When does Pure start on Channel 4? What’s it about and who’s in the cast?

Everything you need to know about the new comedy drama tackling a form of OCD nicknamed 'pure O'

Charly Clive in Pure (C4)

Pure is a brand new comedy drama centring around one woman’s experience of pure O – an excruciating form of obsessive compulsive disorder that manifests itself in intrusive sexual thoughts.

Advertisement

Here’s everything you need to know about when to catch Pure on Channel 4, who’s in the young cast and what to expect…

When is Pure on TV?

Pure begins at 10pm on Wednesday 30th January on Channel 4. It will air weekly in six parts but after the first episode is out Pure will also be available as a box set on All4.

What is Pure about?

Joe Cole in Pure (C4)
Joe Cole as Charlie in Pure (C4)

Pure is an adaptation of Rose Cartwright’s acclaimed biography, and follows one young woman’s very real experience of an excruciating form of obsessive compulsive disorder, nicknamed ‘pure O’.

Written by Kirstie Swain (Clique), Pure follows 24-year-old Marnie, whose mind is invaded by intrusive – and often distressing – sexual thoughts all the time. Having originally assumed she was a sex addict, she leaves her Scottish town and heads to London, soon discovering she has a form of OCD.

In London, Marnie finds a gang of new friends, all with their own challenges. She moves in with her “deceptively cheery” old school pal Shereen and befriends porn addict Charlie. Marnie also meets ladies-woman Amber (who has a problematic reputation for her promiscuity) and her irresistible housemate Joe.

Who’s in the cast of Pure?

In her first ever screen role, newcomer Charly Clive leads the cast as Marnie, and is joined by Peaky Blinders star Joe Cole as Charlie, Kiran Sonia Sawar (Murdered By My Parents) as Shereen, The Bisexual’s Niamh Algar as Amber and Anthony Welsh (Fleabag) as Joe.

Who is Charly Clive?

Pure is Clive’s first ever television role, and she was cast for the part after one of the show’s producers watched her sketch duo Britney on Vimeo.

“I got an email to audition and I didn’t have representation at the time,” said Clive. “I didn’t think it was a scam, but I was pretty cautious. I was just really excited for the opportunity to audition for something legit on television, paid. So cut to now and it’s kind of a crazy ‘journey’.”

Britney was created after a tumour was found in Clive’s brain in 2016, and she and her best friend Ellen Robertson tried to cope with the news through comedy. They named the tumour and their play about it after the pop star because, apparently, “if Britney can get through 2007, you can get through anything”. Britney has had sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Vault Festival and most recently at the Battersea Arts Centre.

Clive is an English actress, but she adopts a Scottish accent for Pure.

What is pure O?

Rose Cartwright (nee Bretécher) explains her experiences of pure O

According to the mental health charity Mind, pure O stands for ‘purely obsessional’. The phrase is sometimes used to describe a type of OCD where people experience distressing, intrusive thoughts but there are “no external signs of compulsions” such as checking and washing.

People with Pure O still experience mental compulsions, such as checking their emotions or checking whether they are aroused by a particular intrusive thought.

Read more about the condition here, and why Rose Cartwright found the making of the show cathartic.

Why choose comedy drama as the genre to tell a story about mental health?

“It’s probably the naffest thing I’ve ever said,” admits director Aniel Karia, “But life itself is a bit of a comedy drama. Life every single day can be mundane and sad but hopefully it can be comic as well.”

He adds that living isn’t really either “Mrs Brown’s Boys or Casualty, you would hope” – but it’s often somewhere in between.

Writer Kirstie Swain agrees: “Comedy can be a release as well when it’s used in the right place. You can’t tell a knock-knock joke at a funeral, it would be the wrong place, but comedy in this sense is great because it’s this release.

“It’s good because we can talk about a really heavy subject like mental illness but then laugh at it in places. The nature of some of the intrusive thoughts, such as fingering a horse, is quite funny, until it becomes pathological and you think about it all the time and it ruins your life. It’s a good way to move between the two tones, comedy and drama.”

Advertisement

Is there a trailer for Pure?

There most certainly is. Here you go…