7 Questions with… The Nest star Martin Compston: 'There was a very specific rule - no waistcoats'

The Line of Duty actor talks about his new Glasgow-set thriller, which stars Peaky Blinders actress Sophie Rundle and Mirren Mack.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 21 March 2020 - 10.10pm
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If you’re looking for a new Sunday night thriller to take your mind off the latest dramas in the real world, BBC One’s The Nest is the answer.

The series stars Martin Compston (Line of Duty, Traces) and Sophie Rundle (Peaky Blinders, Gentleman Jack) as a wealthy and loved-up couple, who are only missing one thing from their lives – a baby.

After numerous years of trying a chance encounter with 18-year-old Kaya (Played by Mirren Mack) turns their world upside down after she offers to be their surrogate.

But how much can the couple trust Kaya? With only one embryo left, the desperate couple need to place all their trust in a teenager they barely know.

Martin Compston reveals all about the gripping drama….

1.       Tell us about your character Dan Doherty?

Martin Compston as Dan in The Nest BBC

Dan is a working-class boy who has done very, very well for himself. He is very ambitious, pretty ruthless, but madly in love with his wife played by the brilliant Sophie Rundle.

They’re at a strange part of their lives where they seem like they’ve got everything, but what they really want is a baby and they can’t have one.

2.       What was it that made you want to get involved in the show?

Martin Compston and Sophie Rundle in The Nest BBC

It's definitely got a few cliff-hangers. I keep saying this but it’s a proper emotional thriller. When I was reading it, it was a page-turner. It never quite goes the way you think it will - it keeps you on your toes. And all the characters are so well rounded.

And Nicole Taylor. As most actors will tell you, there are always times in your career where there have been writers writing something for you and it never happens. It never happens. And this is the first time somebody’s actually come through with it. She wrote the character with me in mind and when she finished it, she sent it through to see what I thought. I was just chuffed to bits. It was weird because when you’re learning scripts it takes time, but with this, there were moments where it genuinely felt like how I would speak and how I would play it. There were times where the emotion and the character were just pouring out of me.

Describing Dan, in the script his sister says he’s just a good guy who loves the Celtic, so Nicole had me at that! I was going to do it when she said that!

3.       Was it nice to film in Scotland and use your own accent?

We’re at a point now where people are being a lot more open-minded to what we would term as ‘regional dramas’. Nicole’s rightfully earned that place in her career where she has a lot more say about how her scripts are portrayed. She was insistent that it would be very authentic, even down to the stage directions. The script would specifically say ‘accent gets stronger’ as they do when you’re where you’re from. It was very liberating to be on a set and not be worried about someone saying, “Could you just clip the ‘T’ on that?” or “Can you change that?” or “What does that mean?”. That’s very freeing as an actor because you can just get on with it.

So with that and being West Coast-born myself, seeing Greenock, where I’m from, pop up was very exciting. My mum came up and made us a cup of tea the day we were filming there.

Glasgow is quite spectacular at times and this shows that side of the place, which you don’t normally see on screen. The house that Dan and Emily live in, it actually looks like a green screen outside of their windows because the place is so beautiful, but it’s not!

I’m really excited to be in a primetime BBC drama that’s set where I’m from.

4.       Did you get to spend much time in Dan and Emily’s beautiful house? 

Sophie Rundle and Martin Compston in The Nest BBC

Yes. You would literally have four seasons in a day. It would be sunny, raining, sleet, snow. It was pretty incredible, there would be the odd seal swimming up, a dolphin swam by once one day and a submarine! And it was nice to look out the window across the waters to the town where I grew up. That was really good.

5.       What was it like working with Sophie Rundle?

Sophie Rundle as Emily in The Nest BBC

She's brilliant, I think I've got a pal for life there. I've always heard great things about Sophie and people said we'd really hit it off. We've got a really similar work ethic and we like our graft but we do like a carry-on on set. When there’s just two of you in that house for so long doing really intense scenes, you need to able to have a laugh. She’s a really, really positive person.

It was a lovely job to be honest, all round. Everybody just got on with the work and everybody was nice.

6.       What did you do between the intense scenes to lighten the mood?

Mirren Mack as Kaya in The Nest BBC

It was always fun seeing the dolphins and seals. The whole crew would charge to the windows in between takes because everybody wanted to have a look.

7.       Did you get to wear a waistcoat?

Sophie Rundle and Martin Compston in The Nest BBC

No, there was a very specific rule - no waistcoats. That was by the designer. I do get some pretty flashy suits which I might have tried to hold onto after shooting!

Watch The Nest on Sundays at 9pm on BBC One from March 22nd.

Catch up on BT TV via the BBC iPlayer app.

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