Who does she play? Nina, a nanny who is new to London, is the lead character in BBC1 new drama Love, Nina.
What’s her story? “Nina is a girl that lives in Leicester and she works in a care home,” explains Marsay. “She decides, right, I need to get out of here, and she wants to move to London. She finds an ad in the back of a magazine looking for a housekeeper/nanny for two children in North London and she just goes to the interview and gets it!
It’s her story – writing letters back home to her sister, Vic who she’s very close to. It’s her observations of London, of the culture differences, of the way people act, very different to how’s she has been brought up. She’s not the best nanny in the world so it’s her experience, through her eyes of how she sees London, how she sees these literary figures. She’s a lot of fun to play.”
Where do I recognise her from? Game of Thrones, Fresh Meat, The White Queen, Glue, My Mad Fat Diary, Doctor Who, The Bletchley Circle
Helena Bonham Carter
Who does she play? George, editor of a London literary review, mum of two boys and Nina’s employer
What’s her story? “Nina comes in and looks after my children, Joe and Max,” says Bonham-Carter. “For me, one of my main relationships in life is with my nanny. It’s certainly one of the most important things in my life. This is a story of this friendship and relationship between the nanny and the mother.
“What I love about the book is that it’s ordinary domestic life. A lot of it reflects my life.”
Where do you recognise her from? Where don’t you? Bonham-Carter has starred in films including The King’s Speech, Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, Suffragette, Cinderella, Harry Potter, Les Miserables, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Planet of the Apes…
Who does he play? Sam plays Nina’s neighbour Ray, but Sam himself is the inspiration for the role of Joe, while Bonham Carter’s George is based on his mother Mary-Kay Wilmers.
What’s Sam’s story? Sam was diagnosed with Familial dysautonomia, or Riley-Day syndrome, when he was a boy – and it was suggested that he might not live longer than five. 40 years later, he refuses to be defeated by his condition.
“People tell me [Ethan Rouse] looks like me when I was younger. So I’m sure he has been cast very well. I asked if he was enjoying it and he said yes so that’s a good sign,” says Frears, going on to say seeing his family portrayed in the BBC1 drama was “weird.”
“SJ [Clarkson, the director] said to the boys, let’s sing our song, and they started singing the song to the 1982 World Cup, and that made me twinge a bit as I used to sing that all the time and it’s the first time in years I’ve heard it sung.”
Where do I recognise him from? Sam has also starred in Frankie and documentary My Friend Sam: Living for the Moment.
Who does he play? Malcolm, a writer who lives a couple of doors down from George and her children
What’s his story? “He’s fairly successful for that period, he’s had a few plays, some poetry and a couple of novels and he is starting to become famous,” says Watkins.
“He leads a relatively solitary life as a writer, but has a vicarious paternal role in George and the kids’ lives and of course Nina’s. His function in a way is to be a surrogate father, rather exotic, strange and witty.
“I think he enjoys going over to the house and loves the crack of an audience due to his solitary life as a writer; he is testing out his wit whilst nurturing young minds and enjoying the company.”
Where do I recognise him from? W1A, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, Our Zoo, Trollied, The Hollow Crown, The Secret, Doctor Who, Call the Midwife, Being Human, Little Dorrit and more
Who does he play? Nunney, a young carer who looks after Ray
What’s his story? “He’s constantly bumping into Nina and the boys on his daily rounds, and it is not long before the two strike up a flirtation,” tease the BBC. “Nunney is widely read and charming, although Nina can’t help but suspect him of condescension. Despite this he is sensitive and kind, and genuinely likes Nina.”
Where do I recognise him from? About Time, Cinderella, The Hour, Siblings, Scrotal Recall, You, Me & Them
Ethan Rouse and Harry Webster
Who do they play? George’s children Joe and Max
What’s their story? Joe, based on Sam Frears when he was younger, is “small because of a chronic condition that has affected him since birth. He has a cheeky, intelligent humour, and is often playful with Nina, teasing her about her love life. He gets on well with his brother Max, but is always first to make a play for the limelight, especially when his frequent bouts of illness rear up.”
Max is Joe’s relaxed older brother, who is described as “brusque, literal and totally unfiltered.”
Where do I recognise them from? You probably don’t. Love, Nina is both of the boys’ first TV drama.
Keep your eyes pealed for a cameo from creator Nina herself. Stibbe penned the book Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life, based on the letters she wrote to her sister while she was a live-in nanny. The book became the basis for this drama, and Stibbe is set to make a a cameo appearance as a teacher in the adaptation of her work..