Sally Rooney’s adaptation of her novel Normal People, which she co-wrote for the screen with Alice Birch, was an instant lockdown hit two years ago when it took BBC iPlayer audiences by storm, catapulting Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal to fame.


Now another of her books, Conversations with Friends, has been brought to life for television and, like Normal People, it looks set to make stars of its leads.

The story revolves around friends and former lovers Frances and Bobbi who, having just graduated, are drawn into the adult world of glamorous writer Melissa and her actor husband Nick. While extroverts Bobbi and Melissa flirt with each other openly, introverts Nick and Frances embark on a quiet affair.

Leading the cast of the adaptation is Jemima Kirke (Girls), newcomer Alison Oliver, Sasha Lane (Utopia) and Taylor Swift’s actor boyfriend Joe Alwyn, who has been dating the singer since 2016.

Oliver, who portrays Frances, recently revealed how Swift was "totally cool" with the show's intimate scenes during a chat with The Times, explaining how she understood it was "all part of Joe's job, all part of the story."

Read on for everything you need to know about the cast and characters in BBC Three and Hulu's adaptation of Conversations with Friends.

Sasha Lane plays Bobbi

Conversations with Friends
Sasha Lane plays Bobbi in Conversations with Friends BBC / Enda Bowe

Who is Bobbi? Frances's vivacious and outgoing best friend, she quickly charms a dinner invitation out of established writer Melissa, who attends a poetry night where both Bobbi and Frances are performing.

Where have I seen Sasha Lane before? She recently played Hunter C-20 in the Marvel series Loki, and is known for roles in American Honey, Hellboy, After Everything, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, and Utopia.

Alison Oliver plays Frances

Conversations with Friends
Alison Oliver plays Frances in Conversations with Friends BBC

Who is Frances? A 21-year-old college student in Dublin, she's also a poet who performs her work alongside her best friend and former lover, Bobbi.

Where have I seen Alison Oliver before? This is the newcomer's first major onscreen role.

Joe Alwyn plays Nick

Joe Alwyn plays Nick in Conversations with Friends BBC

Who is Nick? A well-known actor and the "trophy husband" to Melissa, a well-known writer from London. When Frances and Bobbi are invited over to the couple's riverside home for dinner, he quickly forms a connection with Frances.

Where have I seen Joe Alwyn before? The actor is best known for his work in period dramas, from The Favourite, to Mary Queen of Scots (as Elizabeth's favourite Robert Dudley), to Steven Knight's mini-series A Christmas Carol (as Bob Cratchit).

Jemima Kirke plays Melissa

Jemima Kirke as Melissa in Conversations with Friends
Jemima Kirke plays Melissa in Conversations with Friends BBC/Element Pictures/Enda Bowe

Who is Melissa? An accomplished, wealthy and glamorous writer, married to Nick.

Where have I seen Jemima Kirke before? She rose to fame as Jessa Johansson in the comedy drama series Girls, and more recently played Hope Haddon in Sex Education.

Tommy Tiernan plays Dennis

Conversations with Friends
Tommy Tiernan plays Dennis in Conversations with Friends BBC

Who is Dennis? Frances's inconsistent father, who supports her financially at the start of the series.

Where have I seen Tommy Tiernan before? The Irish comedian is best known for his stand-up, but Derry Girls fans will also recognise him as Gerry Quinn.

Justine Mitchell plays Paula

Who is Paula? Frances's mother.

Where have I seen Justine Mitchell before? She played DI Bould in Cheat, Lizzie in Trying, Connie in Pure, Maeve Flynn-Dunne in Amber, and has appeared in a number of other shows including Derry Girls and most recently Smother.

Alex Murphy as Philip

Who is Philip? A friend of Frances's at university, and a colleague.

Where have I seen Alex Murphy before? He's best known for playing Conor MacSweeney in The Young Offenders.

Join Conversations with Friends stars Alison Oliver and Joe Alwyn, alongside the show's director Lenny Abrahamson and executive producer Emma Norton, for a special Q&A at this year's BFI & Radio Times Television Festival – book your tickets here.

Conversations with Friends is released on Sunday 15th May 2022, appearing on BBC One, BBC Three and BBC iPlayer for UK viewers. Viewers based in the US can watch the 12-part series on Hulu.

You can order the novel on Amazon. Looking for something to watch in the meantime? Check out our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Drama hub for the latest news.


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