06/03/2019 10:51 GMT

MotherFatherSon: What Richard Gere's New BBC Thriller Is All About – And Why You Should Watch It

It's the latest creation of London Spy and American Crime Story's Tom Rob Smith.

So what is MotherFatherSon all about?

Written and created by the Emmy nominated Tom Rob Smith – the man behind The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story and London Spy – this new BBC Two drama tells the story of a dysfunctional family of a newspaper mogul.

Max Finch owns one of the world’s most influential media empires and, as a result, holds dark secrets on everyone, and uses his power ruthlessly.

He employs his son Caden as the youngest-ever editor of his prized newspaper, The National Reporter, but Caden is crumbling under the pressure of his father’s expectations and the criticism from others that he is not up to the job.

He also begins numbing his pain with drugs and excess, which leads to him suffering a massive stroke.


Caden is left battling to rebuild his life, but his hardships give his estranged mother Kathryn a second chance to parent him, after Max ripped him away from her at a young age. 

However, her determination to reconnect with him leads to a power struggle between Max and Kathryn, as she reminds Caden of the sensitive boy he used to be.

As she does so, he is also reminded of the fact he knows secrets that could bring his father’s empire crashing down, but his silence is something Max cannot just throw money at...

Who is in the cast?

The cast list reads like a who’s who of acting, with the show led by some supreme talent. 

In his first UK television role, Hollywood star Richard Gere takes on the role of media mogul Max Finch, who Richard describes as being a mix of “men like Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes and Richard Branson” – although he’s sure to insist Max’s not “based” on them.

Describing him as a “Citizen Kane” type of character, he says: “Max does questionable things - mischievous things - but I certainly don’t see him as an evil villain character. I think his behaviour and actions are understandable.”


Esteemed actor Helen McCrory plays Max’s estranged wife Kathryn, who she explains is a “quiet, isolated woman living on the outskirts of her own life”, following a bitter divorce.

Having once been the heir to the newspaper business, she’s also lost her son to his father, and is “haunted by the trauma” of not raising him. 

Helen says: “The fact that Kathryn’s unable to be part of the family she was born into - or the one she started herself - gives her an adrift quality, a detachment. She is the outsider.

“She tries to be kind because she’s known cruelty, but simply she’s just lost.”


Billy Howle takes on the role of Max and Kathryn’s son, Caden, who is employed by his father to be the editor of his newspaper, The National Reporter. 

Having become the boss at a young age, many have questioned whether he has the adequate skills to run a national newspaper. 

He also has an addiction to narcotics, which leads to him having a stroke in episode one, acting as a catalyst for his dysfunctional family unit to come together again.


Sarah Lancashire plays Angela Howard MP, a business-woman-turned-Member-of-Parliament, and Leader of the Opposition.

We first meet her when she approaches Max to get his papers to pledge allegiance to her political party. 

“It’s a fun relationship between the two of them, because it’s a power struggle really,” Sarah says. 

“At the start she needs him more than he needs her, but it becomes apparent that if he can get her into Number 10 then she could really use the power that would give her to benefit him.”


Why should I watch it?

MotherFatherSon will suit anyone who loves a political drama – but don’t let that put you off if politics aren’t usually your bag. 

As the title may suggest, it is also a series about relationships, and the power dynamics involved when the family set-up is beyond dysfunctional. 

“It is about a mother, a father and a son, and how those relationships destroy each other, how they feed each other, how they need each other, how they need independence but it’s impossible,” Richard explains. 

“And this human story which we can all relate to is set against a much larger story about international politics; and about the movement of populism which I feel is spreading across the planet at this moment.

“What does it mean? What is it even about? Why are politicians and people behaving badly? Why are we not caring about each other enough? Why are we feeling angry? Why are we acting out in strange ways?”

Sarah also describes it as “powerful, potent and non-negotiable”, hinting the drama will be “unrelenting” in its tone and pane. 

“It’s grown up,” she adds. 

But Helen jokes: “You’ve already paid your licence fee, so what’s not to love? Unless of course you’re not a mother or a father. Or a child of one...”

When is it on?

MotherFatherSon begins on Wednesday 6 March at 9pm on BBC Two. Watch the trailer below...