It’s only a few weeks since there was a furore about the book-to-telly adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends, but here’s another gem with a literary source to get excited about – and anyone who has read Dolly Alderton’s bestselling memoir (upon which this seven-parter is based) will understand why.
Described as “Sex & the City for Millennials”, Everything I Know About Love is set in a 2012 London house-share that is packed with flashbacks to suburban adolescence in the early noughties.
Produced by the smart folk who brought the world Bridget Jones’ Diary and Love Actually, it chronicles the lives of Maggie and Birdy, played by The Witcher star Emma Appleton and The Morning Show’s Bel Powley, respectively. The story takes an unflinching deep dive into bad dates, heartaches and humiliations, while also begging the question: can platonic love survive romantic love as we grow up?
The series isn’t the only high-profile project that Emma has been attached to recently. She started work on it a week after wrapping up filming on Danny Boyle’s punk series Pistol, in which she plays Nancy Spungen.
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While that’s set to give her growing army of fans a new insight into this talented young woman, it might come as a surprise to learn her first brush with fame actually came via the catwalk, rather than stage school or the theatre. After being signed up by a modelling agency, 19-year-old Emma moved from the Cotswolds to London, where she showcased designs for the likes of Victoria Beckham and Daks, before stepping off for the final time in 2015.
“I was at the point where it was not fulfilling me creatively and I wanted more,’ she told Elle magazine. “I just wanted to act.”
The stars were clearly aligned, because she landed her first-ever audition months later, for a role in short drama Dreamlands. Emma followed that up with parts in BBC Three’s Clique, Channel 4 Cold War spy thriller Traitors and – the big time – a recurring role in Netflix’s The Witcher.
“Meeting Dolly was the key to getting to grips with the role,” she says about Maggie, a character she admits she found a little harder to get under the skin of, as she was so similar to Emma herself.
She describes working on Everything I Know About Love as “the most nostalgic time I’ve ever had”, because so much of it resonated with her own experiences, from the clothes she wore to the events Maggie lives through.
Emma isn’t the only one who is thrilled at being part of the eagerly awaited production. Director China Moo-Young, whose credits include Call the Midwife and Harlots, says: “’We have a sublime cast for Everything I Know About Love and I’m so excited to see them bring all the heart and humour of Dolly’s scripts to life on screen,” while the original author herself enthuses: “I am beyond thrilled with every actor we have on board for Everything I Know About Love. Aisha Bywaters has helped us find our dream cast and we are so excited to see them inhabit the world of the show and bring its stories and relationships to life.”
Marli Siu, Jordan Peters and newcomers Aliyah Odoffin and Connor Finch round out the cast.