Alison Oliver

The complex genesis of Conversations with Friends

Normal People was the TV hit of the first Covid lockdown, a comfort blanket of a series that offered respite from what was a new and terrifying virus.

Viewers tuned into Marianne and Connell’s love story, adapted from Sally Rooney’s second book, in huge numbers. It became BBC Three’s ­biggest-ever series and the iPlayer’s most popular show of 2020, racking up more than 60 million streams in just eight months. Worldwide, it won countless awards.

Teaser trailer released for BBC Three’s Conversations With Friends

Sasha Lane, Joe Alwyn, Alison Olover and Jemima Kirke in Conversations With Friends(credit: BBC/Element Pictures/Hulu/Enda Bowe)

Adapted from Sally Rooney’s best-selling debut novel, the series follows the complicated relationship between college students Frances (newcomer Alison Oliver) and Bobbi (Sasha Lane, American Honey) and an older couple, Melissa (Jemima Kirke, Girls) and Nick (Joe Alwyn, The Favourite).

Casting announced for BBC Three’s adaptation of Conversations With Friends

Alison Oliver, Sasha Lane, Jemima Kirke, Joe Alwyn (credit: BBC)

Newcomer and Lir Academy graduate Alison Oliver, who attended the same college as Normal People star Paul Mescal, will lead the series as Frances, with Sasha Lane (American Honey) starring as her ex-girlfriend and best friend Bobbi.

The series will follow Frances and Bobbi as they become entwined in a complex affair with an older couple. Jemima Kirke (Girls) will star as the enigmatic writer Melissa, while Joe Alwyn (The Favourite) will play her partner Nick, an actor.