Meet the cast of BBC One’s The Nest

Everything you need to know about the cast and characters of BBC One's surrogacy thriller The Nest, starring Line of Duty's Martin Compston


How far would you go to have a child? That’s one of the questions at the heart of BBC One’s upcoming Glasgow-set surrogacy thriller The Nest, starring Line of Duty’s Martin Compston and Gentleman Jack’s Sophie Rundle as a wealthy couple who enlist a teenager to become their surrogate.


Read on for everything you need to know about the cast and characters of BBC One’s The Nest.

Martin Compston plays Dan

Who is Dan? A bad boy turned good, Dan is a self-made man who drives a Bentley and now apparently owns half of Glasgow. He’s also charitable, even forking out for a massive sports stadium for the use of underprivileged children. A local hero, Dan seems to have it all, including a huge house and a beautiful wife, Emily – the only thing the couple don’t have, however, is a child, something that Emily in particular desperately wants, and that Dan will give anything to give her…

Where have I seen Martin Compston before? Viewers might be surprised at hearing the Scottish actor’s own regional accent – Compston is best known for playing Londoner Steve Arnott in the BBC series Line of Duty. He’s also starred in Traces (as Danny), and projects including Mary Queen of Scots, Red Road, In Plain Sight, and his breakout role in Sweet Sixteen.

Sophie Rundle plays Emily

Who is Emily? A teacher and conductor at a prestigious Scottish music school, Emily is happily married to Dan, but their seemingly idyllic relationship has been put under strain by their struggles with infertility and Emily’s multiple miscarriages. Since Dan is reluctant to adopt, all their hopes of starting a family lie with their last remaining frozen embryo – and Emily is determined to find a surrogate.

Where have I seen Sophie Rundle before? You’ll no doubt recognise Rundle from a host of acclaimed drams from recent years.

Her roles have included Ann Walker (Anne Lister’s wife) in Gentleman Jack, Vicky (PC Budd’s estranged wife) in BBC One’s acclaimed thriller Bodyguard, and Ada Shelby in Peaky Blinders. More recently she played missing person Sukey in the drama Elizabeth Is Missing.

Mirren Mack plays Kaya

Who is Kaya? A mysterious eighteen-year-old who’s grown up in a children’s home and only recently begun living on her own, Kaya is ambitious and hopes to become an entrepreneur like Dan. When she meets his wife Emily by chance, she is immediately interested in the couple’s fertility issues, and offers to be their surrogate – for a price.

Where have I seen Mirren Mack before? The newcomer has only starred in one other on-screen role – as asexual school actress Florence in Netflix’s hit teen comedy-drama Sex Education.

James Harkness plays James

Who is James? Kaya’s social worker, he is concerned about her welfare.

Where have I seen James Harkness before? Harkness recently starred in the TV thriller series The Victim, in which he played Craig Myers, a suspected child-killer living under witness protection. The actor has also appeared in Silent Witness, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, In Plain Sight, and Macbeth.

David Hayman plays Souter

Who is Souter? A shadowy associate of Dan’s.

Where have I seen David Hayman before? The actor recently played Private Frazer in Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes, and Danny Jones in the TV mini-series Hatton Gardens. He’s also starred in the likes of Taboo, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, and the film Sid and Nancy.

Fiona Bell plays Hilary

Who is Hilary? Dan’s sister, and mother to his two young nephews.

Where have I seen Fiona Bell before? Bell played Donna Killick in the TV detective series Shetland, and played Gillian Mooney in the series Blood. She’s also starred in Taggart, Royally Ever After, EastEnders, and Acceptable Risk.

Samuel Small plays Jack

Who is Jack? Hilary’s son and Dan and Emily’s nephew, Jack is a talented teenager in his last year of school. Clever and musical, he’s set to go to Cambridge University.

Where have I seen Samuel Small before? The newcomer played one of Viserys’ “Little Birds” in HBO’s Game of Thrones, and played Robert Edwards in the TV series So Awkward.

Katie Leung plays Eleanor

Who is Eleanor? A journalist interested in Dan’s business affairs – and his connection to a recent death.

Where have I seen Katie Leung before? The Scottish actress is best known for playing Harry Potter’s first love interest, Cho Chang, in the Harry Potter film series. She played Liuli in the recent TV series Chimerica, and Lau Chen in Strangers.

Paul Brannigan plays Doddy

Who is Doddy? Kaya’s old neighbour.

Where have I seen Paul Brannigan? The actor played Scotty in the TV series Love/Hate, and has previously starred in projects including Under the Skin, The Angels’ Share, and Sunshine on Leith.

Other cast members set to appear in later episodes of The Nest include: Shirley Henderson (Stan and Ollie), Bailey Patrick (Good Omens) and Kate Dickie (Game of Thrones).


The Nest begins on Sunday 22nd March at 9pm on BBC One