Motherland BBC2, 10pm


SLUMMY mummies of the world, unite around your tellies for the return of Motherland, the comedy that says it is OK to KO notions of perfect parenting and embrace being a stress-addled, bone-tired wreck instead.

The comeback is not before time. Had writers Sharon Horgan, Holly Walsh and Helen Linehan left it any longer some of their devotees might have started to bake cakes and other madness.

At the heart of Motherland is the school gate gang of Julia, a working mother of two (Anna Maxwell Martin); Liz, single mum and northerner decamped to London (Diane Morgan, aka Philomena Cunk); and househusband Kevin (Paul Ready) who is terrified of everything, particularly the disapproval of yummy mummies.

HeraldScotland: Sharon Horgan: Phoebe Waller Bridges before there was PWBSharon Horgan: Phoebe Waller Bridges before there was PWB

The second series begins with Julia sprinting to the shops with her children to buy shoes for the new term. Julia is forever running everywhere but never catching up.

So when new face Meg (Tanya Moodie) arrives at the school gates with her high-flying job, five children, great marriage, etc., Julia naturally hates her.

One of the joys of Motherland is that it exposes the notion of a sisterhood for the crock of dirty nappies it is. This is parenting as a competitive sport.

At work Julia is offered the chance to do three people’s jobs for only a fraction more money. She knows it will mean even more stress but she is worried about being in career no-man’s land.

“You know why they call it no man’s land?” she asks Liz. “Because no man is there. It’s all women. All the men have been promoted.”

Read more reviews by Alison Rowat: Fosse/Verdon, Who Do You Think You Are? This Way Up 

While Motherland is set in a particular London milieu, this is the world of the middle-class parent in many a town and city. Think Abigail’s Party meets Desperate Housewives with a Waitrose at the end of the street.

Horgan, the writer of Catastrophe, Divorce, and Pulling, was Phoebe WallerBridge before there was a PWB. As such, Motherland is stuffed with sharp and genuinely funny writing. It is no slouch at the physical comedy game either, and like all good sitcoms, when need demands it serious points are made.

The scene where Anna Maxwell Martin, last seen in Line of Duty, sits in front of the boss wrestling with whether she wants to accept the new job will be recognisable to many a parent. Sometimes the parenting game is no laughing matter. Mercifully, Motherland always is.