'Siobhan is haunted by the past' Shirley Henderson on her role in BBC thriller The Nest

Shirley Henderson as Siobhan in The Nest
(Image credit: BBC / Studio Lambert)

Shirley Henderson, currently starring in The Nest, reveals more about her mysterious character, Siobhan, and teases the shocks in store as the gripping drama heads towards it's finale on Easter Monday

Harry Potter actor, Shirley Henderson, will be at the heart of the final two episodes of BBC thriller The Nest as the gripping BBC drama reaches its conclusion.

Scottish star Shirley plays Kaya’s (Mirren Mack's) mysterious mother, Siobhan, who has crawled out  from the woodwork after years of no contact with her daughter, and suddenly seems keen to build bridges.

But what's Siobhan's real motivation for the sudden re-appearance and what dark secrets of her own is she hiding?

Shirley Henderson and MIrren Mack in The Nest

Siobhan (left) played by Shirley Henderson has suddenly come back in her daughter Kaya's (Mirren Mack) life (Image credit: BBC / Studio Lambert / Mark Mainz)

As the drama, starring Martin Compston (Line of Duty) and Sophie Rundle (Peaky Blinders) as wealthy couple Dan and Emily who have paid Kaya to carry their surrogate baby, draws to a close, there are more huge shocks to come and Siobhan becomes a driving force in the action.

TV Times spoke to Shirley  54, who has enjoyed a hugely successful and eclectic career with roles in Trainspotting, the Bridget Jones movies and more recently played Oliver Hardy’s wife, Lucille Hardy, in the film Stan & Ollie, to hear more about Siobhan and the devastating drama that is set to unfold...

TV Times speaks to Shirley Henderson about The Nest

TV Times: How would you describe Siobhan in The Nest?

Shirley Henderson: "Life has not quite gone how she wanted it to go. Siobhan is seeped in memories and haunted by things that have gone on in her past. She’s a loner and has a lot of problems and physical difficulties and her brain plays tricks on her.  Many of her physical problems are exacerbated by the rotting emotion that’s inside her."

TVT: What's her relationship with Kaya like?

SH: "It’s a difficult relationship. It’s complex, it’s wonderful at moments and it’s scary. Kaya is dealing with masses of things and Siobhan is dealing with different things in a completely different way. They had a life together and a relationship but something broke it. Now the two of them are weaving their way back together."

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Mirren Mack as Kaya

Troubled teenager Kaya has given birth to a surrogate baby for wealthy couple Dan and Emily but there are huge twists still to come (Image credit: BBC / Studio Lambert / Mark Mainz)

TVT: You’ve been in so many fantastic films and TV series, what attracted you to this role?

SH: "You’re always looking for something. You may not know exactly what but when something finally arrives you’re like, ‘That’s what I’ve been waiting all these months for!’ I had the same gut feeling as I did with Happy Valley. I was only given a little bit of the script at first but there was the promise of. ‘This other stuff might come through.’ Sometimes you just think, ‘I’m going to take a leap of faith and see what happens.’"

Martin Compston and Sophie Rundle

Dan and Emily (Sophie Rundle) have paid Kaya £50,000 to be a surrogate for them (Image credit: BBC / Studio Lambert / Mark Mainz)

TVT: Were there any particularly challenging scenes or any stunts that you had to do?

SH: "We’ve had a few physical things. Not stunts but a few lashes out! It took a lot of practice for it to feel right. Siobhan moves in certain way so you have to do a lot of wandering about your house, or in your hotel room, wherever you are, trying to morph into something, so that you just stop thinking about it but the feeling is there."

Shirley Henderson and MIrren Mack in The Nest

What hold does Siobhan have over her vulnerable daughter Kaya? (Image credit: BBC / Studio Lambert / Mark Mainz)

TVT: This is Mirren’s first big TV role. Did you give her any tips?

SH: "Our paths actually crossed before because many years ago I went to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and I was asked to come back and give a talk to the young students. Mirren was there studying drama at the time so she was in the audience. She’s got so much energy and enthusiasm and such natural talent, it feels very exciting and safe and dangerous all at the same time. It reminds me of why I enjoy acting and how good it can be. It’s wonderful."

Martin Compston and David Hayman

Dan (Martin Compston), pictured left, turns to his ruthless lawyer Souter (David Hayman) as more murky events from the past surface (Image credit: BBC / Studio Lambert / Mark Mainz)

TVT: What themes will emerge as the series draws to a close?

SH: "Selfishness and limits. It asks what is your limit? When do you walk away from something and when do you not? How far do you go until you actually think, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing or feeling any more?’ It's incredibly tense. Emotionally it goes back and forward, back and forward, you don’t know who’s going to bring out the best in you and who’s going to bring out the worst."

The Nest is on BBC1, 9pm, East Sunday and concludes on Easter Monday, 9pm, BBC1

Pictures: (c) Studio Lambert - Photographer: Mark Mainz


Tess Lamacraft
Senior Writer for What's On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite week, Whattowatch.com

Tess is a senior writer for What’s On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite and WhattoWatch.com She's been writing about TV for over 25 years and worked on some of the UK’s biggest and best-selling publications including the Daily Mirror where she was assistant editor on the weekend TV magazine, The Look, and Closer magazine where she was TV editor. She has freelanced for a whole range of websites and publications including We Love TV, The Sun’s TV Mag, Woman, Woman’s Own, Fabulous, Good Living, Prima and Woman and Home.