In conversation with Caitlin Moran: Raised By Wolves, horny teenage girls and working class telly

RadioTimes.com met the outspoken feminist on the set of her Channel 4 comedy - and she didn't disappoint

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Caitlin Moran is hungover. She’s slumped on a sofa in the bowels of a chilly studio in Salford, knocking back Nurofen and piecing together last night’s exploits.

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 “I don’t regret any of it! Although I did invent the drink wine and tonic last night. And later I invented the concept of bed wine.”

She swings her Doc Martins onto her sister’s lap. Caroline Moran is two years younger and full of regret. “I started with vodka martini,” says Caroline softly. “It was all downhill from there.”

The Morans are not supposed to be groaning and burying their faces in their scarves. Today is the last day of filming for their Channel 4 comedy Raised by Wolves and the official wrap party is later.

Caitlin and Caroline with the young stars of Raised By Wolves

Caitlin: “I like to think last night was a rehearsal. We blocked through today’s party.”

Caroline: “Perfected our performance.”

Caitlin’s name has star billing thanks to her best-selling books, but the sisters wrote the sitcom together.

Caitlin: “Caz has done the stuff that requires skill, knowledge, structure, discipline, dedication…”

Caroline: “All the good stuff, all the funny stuff, that’s me.”

Caitlin: “I’m more conceptual. I say things like: I think there should be wanking. And Caz will go: well, that’s not really three hours of well-structured television with characters and plots.

“And then at the next session I say: I think there should be a period in it. And Caz will go: thanks but that’s not going to fill three hours of well-structured television. Etc. etc. etc.”

From under her big sister’s DMs, Caroline smiles mock-wearily. Caitlin in person is exactly like she is on the page: a whirlwind of words, frank and very funny. Caroline barely gets a sentence in edgeways but is clearly used to it.

Germaine is played by Helen Monks

They first had the idea for Raised By Wolves 13 years ago and approached the BBC with a script. The response shocked them.

Caitlin: “We went to the BBC, and they said: oh, we’ve already got a sitcom with women in this year so we can’t do this.

“We were like: aha-ha-ha-ha? Because you forget – everything has changed so quickly – we’re in the world now of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Lena Dunham and Melissa McCarthy and the Broad City girls and Kristen Wiig. We know now that women can be funny and there can be lots of them.

“But it was only recently that you were still getting Martin Amis and Christopher Hitchens going women can’t be funny. So they were like: we’ve got our one female sitcom this year.

“I think it was only a pilot – it wasn’t even a series – because I remember angrily watching it on Boxing Day going ‘f*** you. So then we just put it on hiatus. I went away and wrote How to Be a Woman, mainly fuelled with feminist fury that I’d been told that you can only have one set of funny women a year.”

The heroines of Raised by Wolves, Germaine and Aretha, are based on their teenage selves. Noisy, horny Germaine is Caitlin, while Aretha is pubescent Caroline – cynical, sardonic, nose permanently buried in Noam Chomsky. 

Caitlin: “When I was growing up there was never anyone like me on telly. Teenage girls seem to be a very specific race and breed: it was all lip-gloss and going to the mall. Where are the ones that are reading books and born to be noble and love George Orwell? I never see a horny teenage girl.”

Aretha is played by Alexa Davies

Germaine and Aretha are the best of enemies who delight in rubbing each other up the wrong way. So what was it like working together all these years later?

Caitlin: “We fought like cat and dog on several issues. There was one very pivotal argument about whether [Aretha and Germaine’s mother] Della would wear pants or not. I don’t wear pants so I thought Della wouldn’t.

“Caz said no, she’s a practical woman and she wouldn’t want the potential staining on her jeans. She’d wear pants like a normal human being.

“And I was like: are you saying I’m not a normal human being because I don’t wear pants?”

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Caroline: “And I said: yes. And then I stormed out. And then I came back and then Cate stormed out. Double storm.”