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.
The bestseller has since been adapted for a 12-part BBC Three drama series, with the author herself penning the screenplay.
Here’s everything you need to know about the acclaimed – and very binge-able – TV adaptation of Normal People…
When is Sally Rooney’s Normal People on TV?
The series landed as a box set on BBC Three on Sunday 26th April.
The 12-part series also began airing on BBC One the day afterwards, on Monday 27th April at 9pm, kicking off with two 30-minute episodes and airing weekly afterwards.
Viewers in the US were able to watch the series from 29th April on Hulu.
Filming commenced on Normal People back in May 2019, and was filmed in Dublin, Sligo and Italy.
and it will be coming to your SCREENS sometime in 2020!!
— Normal People (@NormalPeopleBBC) May 30, 2019
Who stars in Normal People?
The two main parts in the cast were cast earlier in 2019, with director Lenny Abrahamson taking the chance to highlight a couple of rising stars.
Daisy Edgar Jones plays the role of Marianne, while newcomer Paul Mescal plays 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.
— Normal People (@NormalPeopleBBC) May 30, 2019
Speaking to RadioTimes.com ahead of the show’s launch, Edgar Jones said that she was “proud” of the “ugly” and realistic sex scenes in the show.
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 in the cast are Sarah Greene (Dublin Murders, Rosie) and Aislín McGuckin (Outlander, The Nephew).
What is Normal People about?
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 wrote and directed Normal People?
Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson (Room, Frank) joined the team alongside Howard’s End director Hettie McDonald, who shared 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.”
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.”
Is there a trailer?
Yes! The first-look trailer was released in January 2020 – you can take a look below:
Will there be a series 2?
“I have a fantasy of doing a kind of 10 year seeing where they are in 10 years time sort of thing, if I’m not too decrepit at that point,” he said.
In the meantime however, co-producer Ed Guiney announced that Sally Rooney’s first novel – Conversations with Friends – is currently being adapted for TV.
The novel tells the story of Dublin-based friends Frances and Bobbi, who meet an older woman Melissa at a spoken word performance and her husband, Nick. Frances soon becomes involved in a complicated extramarital relationship with Nick, which begins to affect her relationships with others and herself.
Academy Award-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson (Room), who directed Normal People, will be returning to direct this second Sally Rooney project, but there’s no word on the cast just yet.