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TV review: Conversations with Friends slavishly follows Normal People format – but runs out of material

Anticipated new drama, partly filmed in Belfast, fails to capture the imagination 

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All at sea: Melissa (Jemima Kirke), Bobbi (Sasha Lane), Frances (Alison Oliver), and Nick (Joe Alwyn). Credit: Enda Bowe

All at sea: Melissa (Jemima Kirke), Bobbi (Sasha Lane), Frances (Alison Oliver), and Nick (Joe Alwyn). Credit: Enda Bowe

Sasha Lane as Bobbi and Alison Oliver as Frances. Credit: Enda Bowe/Press Association Images

Sasha Lane as Bobbi and Alison Oliver as Frances. Credit: Enda Bowe/Press Association Images

Press Association Images

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All at sea: Melissa (Jemima Kirke), Bobbi (Sasha Lane), Frances (Alison Oliver), and Nick (Joe Alwyn). Credit: Enda Bowe

Apparently, Element Pictures, the busy production company behind Conversations with Friends (BBC3, Sunday & Monday) bought the rights to Sally Rooney’s debut novel before it began work on the smash-hit Normal People, based on her second book.

It seems the original plan was to turn it into a feature film. Instead, it’s ended up as a series that slavishly follows exactly the same format (12 half-hour episodes) as its television predecessor.


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