Wealthy Glasgow couple, Emily (Sophie Rundle) and Dan Docherty (Martin Compston) have always dreamed of having a child of their own but with no success. When Emily has a chance encounter with, troubled teenager, Kaya (Mirren Mack) an opportunity for surrogacy opens up. Unfortunately no one has been completely open about their past and soon there’s murder, dodgy business dealings, family trauma and unexpected romance in the mix.
I had really mixed feelings about this BBC drama. On one hand it had a rather fascinating premise and some really great performances. Martin Compston is most well known for his role in Line of Duty so it was fun to watch him play a totally different character and use his natural accent. He’s a great actor and he did a good job with a character trying to reconcile his past with his present. Sophie Rundle is also a BBC series veteran as part of the cast of Peaky Blinders. Fragile, gentle Emily is nothing like the tough, Ada, so this also gives her something different to do. The two actors have great chemistry and the tension that Emily’s single-minded desperation for a child puts on their relationship is one of the core themes of the show.
Newcomer, Mirren Mack, is given a very challenging character to play and she brings a lot of intensity and conflict. The character has many layers and has to keep everyone guessing. “he pulls that off with style and I look forward to seeing more of her in the future. Shirley Henderson shows up playing Kaya’s estranged mother and steals every scene she is in.
I thought the theme of Emily and Dan realising that it’s not possible to buy your way in or out of everything you want in life was well played along with how Dan’s social mobility had impacted his family. There’s an overall thread of whether you can change who you are and where you came from and Dan’s journey is a big part of that.
All of that said the actual premise stretches the realms of believability a little bit too far for my liking. Kaya’s past, the challenges in the care system and the effects of trauma seemed very plausible but a lot of what happened around the actual surrogacy was a stretch. That part made me lose focus a bit and means that this most likely limited episode series (apparently they haven’t 100% ruled out future seasons but I have no idea where they’d go) isn’t as memorable as it could have been.
If you are looking for a decent drama with a satisfying conclusion that you can binge in a day or two, this fits the bill but it lacks the wow factor of some of the BBC’s other dramas.