‘Some of the episodes are literally like a screen from [my] WhatsApp groups …’: Mothers talk about Motherland (BBC, 2017-)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whilst not denying the continued power of hegemonic ideologies of mothering, it has been suggested that we have witnessed a partial discursive shift in cultural/ media constructions of motherhood in which frustration, ambivalence and dissatisfaction play a more visible role. Extant work on this issue has either focused on digital cultures or been based on television texts - leaving the responses of television audiences unexplored. This article draws on data from 14 semi-structured interviews to examine how a sample of UK mothers discuss the hit BBC sitcom Motherland (BBC2, 2017-), considering how they negotiate the programme’s representation of motherhood in relation to their own maternal identities and experiences. We examine participants’ enthusiastic investment in the programme’s portrayal of the ‘messy reality’ of motherhood and apparent rejection of the intensive mothering paradigm, as well as the ways in which it makes visible the (still) hidden aspects of everyday motherwork. At the same time, we explore how the responses speak to the continued regulation and policing of ‘acceptable’ maternal femininity and thus the limits of shifting discourses on motherhood.
Original languageEnglish
JournalParticipations: online Journal of Audience and Reception Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Feb 2023


  • Motherhood
  • Television
  • Motherland
  • Feminism
  • Audience
  • Intensive mothering

Cite this