BBC viewers blast Motherland spin-off announcement: ‘Bring it back!’

Broadcaster has announced ‘Amandaland’, a new series centred around the middle-class mum Amanda

Ellie Muir
Saturday 18 May 2024 16:39 BST
Comments
Motherland trailer

BBC viewers have blasted the broadcaster’s decision to make a Motherland spin-off, Amandaland, while seemingly cancelling the original award-winning series.

The Bafta-acclaimed comedy series Motherland, which explores the challenges faced by a group of frazzled middle-class mothers in London’s suburbs, ran for three series until 2021 and returned for a one-off Christmas special in 2022. Despite the show’s success, there has been speculation about its future as rumours mounted suggesting it has been axed indefinitely.

One of the show’s original stars, Cunk on Earth actor Diane Morgan, best known for playing the sarcastic single mum Liz in the series, said in March that the programme wasn’t returning but said that a spin-off was in the works, led by Lucy Punch’s wealthy and overbearing character, Amanda.

The BBC has now announced that spin-off, titled Amandaland, which follows the middle-class mum as she navigates her divorce from her wealthy husband and has to downsize to South Harlesden. Amanda’s mother, Felicity, is still to be played by Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley.

The BBC announced on Saturday (18 May) that the spin-off begins with Amanda’s two sons Manus and George now at secondary school. Amanda has to grapple with raising teenagers and deal with modern motherhood horrors like teenage drinking, fake Instagram accounts and eco-anxiety.

BBC viewers have been left disappointed by the spin-off announcement, as the BBC seemingly failed to address whether Motherland is cancelled indefinitely. Others criticised the broadcaster for centring the spin-off on Amanda, who some viewers have called the “least likeable character” in the series.

Anne (Phillippa Dunne), Amanda (Lucy Punch) and Felicity (Joanna Lumley) are the only cast members confirmed for the spin-off so far
Anne (Phillippa Dunne), Amanda (Lucy Punch) and Felicity (Joanna Lumley) are the only cast members confirmed for the spin-off so far (BBC)

Sharing the BBC’s new announcement on X/Twitter, one viewer branded the decision a “strange move” while another said: “Just bring back Motherland!”

Another said: “But why make a series about the least interesting character in Motherland?”

“Bit off-putting making Amanda the focal point. I will lose interest if she is the purpose of the series and Joanna Lumley [sic],” added another viewer.

Others speculated that the decision to make a spin-off series may have resulted from scheduling conflicts, or the fact that other actors did not want to continue with a fourth series. The BBC declined to comment.

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
The original ‘Motherland’ cast
The original ‘Motherland’ cast (BBC/Merman/Scott Kershaw)

One viewer speculated: “I LOVE amanda’s character, and I do think this will be really interesting to see! However, it’s clear that either the other cast didn’t want to return or the production team wanted to find a cheaper way to remake :( such a shame that it got cancelled it’s one of my faves ever.”

Another disappointed viewer hit out at the BBC’s renewal of critically maligned shows that continue to dominate the broadcaster’s prime-time programming: “Cancelled Motherland but keep making Mrs Brown’s [Boys] and Not Going Out…”

Meanwhile, others were more positive about the announcement: “Will definitely give it a whirl but still grieving for the loss of Motherland!”

Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) and Liz (Diane Morgan) as dishevelled, overworked mums in ‘Motherland’
Julia (Anna Maxwell Martin) and Liz (Diane Morgan) as dishevelled, overworked mums in ‘Motherland’ (BBC/Merman)

The BBC said in its announcement that Phillippa Dunne, who plays Amanda’s minion, Anne, will join Lumley and Punch in the new series, and it will centre around the trio more generally.

After a brief spell of freedom from Amanda’s reign, Anne is sucked back into being her full-time helper as she assists her in navigating the social scene with the other parents at the children’s new school.

It is unconfirmed whether the show’s original stars, including Bleak House actor Anna Maxwell Martin, who plays Julia, Bodyguard star Paul Ready, who plays the stay-at-home dad Kevin, Tanya Moodie, who plays Meg, and Morgan, will be involved in the spin-off.

The BBC says a full casting announcement will follow soon.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in