Motherland: Last Christmas — air date, stars, trailer, cast and all we know about the 2022 festive special

Motherland: Last Christmas main cast in festive posed shot.
Motherland: The Last Christmas promises to be a cracker. (Image credit: BBC/Merman/Natalie Seery)

Motherland: Last Christmas is new for 2022 and promises to be one of this year's Christmas TV highlights. 

The festive special sees the return of the dynamic group of mums (and Kevin) for a jolly good knees up, but could it spell the end of the BAFTA-winning comedy that uniquely captures the chaos of motherhood?

From new images and a trailer to cast and plot reveals, here’s everything we know about the seasonal special…

Motherland: Last Christmas release date 

Motherland: Last Christmas airs on BBC One on Friday, December 23 2022 at 9.30 pm. It will also be available to watch afterward on BBC iPlayer. 

For other festive shows on this year, take a look at our bumper UK Christmas TV Guide. 

Motherland: Last Christmas characters, cast and guest stars

The entire main cast has returned for this year’s Christmas special. 

Anna Maxwell Martin (Line of Duty, A Spy Among Friends) is front and center as Julia, who uncharacteristically offers to host Christmas at hers. Naturally, this means newly divorced Kevin, played by Paul Ready (Ripper Street, The Terror) is on cooking duty!

Frazzled Kevin is on cooking duty in Motherland.

Has Kevin bitten off more than he can chew after promising to cook a festive feast? (Image credit: BBC/Merman/Natalie Seery)

Also invited to the festive feast is unlucky-in-love Liz (Diane Morgan, Frayed, After Life), while Meg (Tanya Moodie A Discovery of Witches, The Man Who Fell to Earth) joins them to escape her husband Bill (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Merlin star Anthony Head).

Meg and Liz seek solace at Julia's this Christmas

Meg and Liz seek solace at Julia's. (Image credit: BBC/Merman/Natalie Seery)

Lucy Punch (Doc Martin, Bloods) returns as snobby Amanda and is playing unhappy families with her children, ex-husband Johnny (The Mimic’s Terry Mynott) and his new wife Tamara (Holby City and No Angels’ Louise Delamere, who is making her Motherland debut). The heat is turned up when Amanda's mum Felicity (Absolutely Fabulous returning guest star Joanna Lumley) also makes an appearance.

Johnny and Amanda playing happy families

Cracking a smile, but will it last? (Image credit: BBC/Merman/Natalie Seery)

Meanwhile, Anne (Derry Girls Philippa Dunne) is planning a traditional celebration and her house is crammed to the rafters with 29 cousins and, of course, her beloved Mammy (returning guest star Maggie McCarthy from Berkeley Square).

Also central to the Christmas special are Ellie Haddington (Coronation Street, Guilt), who stars as Julia’s mum Marion and Oliver Chris (Trying, Green Wing), who plays Julia’s hubby Paul.

Anna excitedly looking out the window

'Tis the season and Anne (Motherland's very own Buddy the Elf) is in good spirits. (Image credit: BBC/Merman/Natalie Seery)

Motherland: Last Christmas — plot highlights 

The BBC has revealed that chaos reigns in the 2022 Motherland Christmas special:

“It’s a full house at Julia’s with an influx of grandparents demanding endless cups of tea, as they play with a VR headset Paul bought ‘for the kids’. 

“Julia has invited Kevin along too after learning that his alternative was dining on turkey crisps from the hotel vending machine in the company of the other divorced dads. 

“Kevin excitedly offers to whip up a full-on Persian feast. Liz also turns up when her ex cancels following a massive Christmas Eve bender, letting her down on his first ever offer to host."

Anna Maxwell Martin heads the cast as Julia.

Mum's the word. With Kevin on cooking duties, Julia gets comfy. (Image credit: BBC/Merman/Natalie Seery)

“Meanwhile, Amanda is spending Christmas Day with Johnny, the kids and Johnny’s new wife Tamara . Which is fine. Really fine. It’s fine. Amanda’s mother Felicity has been invited too and jumps at the chance to revel in the awkward atmosphere.

“The contrast with Christmas at Anne’s house couldn’t be starker; Anne is hosting her mammy and the cousins — all 29 of them — and is beside herself with excitement.

“Despite their enduring love-match, Meg’s husband Bill buys her a present so dire that it has her questioning whether he really knows her at all. She gets stuck into the plentiful supply of booze she’s bought for the day but regrets the drunken results when something really shocking happens over the road at Julia’s…”

Fingers crossed for further fall out from Amanda and Kevin’s drunken bunk-up in series 3!

Joanna Lumley made her Motherland debut in Series 3 Episode 3.

Joanna Lumley made her Motherland debut in Series 3 Episode 3. (Image credit: BBC/Merman/Scott Kershaw)

Is there a trailer for Motherland: Last Christmas?

Yes — and it's everything you are hoping for and more! 

It's only a short little teaser, but the trailer sees Julia worrying about what to get her mother for Christmas, while Kevin offers gifting ideas, claiming being 'good' at Christmas is one of his specialties along with changing duvets and cooking rice! Even though the trailer is less than 30 seconds long, we already know this is going to be a GREAT episode! 

Given that it’s called Motherland: Last Christmas, does this festive special mark the end of the comedy series?

The title of Motherland’s 2022 Christmas special raises an eyebrow. As of yet, there has been no announcement for Motherland season 4. As soon as we know more we will update this section faster than the mums of Motherland can open a bottle of Prosecco. 

Paul Ready, Diane Morgan and Tanya Moodie on the Christmas special and the enduring appeal of Motherland

Diane Morgan: “We all have a disastrous Christmas in one way or another. For Liz she is meant to be going to visit her ex Lee with the kids but that all falls through when he gets drunk on a train and she ends up at Julia’s as does Kevin. 

Paul Ready: “Kevin is looking forward to a really bad Christmas on his own in a hotel where he is living while he sorts through his divorce. So Julia pulls him out of that situation by inviting him round to hers. In true Kevin style, he offers to cook.”

Diane: “He really gets on with Julia’s parents. It’s really sweet.”

Meg is unimpressed when Bill gifts her a green hat

Hat's off to Motherland's Christmas special.  (Image credit: BBC/Merman/Natalie Seery)

Tanya Moodie: "We get to see everyone getting ready for their Christmas celebrations. Julia’s got a full house with both Kevin and Liz over and Meg isn’t best pleased with the present Bill’s got for her!”

“The humor and dynamic of the core friendship group are so relatable to real-life adult friendships. I have so many friends convinced that I based Meg on them.”

Diane: “I think that Motherland was really needed. From what I hear from mums who run up to me in the street, they sound really grateful that there is a show that represents them and the people that they meet at the school gates. I think a lot of women have felt quite isolated as a mum. And it's funny — we've got all these characters and we see them and this could be you. You could laugh about it.

"Motherland is really comforting I hope.”

Motherland: Last Christmas — what else do we know?

Motherland: Last Christmas is written by Sharon Horgan, Holly Walsh, Helen Serafinowicz and Barunka O'Shaughnessy. The festive special is directed by Simon Hynd and produced by Caroline Norris. Motherland is a Merman Television Ltd production. 

Elaine Reilly
Writer for TV Times, What’s On TV, TV & Satellite Week and What To Watch

With twenty years of experience as an entertainment journalist, Elaine writes for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and (opens in new tab)www.whattowatch.com (opens in new tab) covering a variety of programs from gardening and wildlife to documentaries and drama.

 

As well as active involvement in the WTW family’s social media accounts, she has been known to get chatty on the red carpet and wander into the odd podcast. 


After a day of previewing TV, writing about TV and interviewing TV stars, Elaine likes nothing than to relax… by watching TV.