Friday, 20 May 2016

Love, Nina

A young nanny finds her feet in 1980s London

Written by Ben Felsenburg
Ben-Felsenburg-colour-176A live-in nanny may be granted a peculiarly privileged view of life. When Nina Stibbe came down from Leicester to north London as a young woman in the 1980s, she found herself swept up into the whirligig of the literati. Her home was that of Mary-Kay Wilmers, editor of the London Review Of Books and one of those fabulous people who knows absolutely everyone. As Stibbe’s letters from the time recount – published together as Love, Nina (Friday, BBC One, 9.30pm) – her work consisted not only of caring for Wilmers’s two young boys but also navigating her way through conversations and meals with Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller whenever these nearneighbours would pop over.

Now Stibbe’s book has been adapted into a comedy series. Gone are the real-life characters, but there’s still an abundance of period detail to provide those who remember the era with plenty of amusement: this was a time, let us not forget, when anxieties ranged from imminent nuclear destruction to the exact culinary protocol of tinned versus fresh tomatoes.

Two lead actresses garland proceedings. One you will know: Helena Bonham Carter revels in the comedy as the mother, renamed George, a woman in disbelief that the rest of the world isn’t au fait with the mores of her own little set. Playing Nina is Faye Marsay, a true star graced with joie de vivre and a sense of humour and the intimate, immediate warmth of a real live human being. Feast away.

NOT TO BE MISSED

tv-not-to-be-missed

BORIS VS DAVE: The Battle For Europe, Wed, C4, 9pm
Have Tory friends turned foe? The estimable Michael Crick investigates the tussle between Boris Johnson and David Cameron ahead of next month’s referendum.

THE HOLLOW CROWN: RICHARD III, Sat, BBC2, 9pm
Look who’s got the hump: Benedict Cumberbatch plays Shakespeare’s villain alongside Judi Dench.

WALLANDER, Sun, BBC1, 9pm
There’s a change of scene for Kenneth Branagh’s dour Swedish detective as he investigates a woman’s disappearance in South Africa.


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