BBC drama Normal People – an adaptation of Sally Rooney’s bestselling novel – has become the most talked-about TV programme of the year with its intimate, heart-warming and at times heart-wrenching portrayal of young love.
The 12-part series, starring Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones as on-off couple Connell and Marianne, has broken records for BBC iPlayer, which recorded its best month ever in May with over 570 million programme requests. Normal People received 54 million of those requests.
Although a BBC Three series, Normal People began airing on BBC One on Monday nights, telling the story of two Irish teenagers who rekindle their romance and break-up at different points of their young adult lives.
While you’d think that Normal People’s intense popularity would guarantee the drama a second series, a return to the Sligo couple is currently up in the air given that series one is based off of Rooney’s single novel.
However, comments by the series’ director Lenny Abrahamson has provided fans with a glimmer of hope after commenting on potentially revisiting Connell and Marianne in the future.
Read on for everything you need to know about Normal People series two.
Will there be a Normal People season 2?
There could be a second series, but – and it’s a big but – we may have to wait a while.
Normal People’s lead actors have also expressed their interest in following up on the characters.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com in a separate interview, Paul Mescal (Connell) said, “I think what’s glorious about it is that the book definitely feels final about their lives. They’re still existing in the world somewhere. I think that’s probably a question for Sally and everybody else. But I put my hand up and say I’d play Connell until the cows come home.”
“Same. Yeah, very much so,” added Daisy Edgar-Jones, who plays Marianne.
Asked by RadioTimes.com in April whether he could see a second series on the cards, Normal People director Lenny Abrahamson said that he hopes to revisit the characters in “ten years time”.
“I have a fantasy of doing a kind of ten year seeing where they are in ten years time sort of thing, if I’m not too decrepit at that point,” he said.
However, since then he’s shortened that time period – telling Deadline that he could see himself going back to the characters “in five years”.
“We’ve talked about the possibility of how interesting it would be to check back in with them, but apart from just general musings and over a drink, no, there have been no concrete discussions about what it would be like.”
“As Sally [Rooney, writer] says, the book stops where it stops because it feels right,” he said. “But, I have a sneaking thing in the back of my head that if everybody was willing, and if the stars aligned, I’d love to revisit them in five years and find out what happened, where they are.”
He added that there definitely needs to be some time between the events of season one a potential second series. “It would be really strange to pick that up eight weeks later with him travelling to New York, I think. There needs to be time.”
For the moment the director’s attention is firmly on Sally Rooney’s other, debut novel, Conversations with Friends, which is also being adapted. You can buy Conversations with Friends on Amazon now.
“We’ve turned our attention – we’re adapting Conversations with Friends as a television series,” co-producer Ed Guiney explained.
“It’s the same basic team. Lenny [Abrahamson] is going to direct it and is across it as an executive producer. And Alice Birch and all of us at Element [Pictures]. So that’s what we’ll be turning our attention to next. But maybe down the line we’ll come back to Connell and Marianne.”
That all being said, the show has since gone on to become a global phenomenon with Normal People viewing figures setting new records for BBC iPlayer – which might just tip the scales in favour of a second series.
However, we’ll be unlikely to see a second series for a while if Sally Rooney does agree to write another, as Abrahamson has said that he would want to let the actors – Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal – actually age if he were to pick the story up five years later. “You’d do it for real, you’d do it á la Before Sunset.”
Normal People ending: What will happen in season 2?
*Warning: contains spoilers for Normal People series one*
The show hasn’t been renewed yet, but we can certainly speculate…
The first series stays largely faithful to the book, and ends where the book does – but for one exception. In the Normal People TV series ending, Connell decides that he’ll go to New York to pursue a creative writing degree there, while in the book his decision left to the reader’s imagination.
There’s no Normal People book sequel, so any second TV series would be breaking new territory – but if another series were to take place, it might make sense to begin with Connell’s journey in New York versus Marianne’s life in Dublin, Ireland.
Director Lenny Abrahamson told Deadline in July that if season two revisited the characters in five years time, they could explore whether Connell and Marianne had begun new relationships and even had children with other people.
“Is somebody a father or a mother? What relationships are they in that then get disrupted by their meeting again?” he said.
Normal People season 2 cast: Who will return?
Casting is so far unconfirmed, as the second series has yet to be commissioned. However, a second series would almost certainly star the two leads, Daisy Edgar-Jones (Marianne) and Paul Mescal (Connell).
We could also see the return of the characters’ families: Sarah Greene as Connell’s mum Lorraine; Aislín McGuckin as Marianne’s unsympathetic mum Denise; and Frank Blake as Marianne’s violent brother Alan.
You can watch Normal People now on BBC iPlayer – check out what else is on with our TV Guide.
Buy Normal People and Conversations with Friends on Amazon now.