When people say a sitcom is gentle they sometimes mean it’s a bit boring and forgettable.
Not the case with BBC2’s Mum – it’s slow and subtle while also being completely riveting. Not much happens and therein lies its brilliance.
Stefan Golaszewski’s series, which follows Cathy’s (Lesley Manville) tricky year after the death of her husband, is a warm, funny look at the oddness of grief – and how, surprisingly, life stutters on.
Watching Cathy plod along calmly through her sadness with a gaggle of family and friends around her has been an absolute pleasure to watch and the sitcom certainly deserves the second series it’s just been given.
I can’t wait to see a new chapter in our heroine’s (and she really is one for putting up with that lot) life where she and Michael (Peter Mullan) are together, navigating plenty more hilariously awkward, yet often touching, family moments as a duo.
Cathy’s son Jason (Sam Swainsbury) and his totally clueless girlfriend Kelly (Lisa McGrillis, my new TV crush) didn’t “go Australia” – so what will they do now? Kelly couldn’t even blow-dry her hair or eat a biscuit without causing mayhem so imagine the comic potential of them eventually having a wedding…or, dear Lord, a baby.
And we really need more of Derek (Ross Boatman) and his partner Pauline (Dorothy Atkinson), who is one of the best, most monstrous snobs I’ve seen on TV in a good while. Her awfulness might have worn thin by the end of the series if Golaszewski hadn’t cleverly shown us a hint of her vulnerability too.
But most of all, I’m excited to see a second round of Kelly’s relationship with Cathy, which was a rare portrayal of a positive, supportive bond between a daughter and mother-in-law. At first it was painfully awkward when Cathy had to lend Kelly her knickers on the day of her husband’s funeral – but then the two slowly started to understand each other. “Do you want to talk about it?” Cathy asked when Kelly revealed she’d started chatting to foxes about her problems in the dead of night.
Even when she wondered if the animals had, just maybe, understood her, Cathy didn’t judge her one bit.
I could have watched another six episodes of Mum with barely a tea-break and I know many of its admirers feel the same way. It’s exciting to think of the projects Him & Her creator Golaszewski might bring us next – but before he creates something new, I can’t wait to see more of Mum’s quiet, heart-felt brilliance.