Raised By Wolves series two begins this Wednesday 2 March at 10pm on Channel 4. Creators Caz and Caitlin Moran grew up in a family of ten – but how similar is the show to their own lives? We asked both of them to go back to the very beginning…
Caitlin (circled, left) and Caz with their parents and five of their siblings
Caz, 38, ‘the funny one’
Caitlin was destined for greatness. She was always a leader of men; she always had a crazy idea. She is the eldest of eight siblings, so I guess she had to be. She’s three years older than me, and felt quite annoyed that another child had turned up when I was born, and then obviously another, and another…
We had to slim it down to six for the show because we thought, “Eight? That’s crazy, no way could there be eight children in a family.” And so we got rid of two. In real life there’s Caitlin, me (Caroline), Claire, Corinne and Cheryl. All the girls are Cs. And there’s three boys called John, James and Joe. They’re all Js. I don’t know quite what our parents were thinking.
Caitlin took it upon herself to make us her gang. We’re lucky that she’s stayed on the side of righteousness, because if she’d turned evil… She did once create this makeshift altar in the back garden and called it God’s Corner. We’d take offerings of flowers and Caitlin called herself the Grand High Priest of God’s Corner. That became a bit like a cult…
We were weird children. Because we were home-schooled, we rarely ventured beyond our house and garden. My overriding memory of our childhood is watching Bottom on television, over and over again. So we had little to do except contact our inner spirituality through cults.
Although, I was probably cult-proof by that point. I started off being quite amenable, until I reached adolescence and realised I didn’t want to play any more. I wanted to be alone. And I couldn’t be alone. So I was very depressed as a teenager, which really irritated Caitlin because she wanted someone to talk to.
When I was 14 I realised I wouldn’t get any qualifications if I continued to be educated at home, so I went to an adult education college and then went off to university when I was 18.
I went to Manchester because it’s where Rik Mayall had gone to university, and I thought going there would mean that I would meet him, or become him. I just fell in love with the city – having friends, having my own bedroom…
Did I miss Caitlin? Errr… not really! She’d buggered off a couple of years before, when she moved to London on her 18th birthday. She was having her exciting London life, while I was still stuck at home. I was undoubtedly, not resentful, that’s not the right word, but… it was difficult to see. She’d moved out, had her own space, had money, and a job, and it was like, “Oh, man, why can’t I have those things?” I was grudgingly admiring of her, although there was no way that I showed it.
We both work in very different ways: I like to have music on, Caitlin can’t. She likes to stride around and talk, I don’t. So we realised we work better together over Skype. Although I insist she doesn’t have her camera on all the time because she likes to walk around in just her pants, and sometimes takes the computer into the loo when she goes for a tinkle.
We do argue a lot! The last argument we had was about Raised by Wolves and whether Della, our “mum” on the show, wears underwear. That became huge. Our real mum isn’t actually much like Della at all. She’s kind of a dream character based on how me and Caitlin would like to be.
Caitlin insists Della doesn’t wear pants. I’d insist that she does, because pants are sensible. In the end, we both stormed out and decided not to talk about it any more. But it will come up again and really I can’t wait because Caitlin is great to argue with. Both of us just will not give in. The stubbornness of siblings!
Caitlin, 40 — “The Big Sister”
A pivotal moment for me was when I was four. I was funny – because children are funny when they’re four – and everyone thought I was delightful. Every night after my bath I’d go downstairs in my nightie and I’d just be really funny for ten minutes and scoop up some attention from my parents. Then one day I was halfway through my little stand-up routine in the front room, when Caz came up behind me and started taking the piss. And then she stepped forward and took over my routine.
I can remember mournfully knowing that was it. Until then all the attention had been on me. She was the funny one now. As soon as she could speak she was funnier than me and I absolutely worshipped her. I wanted to be with her all the time, I wanted her to be my best friend, and she didn’t want to be anywhere near me. I’d go into her room and she would climb out of the window to get away from me.
So I decided to start talking and just didn’t stop. If I was silent and she was allowed to speak, she would be funnier. And I started writing. I was 14 and realised she was going to give me no attention at all so I started writing my thoughts instead – I wrote a novel – and then I started working for Melody Maker when I was 16, and then I moved to London at 18.
On a drunken night out years later Caz and I decided that we were going to engage in a project called the Genius Project. I didn’t know what the Genius Project was, but I knew that it would be genius. I fell into a skip on the way home that night. Three days later I found out I was pregnant, so that kind of halted that.
That project became Raised by Wolves. Writing the first series was quite tricky. We would meet in a Starbucks in Crouch End, because Simon Pegg used to work there and we felt we could absorb his vibes. I met him at Jonathan Ross’s birthday party last year and started telling him this story and he looked really scared and backed away, which was richly ironic, given he was dressed as Hannibal Lecter.
We realised for series two that the best way for it to work was through Skype. She’ll always start every Skype session with, “Are you on the toilet?”
We work together well because we’re both politically and socially motivated. We were raised by culture – we didn’t go to school, we didn’t have any friends, so TV, films, books and magazines formed our entire world view, as they do for many people, so it’s important that there’s a proper representation in there, and that everybody gets to feel normal. There was no one who looks like me or Caz on TV until we made this show, and if I was of colour or had a disability or a different sexuality I just wouldn’t even bother turning on the television, because you feel invisible.
The lack of working-class people in culture at the moment is notable. And when they are represented… Take Benefits Street. It’s the only time I’ve seen people on benefits on television, but you didn’t get to hear them talking about their ideas on philosophy or politics, you didn’t get to see them being joyful – it was simply about surviving, and that made them look like animals. It didn’t show them as human beings, so that’s what we wanted to do with Raised by Wolves.
We’re currently having an argument about whether the Raised by Wolves mum Della would wear pants or not. I gave up on them years ago as I’ve not yet found a pair that doesn’t disappear up my arse. Our disagreement is really quite vicious. It’s like when Caz objected to me making up my own religion. I decorated the washing line so it looked like a shrine. Every religion needs someone in charge, so as the eldest, I appointed myself the conduit to God. And then I’d get the kids to confess their sins to me. Five-year-olds haven’t really sinned, so it would be things like “I stole a fish finger”, but I would then use their confessions to blackmail them. I think there, at the age of nine, I grasped the concept of most organised religions.
The younger children would play along, but Caz, as always, blocked my genius plan. Such a sour woman – she’s never let my freak flag fly.