Mother Love (1989 United Kingdom)

drA classic 3 part mini-series that’s been denied a proper dvd release! Its beautifully paced and very seductive. Once you are drawn in its hard to resist. Middle aged Helena Vesey (Diana Rigg) has her middle class life all sorted out within those posh, leafy suburbs of London. No one is aware of her sinister past or what lies behind her civilized veneer.

Her only child, Kit (James Wilby), appears to be the son she can rely on to always put Helena’s interests first, while her factotum- friend, George Batt, also seems to be loyal beyond question. When ever Helena says “jump” the two men in her life say “how high?” If only things could remain like this her life would be peaceful and content. Thing is, Kit (who she calls “Pussycat”) has fallen in love with his new girlfriend, Angela (Fiona Gillies) and wants to settle down with her. Build a home and raise kids. All the usual nice things. But he is very worried about what his dear old mama will say about this.

He has very good reason to be. Mother, son and Angela accidentally collide in a fashionable restaurant. Outwardly friendly, Helena is inwardly seething about her prospective daughter in- law. No one could be good enough for her baby. As George chauffeurs her away from lunch she sighs: “There’s no romance these days. The bitch just opened her legs to get what she wanted.” Diana Rigg radiates an aristocratic charm while applying lipstick to those lips. Behind an outward façade of sophistication is a damaged woman. She is incredibly bitter and twisted toward the two people who ‘destroyed’ her life.

Many years before, Kit’s father, Alex Vesey, betrayed Helena by conducting (his occupation: conductor) an affair with the beautiful Ruth. He left Helena to start a new life with Ruth, and the couple raised a new family while Helena slipped into a catastrophic loneliness. She was aware of Alex’s new children and the happiness he and Ruth shared. To Helena this was the ultimate in treachery and betrayal. She laid down some ground rules which must never be broken–Kit must never acknowledge his father in any way. No visiting or fraternizing with dad,  his half siblings or mother-in-law in any way.

fiona_gillies_1989_mother_love_2Helena expected the same from her friend and lackey, George Batt. Unfortunately for her Kit and George have been enjoying the secret hospitality of Alex and Ruth Vesey for years. This causes them much guilt and worry. Diana Rigg is certainly one of those women who can inspire fear in many men. Of course she finds out what the dastardly duo have been up to. Via a TV documentary about Ruth, who is a photographer. To say the scenes of Helena watching the woman she hates the most are compelling is an understatement. As Ruth shows the public her concrete bunker of a studio, Helena hisses at the screen “Stupid bitch! Mindless whore! Who would honestly care about your pathetic life!” Of course Helena cares, in an obsessive hateful way. She hatches an evil plan to shatter the lives of Ruth, Alex and their children. George is dispatched to carry it out in his heavy handed way.

He’s outed by the TV documentary, happily socializing with the enemy. Helena despises him now but he is a useful idiot after all. Meanwhile, Kit and Angela have produced a grand child for her to dote over. The casting director deserved a medal for gaining the services of three very classy ladies for the leading roles. Fiona Gillies is very bubbly while Diana Rigg is spitefully sadistic. If Angela is the Good, Helena the Bad, then Ruth Vesey is the Beautiful ! Take a bow Isla Blair. She always radiates a delightful charm and warmth in a very human way no matter what role she plays. She is truly an English Rose. Domini Taylor wrote a fantastic story that draws the viewer in with no effort at all. Peppered with amusing dialogue: “fish and chips George? At the Savoy?!” in some ways these brief sardonic moments lighten the dark theme. I admit feeling helpless and outraged watching Ruth gradually meet her cruel fate and definitely wanted cold-hearted Helena to suffer for this.




  1. Very intriguing. I’ve always loved Diana Rigg in The Avengers and will definitely check this out too. Thanks for sharing! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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