A star rating of 3 out of 5.

When Outlander's Sam Heughan was asked by Radio Times magazine if he had any "steamy" new shows on the horizon, The Couple Next Door instantly sprung to mind.


He plays Danny in the Channel 4 thriller, a traffic cop living in Leeds who is regularly spotted in his leathers zipping about on his motorcycle, which would be reason enough for his legion of long-standing fans to tune in.

But writer David Allison, whose previous work includes ITV's Marcella and Channel 4's Suspect, has far more up his sleeve for this one.

Danny is married to Becka (The Secrets She Keeps's Jessica De Gouw), a glamorous yoga instructor-cum-fitness influencer from Australia, who was in a relationship with another man when they first met.

They are a picture-perfect pair, who are seemingly living a picture-perfect existence. Even after a number of years together, with all of life's demands, including becoming parents, they can't keep their hands off one another, their relationship as playful and passionate as the day they met.

But they have a secret which has kept the spark firmly alive: Danny and Becka are non-monogamous, a lifestyle choice which piques the interest of neighbours Evie (Polark's Eleanor Tomlinson), a primary school teacher, and Pete (How to Get Away with Murder's Alfred Enoch), a local journalist, who have just moved to the picturesque suburban cul-de-sac.

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The married couple, who are expecting their first child, met in their first year of university and have been together – and strictly monogamous – ever since.

Eleanor Tomlinson as Evie, Alfred Enoch as Pete and Jessica De Gouw as Becka in The Couple Next Door holding glasses
Eleanor Tomlinson as Evie, Alfred Enoch as Pete and Jessica De Gouw as Becka in The Couple Next Door. Channel 4

But from the moment Danny and Evie first meet, there's palpable chemistry between the two of them, which is heightened when she learns about his extra-curricular activities. And that builds across the episodes, reaching an intensely sexy crescendo that will leave you extremely hot under the collar.

Tomlinson told RadioTimes.com that The Couple Next Door isn't just about sex, and she's right, but that strand of the story is by far the most entertaining.

The interplay between the two couples makes for addictive viewing, and with the exception of some excruciatingly toe-curling moments, one of which involves dancing on a beach, most viewers won't be able to look away as that dynamic continues to evolve.

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By contrast, the crime subplot involving both Danny and Pete is, for the most part, rather dull.

Sam Heughan as Danny and Eleanor Tomlinson as Evie in The Couple Next Door kissing in the rain
Sam Heughan as Danny and Eleanor Tomlinson as Evie in The Couple Next Door. Channel 4

Hugh Dennis (Outnumbered) also appears as you've never seen him before. He plays Alan, one of the other neighbours who seems to be a perfectly respectable chap on the surface, but spends his days spying on Becka via a telescope in his upstairs study.

His wife, Jean (After Life's Kate Robbins), has a disability which prevents her from accessing the upper levels of the house, leaving him free to his skin-crawling devices, although the threat of a chair lift looms large, which creates further tension.

But while minimal time spent with Alan is appreciated, he also provides a staggering moment that will leave you unsure how to react, but will ultimately prompt you to dive straight into the next episode.

There's a distinct lack of subtlety and nuance in The Couple Next Door, with some characters resembling archetypes rather than real, flesh-and-blood people, but it's slickly made and it does have something to say about long-term relationships and the so-called rules we establish for ourselves, sex and desire and how our wants and needs shift over time.

The Couple Next Door won't sweep the board during awards season, but it's an incredibly moreish series that will keep you coming back for more.

The Couple Next Door airs on Channel 4 in the UK from Monday 27th November, and on STARZ in the US in 2024. If you're looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide and Streaming Guide or visit our Drama hub for more news and features.

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