The Couple Next Door review: Non-monogamy might get you killed

L-R Danny and Becka with Pete and Evie
L-R Danny and Becka with Pete and Evie L-R Danny and Becka with Pete and Evie

The Couple Next Door, Channel 4 

The amount of fresh drama on the streaming services and terrestrial television means it’s impossible to keep up with everything. 

If you were to try and see all the recommendations from family and friends, there would be no time to eat and wash. 

This is where shows like The Couple Next Door lose out. 

It’s not one you’ll be selling as must-see television, but it’s perfectly competent entertainment and deserves an audience. 

It examines the world of “non-monogamous” couples, or what pre-millennials used to call swinging. 

Primary school teacher Evie (Eleanor Tomlinson) and journalist Pete (Alfred Enoch) move into a new street in the north of England.   

They’ve been together for 17 years, since college, and are expecting their first baby. 

Evie, we later learn, was brought up in a strict Christian household and her domineering father found fault with her attempts to get pregnant through IVF. 

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He clearly didn’t approve of the use of a sperm donor either, but the couple are overjoyed to finally be expecting. 

As the removal truck pulls up, they meet the outgoing couple next door. 

Yoga teacher Becka (Jessica De Gouw) and police officer Danny (Sam Heughan) are the kind who rush to people carrying boxes up the driveway and invite themselves round for drinks. 

They are young and fun and Evie is delighted to meet friendly neighbours in her new street. 

She has dreamed about starting a family and her aim now is to make sure Pete feels completely included. 

However, things take a dark turn when Evie senses that something is wrong with the baby and a trip to the hospital confirms the worst. 

Danny and Becka
Danny and Becka Danny and Becka

A devastated Evie begins to take a fresh perspective on life and slowly gets drawn along a road into new sexual experiences. 

There’s one truly cringey scene (Evie is dreaming it to be fair) when she puts the bins out in her nightclothes and sees Danny doing the same.  It’s raining, both stare lustily at each other across the street, get soaked to the skin and jump into each other’s arms. 

Pete, concerned about his wife after the loss of the baby, is struggling to keep up and keep in touch. 

There are a number of sub-plots, but none is particularly interesting. 

Danny, desperate for money to pay child support to a previous partner, takes cash from a criminal gang for favours. 

Pete is tracking down the apparently legitimate businessman who’s the leader of the criminal gang, but his editor on the local paper doesn’t have the resources for investigative journalism and wants him to concentrate on local fairs and city council events. 

Meanwhile, creepy neighbour Alan (Hugh Dennis) has a worrying obsession with Becka.  He takes her advanced yoga class until she kicks him out and spends most of his day following her movements from his upstairs office. 

His disabled wife is confined to the ground floor so has no idea what’s going on. 

As the six-part series develops, Alan’s behaviour escalates to the point where’s he’s breaking into their house and stealing images. 

But the central drama remains whether Evie and Pete will be tempted into the non-monogamous world and what the consequences will be for their relationship, friendship and future. 

Becka and Evie
Becka and Evie Becka and Evie

We know from the outset that it’s not going to be good. 

In the opening scenes, before we flash back to the beginning, a crying Evie is running through a forest being chased by a man with a gun. 

Swinging will get you killed, might be the message.  You’ll have to watch to the end to find out.