When is Sally Rooney’s Normal People on TV?

The bestselling author's novel "is a beautifully crafted story of love and friendship"

Sally Rooney Normal People (Getty)

Sally Rooney’s bestselling novel about two teenagers growing up in Ireland has been a literary sensation, making the long-list for the Man Booker Prize 2018 and winning at 2019’s British Book Awards as well as dominating book clubs across the country.

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Now it is being adapted for BBC3, with the author herself penning the screenplay.

Here’s everything you need to know about the show…


When is Sally Rooney’s Normal People on TV?

Normal People filming begins

CONFIRMED: As of May 2019, filming has now commenced on Normal People.

The 12-part half-hour drama will be filmed in Dublin, Sligo and Italy.

An exact air date has yet to be announced by BBC3 and Hulu, but the show’s Twitter account revealed it will air “sometime in 2020.”


Who has been cast in Normal People?

The two main parts have now been cast – and director Lenny Abrahamson is taking the chance to highlight a couple of rising stars.

Daisy Edgar Jones will play the role of Marianne, while Paul Mescal will play Connell.

Edgar Jones previously appeared in Cold Feet as Olivia Marsden and in Gentleman Jack as Delia Rawson, while this is Mescal’s first-ever television role.

Abrahamson commented: “In Daisy Edgar Jones and Paul Mescal, I feel I have found two young actors who can vividly capture Marianne and Connell and bring alive the profound and beautiful relationship at the centre of the story. It’s also lovely for me to be shooting in Ireland again and telling an Irish story after shooting abroad. The film and TV industry here is full of talented and committed people who can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world.”

Also joining the cast are Sarah Greene (Dublin Murders, Rosie) and Aislín McGuckin (Outlander, The Nephew), although their characters have not yet been announced.


What is Normal People about?

Normal People

The series follows Marianne and Connell, two teenagers from very different backgrounds, both living in a small west of Ireland town. The story sees them leave home and become young adults, “in an exquisite and compulsive modern love story about how two people can profoundly impact each other’s lives.”

According to the official synopsis, Normal People tracks the tender but complicated relationship of Marianne and Connell from the end of their school days in small-town west of Ireland to their undergraduate years at Trinity College. At school, he’s well-liked and popular, while she’s lonely, proud and intimidating. But when Connell comes to pick up his mother from her cleaning job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers – one they are determined to conceal.

“A year later, they’re both studying in Dublin and Marianne has found her feet in a new social world but Connell hangs at the side lines, shy and uncertain.”


Who will write and direct Normal People?

Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson (Room, Frank) has joined the team alongside Howard’s End director Hettie McDonald, who will share the directorial duties.

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, announced the drama with the statement: “Sally Rooney will be adapting her forthcoming novel Normal People for the channel. Sally is fast becoming the voice of her generation and the BBC is thrilled to be working with her on her first piece for television. Normal People is a beautifully crafted story of love and friendship. It was a thrill to read it ahead of publication, and see how she has started to adapt this story of millennial angst for BBC Three.”

Sally Rooney, who adapted her novel alongside writers Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe, said: “I feel very privileged to be working with such an extraordinary team on the adaptation of Normal People. I’m looking forward to the challenge of working in a new form, and of thinking about these characters and their lives in new ways.”

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The author, who also serves as executive producer, later added: “As a long-time admirer of Lenny Abrahamson’s work, it’s a special privilege for me to be working alongside him on the adaptation of Normal People. I couldn’t be happier with the cast and team we’ve put together, and I’m very excited to watch them bringing new life to the story on screen.”