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Normal People is the critically acclaimed miniseries based on the bestselling novel by Irish author Sally Rooney. Set in Ireland, the story revolves around Marianne Sheridan and Connell Waldron, portrayed by Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal. Marianne is an intelligent, independent, and enigmatic young woman from a wealthy family. She is often seen as an outcast due to her unconventional behaviour and sharp wit. In contrast, Connell is a popular and well-liked student from a working-class background. Despite their different social statuses, they form a deep connection during their high school years.
Initially released on BBC Three in the United Kingdom on April 26, 2020, the series continued to air weekly on BBC One. It made its debut on RTÉ One in Ireland on April 28, 2020. In the United States, it was released in its entirety on Hulu on April 29, 2020.
Our Normal People facts include where the fictional town of Carricklea is really filmed, what Pual Mescal said about the nudity in the show and what happened to Connell’s chain after the production.
1. Author Sally Rooney Primarily Wrote The TV Version Too
Normal People was produced by Element Pictures in association with Screen Ireland for BBC Three and Hulu. Based on Sally Rooney's acclaimed 2018 novel of the same name, the series was primarily written by Sally Rooney herself, along with Alice Birch, and it was directed by Lenny Abrahamson and Hettie Macdonald.
2. Normal People Had 4 Emmy Nominations
Normal People was recognised at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, receiving four nominations, including Outstanding Lead Actor for Paul Mescal and Outstanding Directing for Lenny Abrahamson.
3. The Fictional Carricklea Is Really Tubbercurry
Principal photography commenced in May 2019, with filming taking place in County Sligo and Dublin. The fictional town of Carricklea was primarily represented by Tubbercurry, while Streedagh Point along Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way served as the backdrop for beach scenes.
Other notable locations included Knockmore House in Enniskerry, County Wicklow for the Sheridans' residence, a terraced home in Shankill and Dublin for the Waldrons' residence. Marianne's Dublin flat was filmed on Wellington Road in the affluent area of Ballsbridge.
4. Many Real Irish Students Featured As Extras In The Series
Hartstown Community School in Clonsilla, Fingal, County Dublin was used for the secondary school scenes, featuring real-life students in the background. Students from Trinity College Dublin also made appearances during the university scenes in Normal People.
5. Normal People Was Also Filmed In Italy And Sweden
Although part of the novel is set in Trieste, the filming took place in Central Italy, particularly in and around Sant'Oreste, Stimigliano, and the villa Il Casale on Tenuta di Verzano in Lazio.
The scenes in Sweden were shot in February 2020 in Luleå, specifically to capture the snowy landscape and the frozen Baltic Sea for Marianne's captivating walk.
6. Normal People Has Been Syndicated To 20 Broadcasters Worldwide
The 12-episode series was made available as a box set on BBC iPlayer by BBC Three on April 26, followed by its airing on BBC One on April 27. It premiered on Stan in Australia on April 27 and began airing on RTÉ One in Ireland on April 28. In the United States, the series debuted on Hulu on April 29. The show has also been sold to more than 20 broadcasters worldwide.
7. There Is A Normal People Spoof For Comic Relief
In June 2020, as part of RTÉ Does Comic Relief, Abrahamson directed Edgar-Jones and Mescal in a special spoof episode where Marianne and Connell confess to a priest portrayed by Andrew Scott.
8. It Has A 91% Approval Rating On Rotten Tomatoes
On Rotten Tomatoes, Normal People holds a "Certified Fresh" rating of 91% based on 85 reviews, with an average score of 8.15/10. The site's critical consensus praises the vulnerable performances of Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, highlighting Normal People’s ability to beautifully capture the nuances of its source material.
9. Critics Have Called Normal People “Bleak And Uncompromising”
Caroline Framke of Variety magazine commended Normal People for its elegant writing, directing, and acting. She noted that Normal People, like Rooney's novel, is bleak and uncompromising, taking several episodes to fully absorb. As the relationship between Marianne and Connell deepens, the series becomes immersive and emotionally affecting, leaving viewers both craving and dreading what happens next.
10. Ita O’Brien Was Praised For Directing The Show’s Intimacy
The production has received particular praise for its realistic portrayal of intimate content, with Ita O'Brien's work as the show's intimacy coordinator being highly acclaimed. However, the nudity depicted in the series sparked some debate on Irish radio, with callers expressing concerns about its appropriateness.
11. Normal People Was Praised For Showing “The Restlessness Of Post-Graduate Life”
Prathyush Parasuraman of Film Companion highlighted the cultural dialogue that emerged after the series' release, particularly in the UK. He emphasised that Normal People follows the journey of Marianne and Connell through their high school years, college, and showed the restlessness of post-graduate life.
12. The TV Series Omitted References To The Communist Manifesto
The Irish Independent observed that the series glosses over references to The Communist Manifesto and Doris Lessing's feminist novel The Golden Notebook, which were included in Rooney's book. Rooney, who identifies as a Marxist, incorporated these references, but they received less focus in the adaptation.
13. Normal People Achieved BBC Three’s Most Successful Week To Date
Normal People achieved remarkable success in terms of viewership and streaming numbers. It generated significant viewership on BBC Three's iPlayer platform, becoming the network's most successful week to date. From April 26 to May 3, the series received over 16.2 million programme requests across its 12 episodes. Among these requests, approximately 5 million came from viewers aged 16 to 34, contributing to BBC Three's total requests of 21.8 million. This performance doubled the previous record set by the first series of Killing Eve, which had 10.8 million requests. Notably, 70% of BBC Three's requests that week were for Normal People, and a quarter of the viewers had completed all 12 episodes.
14. Normal People Was The BBC's The Most-Streamed Series Of 2020
Normal People also achieved significant streaming success on the BBC as a whole. It became the most-streamed series of the year, accumulating a total of 62.7 million views from April to November 2020.
15. It Was The Most-Watched Opening Of A Drama Series On Rté Player
Normal People made a strong impact on RTÉ One. The first two episodes attracted an average of 371,000 viewers on RTÉ One, with an additional 19,000 viewers on RTÉ One +1. Furthermore, the series reached 301,000 streams on RTÉ Player, setting a record as the most-watched opening of a drama series on the platform. Notably, 30% of viewers aged 15 to 34 who were watching TV during that time were tuned in to Normal People. The finale episode experienced an increase in viewership, attracting over 319,000 viewers, representing 33% of the total RTÉ audience and a 20% increase compared to the previous week.
The success continued on RTÉ Player, where Normal People exceeded expectations with over 3 million views, surpassing the previous streaming record of 1.2 million held by the fourth series of Love/Hate.
16. Paul Mescal Gave Daisy Edgar-Jones Connell’s Chain
After the conclusion of filming, Paul Mescal presented Daisy Edgar-Jones with the chain necklace that became synonymous with his character.
17. Paul Mescal Felt The Nudity To Be Necessary In Normal People
The series includes several scenes featuring full frontal nudity from Paul Mescal, who expressed that it was crucial for the role. In an interview with The Sun, he stated, "I wouldn't have wanted to do the show without nudity because the book is so raw and visceral. When I read the book, the characters were clearly naked in my mind."
18. There Is A Nod To Book Reviewer David Sexton
During a scene where scholarships are announced, one of the names mentioned is David Sexton, which is likely a reference to the book reviewer of the same name who wrote an article titled "Why Sally Rooney's love story deserves to win the Man Booker Prize."
19. Sarah Greene Is Only A Few Years Older Than Paul Mescal
Despite portraying Paul Mescal's character's mother in Normal People, Sarah Greene is only a few years older than him.
20. Greene And McNamara Have Worked Together Before
Sarah Greene and Leah McNamara had previously collaborated on The Dublin Murders.
21. Daisy Edgar-Jones Was Left Feeling Strange After Filming Some Intense Scenes
Daisy Edgar-Jones shared with The New York Times that filming the period when Marianne is deeply depressed and seeks solace in rough sex left her feeling "strange for a few days." It was challenging not to internalise those emotions.
22. Like His Character, Paul Mescal Attended Trinity College Dublin
Similar to his character Connell Waldron, Paul Mescal attended Trinity College Dublin.
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