Normal People was one of the most popular ‘bingeable’ shows when it was released during the first national lockdown
The BBC Three adaptation of Sally Rooney’s second novel was a smash hit for the channel.
It was the BBC’s most streamed series of 2020, racking up more than 62 million views in the first eight months of its release.
Now with the release of another Rooney adaptation, Conversations with Friends, Normal People is having a resurgence.
What is Normal People about?
Normal People is a romantic drama series which follows Marianne and Connell, two people from contrasting backgrounds from a small town in Ireland.
The series takes place over several years as the pair move from school to university and come in and out of each other’s lives as they pursue their own goals.
The series is a coming-of-age drama that weaves elements of tragedy, comedy and heart wrenching emotional scenes as the two lovers lose and find each other over several years.
Who is in the cast of Normal People?
Daisy Edgar-Jones plays Marianne, from an affluent background but living in physically and emotionally abusive household.
An unpopular girl at school, Marianne blossoms and finds herself at university, and throughout the series is in and out of a romantic relationship with her friend Connell.
Edgar-Jones has also starred as Olivia Marsden in comedy series Cold Feet, and Emily Gresham in the 2019 sci-fi adaptation, War of the Worlds.
Paul Mescal plays Connell, who has an opposite trajectory to Marianne - Connell is from a poor but loving single-parent family. Always popular at school, he struggles to fit in at university.
Connell struggles with his mental health in the series and struggles when his high school friend kills himself.
Normal People was Mescal’s second acting role, but the performance shot him to fame, and he has since appeared in a music video for The Rolling Stones and mystery series The Deceived.
Mescal is involved in seven upcoming projects including First World War romance, The History of Sound, and drama film God’s Creatures.
Desmond Eastwood plays Niall, one of Connell’s few friends at university. Naill encourages Connell to pursue a relationship with Marianne and is one of his main sources of support during his mental health struggles.
Eastwood played Owen Mooney in crime drama Blood, and appears as Benny in the Derry Girls season three finale.
Aislín McGuckin plays Denise, Marianne’s wealthy and cold mother. She and Marianne do not have a strong relationship, and Denise often turns a blind eye to her son’s abuse of her daughter.
McGuckin’s other roles include playing Dr. Liz Merrick in Heartbeat, Letitia MacKenzie in fantasy series Outlander, and Agnes Meermans in mystery series The Miniaturist.
Frank Blake plays Alan, Marianne’s abusive brother. He and Connell have heated conflict over his treatment of Marianne throughout the series.
Blake’s other credits include playing Constable Pip Bircher in Gothic fantasy series The Frankenstein Chronicles, and Captain Declan Fraser in romantic drama series Sanditon.
Other cast members include: Sarah Greene as Lorraine, India Mullen as Peggy, Eliot Salt as Joanna, Éanna Hardwicke as Rob, Seán Doyle as Eric, Fionn O’Shea as Jamie, Clinton Liberty as Kiernan and Niamh Lynch as Karen.
Will there be a season 2 of Normal People?
Not for the foreseeable future, but a second season isn’t totally out of the question.
Co-producer of Normal People, Ed Guiney said that attention was now on the adaptation of Rooney’s debut novel, Conversations with Friends.
Normal People ended with a bitter sweet but definitive way, with the fate of Connell and Marianne pretty much wrapped up, so any sequel series would have to take place much further down the line.
There’s also no sequel novel from Rooney to look to for a series plot, although she did write a short story featuring Connell and Marianne, At the Clinic, that could form the basis of some future project one day.
Where can I watch Normal People?
The 12-part series is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.
For those wanting more content from the world of Sally Rooney, Conversations with Friends is also available on iPlayer now.