Normal People is less than a week away – will it live up to the hype?

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The BBC’s adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People is almost upon us. Here’s everything you need to know about the series.

Normal People was, without a doubt, one of the biggest books of the 2010s. Sally Rooney’s tome of love and displacement won the Costa Novel Award 2018, was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2018, the Dylan Thomas Prize 2019 and the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019. It was also Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for May 2019.

It made perfect sense, then, when the BBC announced that it would be releasing a TV adaptation of the critically-acclaimed novel this spring. And now, after waiting for what feels like forever, we finally get to watch the series this weekend. Yes, all 12 half-hour episodes will be available to stream on BBC Three on Sunday 26 April.

There’s clearly a lot of hype around the series, and thanks to everything we know about it so far – the adaptation is unlikely to disappoint. 

What the Normal People trailer tells us

The full-length trailer (which can be viewed below) lays out the bare bones of an exquisite and compulsive modern love story about how two people can profoundly impact each other’s lives. 

As fans of the book will already know, Normal People is set in a tiny Irish town during the economic downturn of the 2000s, and begins with a secret schoolyard romance: Connell (Paul Mescal) is well-liked by his peers, and so does his utmost to hide his relationship with the unpopular Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones).

Normal People doesn’t follow the path of so many other love stories and wrap things up neatly with a bow, however. Instead, it follows Marianne and Connell’s relationship as it continues well into adulthood. And, as the lonesome Marianne finds her footing at university, and Connell finds himself on the sidelines, we’re left to ponder whether their intense bond can ever hope to last.

Watch the Normal People trailer below:

Has that whet your appetite? Well the good news is that the 12-part drama will land as a boxset, which means you can binge-watch the entire thing in one great big greedy gulp if you like.

For those who prefer traditional viewing, though, don’t despair: Normal People will also air on BBC One that same week, and will be released in the US on Hulu on 29 April.

Normal People
Normal People: Daisy Edgar-Jones (right) stars as Marianne, aka the cornerstone of Sally Rooney’s tale

Who stars in Normal People

As well as Edgar-Jones and Mescal, the Normal People cast also boasts the talents of Eliot Salt as Joanna, Desmond Eastwood as Niall, and India Mullen as Peggy.  Also in the cast are Dublin Murders star Sarah Greene as Connell’s mother, and Outlander’s Aislín McGuckin as Marianne’s mother.

Fans of the book will be delighted to learn that Rooney co-wrote six of the episodes alongside Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe, and has an executive-producer credit.

Rooney was involved in all the early discussions about how many episodes, the format, conversations about actors, as well as reading various versions of the script,” producer Ed Guiney told The Guardian

“She contributed to them all; it was a full-blooded engagement.”

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Can the TV series ever live up to the book’s hype? Rose Garnett, head of BBC Films, who was first approached with the idea of developing the novel into a feature, certainly thinks so, although she admits the success of the novel made the project unique. 

“There are so many people who feel a sense of ownership over that book and will be watching the series wondering if their expectations are going to be fulfilled,” she said. 

“Pressure is one way of putting it, but I’d call it collective excitement.”

Hear, hear! Roll on the weekends already, because we can’t wait to sink into this beautiful adaptation.

Images: BBC Three

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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