Mum star Lesley Manville: 'We have to put Cathy and Michael to bed'

Lesley Manville as Cathy in Mum
(Image credit: BBC/Big Talk Productions/Mark Jo)

Lesley Manville on saying goodbye to the mother of all roles in BBC2 comedy Mum

Will long-suffering widow Cathy (Lesley Manville) and her devoted admirer Michael (Peter Mullan) live happily ever after as Mum returns for a third and final series?

The new run of the award-winning BBC2 comedy sees the couple finally get out of Cathy’s home to join her colourfully eccentric family for a week away at a country house. But Cathy and Michael are struggling to hide their relationship, particularly from her disapproving son Jason (Sam Swainsbury). Meanwhile Jason’s lovably dim partner Kelly (Lisa McGrillis) is trying to hide a secret of her own.

Lesley Manville tells TV Times what lies ahead in the final series of Mum…

TV Times: Where do we find Cathy and Michael?

Lesley Manville: “When the series begins, you see them having a quick kiss and Michael says that she left her watch behind last night, so viewers will go, ‘Oooh!’ But it has only just happened and Cathy is worried about Jason getting wind of it. But she also wants to protect Michael, who she loves, and she has to deal with it.”

TVT: Does it feel different for them being away from home?

LM: “It’s genius to take us out of Cathy’s house because they are all fish out of water and not comfortable. But for us filming, we all thought, ‘Yes, we’re going on holiday for eight weeks!’”

Lesley Manville and Peter Mullan as Cathy and Michael in Mum

Lesley Manville and Peter Mullan as Cathy and Michael in Mum (Image credit: BBC/Big Talk Productions/Mark Jo)

TVT: Why is this the right time to end the show?

LM: “The wonderful thing about the first two series is that it has been the slowest love story in history. But we have to tie things up and put Cathy and Michael to bed - no pun intended! The way it ends, there is a feeling of life going on and that it will head somewhere else, which you could make a series about - but we won’t!”

TVT: Was it sad to say goodbye?

LM” “Oh, we’ll all miss it, this job is very dear to my heart and I get stopped in the street about Mum more than anything. As a cast too, we are all deeply in love with each other, we’re friends for life - they call me Dame Lessa! I’m never more than 10 minutes away from a WhatsApp from one of them.”

TVT: What impact has playing Cathy had on you?

LM: “I’m much less patient and far more judgemental than Cathy so it has been cathartic because it has brought out calmness. But I bring back the full Manville sarcasm once I stop playing her! Although Cathy quietly speaks out this time and I hope the audience says, ‘Yes!’ because it’s a triumphant moment.”

Mum begins on Wednesday 15 May on BBC2 at 10pm.

All six episodes of the new series of Mum will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer after the first episode has aired

Caren Clark

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.

Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.

Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.

In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.