Mothers of the Fatherland “hate hanging out with children and avoid scenes with them”
Cinema legend WC Fields felt you should never work with animals or children – and comedy actress Diane Morgan took some of this advice to heart.
But there was a slight problem for Diane. The kids came up with the territory when she played Liz, a stressed out, upbeat mom on the hit sitcom Motherland.
She and her co-star Anna Maxwell Martin, who was the show’s long-suffering Julia, even tried to deflect scenes with children.
Diane, 45, said: “Anna and I are always trying to find ways to avoid scenes with children.”
Laughing, Diane added, “I never wanted kids for a split second.
“The pain, the expense, the hassle… I don’t see any benefit.
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“Then I work on Motherland and I feel justified. People say, “Yeah, but who will take care of you in your old age?” »What? Do you only have children to take care of you? “
Anna, 44, an off-screen mom of two, who grabbed the nation as icy DCI Patricia Carmichael in Line of Duty, doesn’t get the best reception from her own daughters.
She said, “My kids hate Julia. They absolutely hate the homeland. They won’t look at it. It’s no fun for them.
“They hate to see me like this; see me who stressed out.
“They are the center of my life. More than anything. It’s me and my daughters. I mean, if not, what’s the point?
It is clear that Anna’s daughters are in the minority on the show.
Motherland’s honest and hilarious image of the hardships and trauma of middle-class motherhood in a leafy London suburb has won much praise.
This clever comedy, which pokes fun at harassed women rushing from play date to bake sale while trying to juggle career, house, and husband, is now at the end of its third series.
Snob Amanda (Lucy Punch), Wimpy Daddy Kevin (Paul Ready) and Outrageous Meg (Tanya Moodie) help Julia and Liz – a working-class single mom who doesn’t care about costumes on the Day. world of the book – to laugh.
Every parent who works or stays at home will recognize someone in the cast as being exactly like someone they know – and hate – from the gates of school.
For Diane, Motherland is the latest in a long line of success – from playing Philomena Cunk without a gormless to Sad Kath in Ricky Gervais’ After Life and Mandy in the 2019 comedy of the same name.
Anna also spread beyond the homeland with a memorable role in The Personal History of David Copperfield by Armando Iannucci, a modern take on the classic Charles Dickens novel.
Tanya, as the top-flight Meg, is Motherland’s newest recruit, created by Sharon Horgan and Graham Linehan.
She revealed how in her late teens she was as wild as her character and experimented with LSD and mushrooms.
She said she even had an open discussion with her daughter about taking hallucinogens.
Speaking to The Scummy Mummies podcast, she said, “Now I was Meg until I was 18. When I was in there, my thing was … I really liked psychedelics. Mushrooms. LSD.
“It was at the time. If my child hears that! In fact, we had this conversation.
“We watched something about psychedelics and we had a very frank conversation about all of these things.”
On another occasion, she spent a crazy night with her partner in Amsterdam.
She said: “A friend of mine is Dutch and she said, ‘Now listen Tanya, if you want to make an edible, don’t eat the whole cake because it’s so strong.’
“Anyway, I ended up eating the whole damn thing, he fell asleep and I lay awake watching Dutch TV in my face.”
Tanya, who previously appeared in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, was the first black character to be introduced to the cast after two predominantly white casting rounds.
And she said she was elated when a producer acknowledged the lack of diversity on the show.
When asked what she thought of the initial lack of diversity, she said, “The actor in terms of influence in these jobs is the lowest.
“You get the role and you follow the orders. It’s the concert, I’m not complaining.
“But I had these questions in me. When I watched the first series I was like it was the perfect combination of characters, why the hell would they fix something that wasn’t broken?
“I was so scared that they would let me in and I was going to ruin everything. All I could do was trust them because they are all very high caliber writers.
“However, there was a question and answer session and someone asked that question.
“And one of the writers said that we looked at the show back and thought it wasn’t representative of the London demographics and we were ashamed of ourselves. So when I heard her say I was like, ‘oh yeah that’s nice.’ So I was happy with that. “
Tanya, who is a highly acclaimed stage actress, studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, where she is now an associate teacher and a board member.
She said: “I am from Canada, I am not from here, I come from a strange middle class background, I went to a strange French convent for schools. If I really want to make a friend, I force myself on them.
The BBC has yet to confirm whether Motherland will return for a fourth series.
But after exploring a number of series three big storylines – such as Meg’s cancer diagnosis, Kevin and Amanda’s unlikely but passionate romance, getting ready for high school – we’d be surprised (and disappointed) if BBC Two wasn’t bringing back the scrummy, creepy mummies for more seriously funny adventures.