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The Cuckoo | Preview (Channel 5)

Stripped over four nights, this intense domestic drama stars Jill Halfpenny, Lee Ingleby and Claire Goose in the story of how a family's plans for a restorative relocation to the countryside collapse into extreme jeopardy…



Jessica (Goose), Nick (Ingleby), and their daughter, Alice (Freya Hannan-Mills), relocate to the countryside, hoping to leave financial struggles and family conflicts behind. The family take in a lodger, Sian (Halfpenny), who befriends Jessica and Alice but triggers suspicion in Nick.



As seeds of discord are sown and quickly bloom to reveal dark secrets, Alice and Sian grow closer, but Sian’s troubled past could be edging the family towards a disastrous future, and in a race against time, Jessica and Nick must fight to preserve everything they hold dear…


In episode one, at a farmhouse under renovation, Jessica is interviewing potential lodgers to relieve her family’s financial strain. Fourteen-year-old Alice, who has a difficult relationship with her mother, is against the idea. Jessica begins to lose hope until Sian, an artist, arrives. Their conversation is interrupted by their plumber's wife, demanding payment for work, leaving Jessica embarrassed. Sian offers to cover the bills with her deposit.




Nick and Alice return home and are introduced to their new lodger. Sian is charming but Alice is uncomfortable and Nick voices his concerns to Jessica about taking so much money from Sian.


Later, Jessica admits to Sian that she struggles to connect with Alice, and that Nick had an affair. Nick contacts one of Sian's references, discovering Fay Calder is her aunt, heightening his suspicions. Nick expresses his doubts about Sian but Jessica dismisses him.



In Alice's bedroom, she is drawing as Sian enters and they bond over their love of art. Sian encourages Alice to embrace her talent. Nick makes a desperate call to a business colleague for a loan while Sian eavesdrops. He opens a safe hidden behind a family photo, takes out valuable jewellery…


At school, Ottilie and a group of girls taunt Alice, snatching her sketchbook. Later, tensions rise between Nick and Sian. He asks Sian to leave their house, offering to repay her deposit. Sian questions his motives and insinuates that he has sexual feelings for her. Jessica and Alice return home as a jar smashes in the kitchen. They find Sian cleaning up with a flustered Nick nearby…



The Cuckoo begins Monday 8th April at 9pm on Channel 5.

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