‘Love, Nina’ Episode 1 review: Faye Marsay stars in heart-warming new comedy

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In the first episode of this heart-warming gentle comedy, Nina (Faye Marsay) interviews to be a live-in nanny in 1980’s Camden.

After a disastrous interview in which football is mentioned, Nina is dismayed to discover she hasn’t got the job. At least not yet.

Six months later an enthusiastic and slightly awkward Nina moves into George’s (Helena Bonham-Carter) house and her life as a nanny to Joe (Ethan Rouse) and Max (Harry Webster) begins. Every evening, Malcolm (Jason Watkins) comes round for dinner and Nina is put off by his criticisms of her cooking. Malcolm does not always care for tinned tomatoes but prefers tinned rice pudding.

It’s clear from the start that Nina does not particularly take to her new role with much aplomb as she struggles to exact any discipline over the boys in her care. And for 1982, nuclear war is most definitely not an appropriate topic of discussion for the dinner table.

Love, Nina  Joe (ETHAN RO-- USE), Max (HARRY WEBSTER

After Nina discovers that one of their neighbours, Jamie, has crabs she mistakenly suspects the wrong person. When Jamie comes around and helps himself to food, Nina insists that he wash his hands thoroughly. ‘What are you worried about?’ asks Jamie. ‘Nuclear war. Hygiene obviously. Loose morals,’ Nina replies awkwardly.

When discussion at the dinner table turns to Jamie and his crabs, George suggests, ‘perhaps if you don’t want the children to know it’s best not to use a children’s game to impart the information.’ Nina is mortified when George explains it’s the other Jamie who has the crabs. As a repulsed Max leaves the table, Joe delightfully announces that they’ve found Max’s nuclear war, ‘sexual disease.’


As the episode draws to a close, Nina sums up recent events with a letter to her friend, Vic, which she posts. ‘I think I’m happy here even though the best-looking boy in the street already thinks I’m hopeless. Which I am. Most of the time.’ Don’t forget to stay after the credits for a little PS…

Adapted from the novel by Nina Stibbe, Nick Hornby has written a colourful and often witty new comedy for BBC One. With great performances including Helena Bonham-Carter’s world-weary George and Jason Watkins’ ever-critical Malcolm, Love, Nina is perfect Friday night entertaining with plenty to enjoy for everyone.

It treads a delicate balance between charm and annoyance, however, and sometimes you definitely can have too much of a good thing.


Aired at 9.30pm on Friday 20 May 2016 on BBC One.

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