key moments in the past such as C P Scott’s 100th anniversary editorial which includes the phrase ‘Comment is free; facts are sacred.’ There was also a facsimile of the very first edition on May 5th 1821 with adverts on the front as was the case with all papers then. So that was interesting.

Kirk out

Line of Duty. Warning – Contains Spoilers

After all that! After all the expectation, after all the hype and the trailers and the podcasts, after all that had gone before, the twists and turns, the misdirection – I was expecting a huge, multiply-orgasmic explosion of revelations, gasp after gasp, plot twist after plot twist, from the final episode of Line of Duty. Instead what we got was a damp squib. To find out, after all this time, H – or the fourth man – wasn’t some criminal mastermind posing as a respectable senior officer, wasn’t the Chief Superintendent or the smug woman who took over from Hastings – wasn’t, in fact, Hastings himself (Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the wee donkey, but that woulda been a twist!) but was in fact sad incompetent little Ian Buckles who was being used as the fall guy, was a bit of a let-down. His interview was a series of shrugs and ‘no comments’ – there were no major reveals, no car-chases or shoot-outs, nothing in fact resembling a climax. It was as if the curtain rose on a pile of charred embers and at the end of it all we were told that systematic corruption within the force was never pursued and hence never discovered. I was disappointed; I’d looked forward to it for so long and after all the build-up it was a real anticlimax.

Ah well. Onwards and upwards… life without Line of Duty was always going to be that little bit harder and I suppose the ending made it easier to bear. But that doesn’t prevent it from having been one of the best TV dramas in – well, probably ever; in this day and age, a programme that makes you concentrate every second in case you miss something vital is a rare gem. There’s too much ‘wallpaper TV’ – and I’m not talking about the Prime Minister’s apartment. What I particularly hate are the programmes which give you two minutes of clips showing you what the programme’s about when a single sentence would do; not to mention those which tell you what’s going to happen next time which thankfully Line of Duty never did. It had too much respect for itself.

When that landmark was passed, I watched the rest of Philomena, a great film based on the scandal of the Irish church selling the babies of ‘fallen’ women. Martin Sixsmith, played by Steve Coogan and introduced by Philomena everywhere as ‘Martin Sixsmith, News at Ten’, helps Philomena (Judi Dench) to find her lost son who was taken from her by the nuns and sold to American parents. It’s a shocking story, most of all because of the cruelty and hypocrisy of the nuns who could have reunited mother and son but lied and covered up the truth until it was too late. And after that I sat through a harrowing play about child abuse during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and even though I put on an episode of Motherland afterwards to take the taste away (this series has grown on me and now I love it) but the trauma stayed with me when I went to bed.

I’d had plans to go for a walk yesterday – the day before I discovered a beautiful bluebell wood – but those plans were scuppered by the weather so in the end I just went to Sainsbury’s and stocked up. In the rain.

Kirk out