Mum - BBC's jewel of a sitcom is an affectionate portrait of an everymum

It was Mother's Day last week, as I'm sure you were aware. I'm also sure you honoured the mothers in your lives. And no, a few wilted carnations and box of Roses from Tesco Express is not an honour.
Lesley Manville and Peter Mullan in the brilliant MumLesley Manville and Peter Mullan in the brilliant Mum
Lesley Manville and Peter Mullan in the brilliant Mum

If you need reminding why your mum needed honouring, watch Mum (BBC2, Wednesdays, 10pm).

Lesley Manville is Cathy, the widowed mum of the title. She is the still centre around which the other characters gather. Each episode is set in a different month, as the series goes through a year in the life of the family.

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Cathy only has one child, son Jason, but she is mum to many more. There’s Jason’s perky-but-dim girlfriend Kelly, her late husband’s brother Derek and his terrifically snobbish partner Pauline, and her cantankerous in-laws. And then there’s Michael (Peter Mullan). Michael is a widower, an old friend of Cathy and her late husband Dave.

We’re now midway through the second series, and although we viewers know Michael is totally smitten with Cathy, he is too timid to do anything about it.

Their relationship is beautifully underplayed – last week it took them 30 minutes to decide to go on a trip to the garden centre.

It’s not laugh-out-loud funny – it’s not supposed to be – although there was a guffaw when Pauline got her garden furniture-related comeuppance. And there are moments to stop the heart – Karl Johnson, as Cathy’s father-in-law, deserves all the awards just for 20 seconds in last week’s episode, in which he didn’t even speak.

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This week, it was Peter Mullan's turn in the spotlight. It's strange that a sitcom can make you cry, and still work brilliantly as comedy, but I think writer Stefan Golaszewski holds firmly to the truism that if you don't laugh, you cry.

But it is a bittersweet, charming and affectionate look at an Everymum – a mum like yours, and mine.

So go round to your mum’s, make her a cup of tea, and watch it with her. That’s the best gift.