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Sam Heughan's biggest challenge in racy new drama might surprise you

Sam Heughan as Danny sits on motorbike
Sam Heughan as Danny in The Couple Next Door (Channel 4)

Sam Heughan's brand new drama, The Couple Next Door, premiers on Channel 4 this evening, and it promises racy scenes and a thrilling plotline.

The Scottish actor, known for his role as Jamie Fraser in historical drama Outlander, is starring in one of the four leading roles in the series – but the star struggled with one particular aspect of the part.

Speaking to HELLO! and other press at the Q&A for The Couple Next Door, Sam explained that rather than the intimate scenes or the scenes in which his character, Danny, is speeding the streets on a motorbike, he found putting on a northern accent the most challenging aspect.

"For me, the accent was a new one. I was doing a northern or Leeds accent, but we were filming in Belgium and the Netherlands mostly, so you have a lot of very different accents in your ear. For me, that was quite challenging."

He continued: "We worked very closely so every day we'd sit down and work through the scenes and overcome the challenges, but that's why we enjoyed it so much, it felt very collaborative."

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Sam also shared why he was keen to take on such a different role compared to his notable part as Jamie Fraser. "I've been working on Outlander for a decade and it's hard to find roles that are different but also fit into a time period.

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Sam Heughan as Danny in The Couple Next Door
Sam Heughan as Danny in The Couple Next Door (Channel 4)

"I'd just finished filming the last season of Outlander so this fit perfectly, also having worked with [director] Dries Vos before, I loved working with him on Suspect. For me, I read the scripts and I just jumped at the chance. I just love this character and it's very different to what I've played before, he's rather ambiguous. You think he's one thing and by the end, you feel differently about him."

Meanwhile, The Couple Next Door is about two couples whose worlds intertwine, first ignited by passion and intrigue but later resulting in tragedy. Sam and his co-star, Poldark's Eleanor Tomlinson, spoke about how they found filming the intimate scenes and whether they had an intimacy coordinator.

Sam Heughan as Eleanor Tomlinson as Danny and Evie
Sam Heughan as Eleanor Tomlinson as Danny and Evie (Channel 4)

Eleanor, who plays Evie Greenwood, said: "[Our coordinator] was terrific, she was amazing. She made it an incredibly safe space for everybody to be able to express what they wanted and what the scene needed to be, and we created that so that the scene could be the most powerful scene we wanted."

Sam agreed: "All of us, in various ways, have experienced those scenes and it's a strong part of the show. Vanessa, who I worked with on Outlander, is brilliant and she created an atmosphere and a safe space and a place for us to really inject more intimacy, or what appears to be more intimacy, without having to make people uncomfortable."

Sam Heughan as Danny in racy new drama
Sam Heughan as Danny in racy new drama (Channel 4)

The Couple Next Door also stars The Secrets She Keeps actress Jessica De Gouw as Sam's on-screen wife, Becka, and How to Get Away With Murder actor, Alfred Enoch, as Evie's husband, Pete Thomas.

The synopsis reads: "When Evie and Pete move into an upscale neighbourhood, they find themselves in a world of curtain twitching and status anxiety. But soon find friendship in the shape of the couple next door, alpha traffic cop Danny and his wife, glamorous yoga instructor Becka. As time goes on, these two couples get increasingly close to each other and one fateful night, become sexually entangled in a way that will change their lives forever..."