Episode one available on iPlayer ★★★★☆
THE Nest could so easily be a worthy issue drama, weighed down by the arguments surrounding the controversial subject at its heart: surrogacy. And there were moments, as we raced through the set-up, when Nicole Taylor’s script teetered on the brink of a public information broadcast.
But once we’d established the background to the potentially joyous/toxic triangle that feathers this nest (rich couple Dan and Emily have tried for years but can’t have a baby, struggling teenager Kaya offers to help them after she literally crashes into their lives), believable flesh rapidly gathered on these bones.
There were no hearts and flowers here. The opening exchanges were brutal. Self-made man Dan (Martin Compston, for once sporting his own Scottish accent) was having none of Kaya’s apparent act of altruism, convinced she’s only in it for the money. ‘So £50,000 would be seed funding would it?’ he snarls at her as he tries to cut the idea off in its infancy, determined not to be taken for a ride by a chancer
But wife Emily (Sophie Rundle) is his Achilles’ heel and she’s convinced it can work. Even though Kaya (a raw, almost feral Mirren Mack) is the kind of girl you wouldn’t trust with your hamster, let alone a baby. ‘She can change our lives — and we can change hers,’ Emily implores Dan, a line you feel might come back to haunt her down the line.
It all makes for a gripping exploration of a highly charged subject, the plot bubbling with danger as clues are dropped about businessman Dan’s ruthless side, Kaya’s potentially ruinous background and Emily’s emotional fragility. All have skeletons in the closet and they are all gagging to rattle.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves — for now The Nest is compelling human drama. It remains to be seen if it goes down the familiar line that the thing which inevitably scuppers surrogacy is that the surrogate bonds with the baby once held in her arms and won’t give it up. Let’s hope not because, as we start on the journey to full term, The Nest promises a much more rounded look at how deep the yearning for parenthood can cut.