Mother’s Day relives the harrowing day on Saturday, March 20th 1993, the day before Mother’s Day, and the day the IRA bombed Warrington, claiming the lives of young 12-year-old Tim Parry and 3-year-old Johnathan Ball. The bombs didn’t go off at the same time, but as everyone was running away from the first, some would be running towards the second, and that included Tim.
The IRA didn’t strap explosives to themselves and pretend to be religious, they were even more cowardly bastards – in this case, putting a bomb in a bin.
Johnathan was killed outright, while Tim was put into hospital with his shoulders, legs and wrists broken, legs damaged, shrapnel injuries, and that’s not even going into detail about what would’ve happened to his face. He never showed any sign of improvement or even any reaction to the tests, leading to his life support being switched off.
His father Colin (Daniel Mays) wanted to talk to the papers more than Wendy (Anna Maxwell Martin), but it kept everything correct in the presss with regards to his son, and as he says – they’ll write about him anyway. They even both spoke to the media a mere 30 minutes after Tim died.
Vicky McClure takes the role of Dubliner Susan McHugh, who set up “Peace ’93” and was determined to stop any more bombs going off and killing children, but her actions also brought about threats and intimidation for both herself and her family.
Wendy and Tim’s subsequent campaigning led to The Tim Parry Trust Fund being set up, with the intention of their being better understanding between Great Britain and Ireland, with The Tim Parry-Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace leading to The Peace Centre, near Warrington town centre, opening in 2000 on the 7th anniversary of the bombing.
To this day, the perpetrators for the crime have never been caught, but following the IRA ceasefire in 1994, this eventualy brought us to the achievement of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, bringing peace between the UK and Northern Ireland.
Mays and Martin are two of the best actors on British TV these days, and they make a perfect and powerful pairing in this. While I don’t know what Wendy Parry’s voice sounds like off-hand, I can see that Mays has Colin’s voice spot on. In addition, Connor Mullen is note-perfect as TV presenter Gay Byrne, who interviewed them both on his programme, The Late Late Show.
I certainly recommend anyone to watch this, whether they remember it when it happened, or even if they didn’t know about it until much later. However, in trying to take in both the stories from both the Parrys and Susan McHugh, and all within 90 minutes, it does rather have to glimpse at the events rather than going into huge depth and feels rather like a missed opportunity. In these days of longform TV series, where all episodes are streaming at once, this would have benefitted from running for 4-6 episodes and dealing with everything in more detail.
I would also have chosen a different title for this. I’m not sure what, at this point, but if you Google “Mother’s Day”, you’ll get results for either the day in the calendar, itself, or the insipid US comedy drama of the same name.
What did you think of this drama? Let me know in the comments below.
Mother’s Day is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but you can watch it on the BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission.
Writer: Nick Leather
Director: Fergus O’Brien
Producer: Scott Bassett
Wendy Parry: Anna Maxwell Martin
Colin Parry: Daniel Mays
Susan McHugh: Vicky McClure
Arthur: David Wilmot
Dr. Tarring: Richard Dillane
Fran: Simone Kirby
Dinner Lady: Wendy Albiston
Pauline: Fiona Victory
Margret Seabrook: Melanie Kilburn
Gay Byrne: Connor Mullen
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.