Normal People's Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal: 'It's been a wild few months for us'

The stars of the BBC’s hit Sally Rooney adaptation on their quarantine viewing, and how their lives have changed since playing Marianne and Connell

Was there a show this year that everyone else loved but you just couldn’t get on with?
That’s a hard one. I honestly think I watched every show that’s aired on TV in the last few months. I have watched, and enjoyed every one. I’m trying to think. The news?

Paul: What was the one you tried to get me to watch, Daisy? I can’t remember the name of it. I think it was Selling Sunset? The one with the realtors in LA. I couldn’t get into it.

Daisy: How you couldn’t get on with that, I don’t know. Impossible!

Any shows you enjoyed over lockdown that you didn’t expect to?
Adult Material on Channel 4. I came to it thinking, I’m not sure if this is for me but I’ll whack it on because I love the main actress who’s in it, Hayley Squires. She’s incredible. I watched her in I, Daniel Blake. I put it on not expecting anything, and I absolutely loved it. It was so brilliantly told. Rupert Everett was class, too.

Who were your TV villains of the year?
I’m going to have to go with home territory here and pick Jamie from Normal People. He was my favourite.

Daisy: He’s so brilliant, and Fionn [O’Shea] played him amazingly. Finn’s the loveliest, by the way.

Paul: Yeah, he couldn’t be further from Jamie, that’s why I enjoy watching his performance so much. That character is so horrendous and Fionn is just so lovely.

Daisy: Carole Baskin was one of mine, from Tiger King.

Are there any shows you’ve not watched yet that you’re looking forward to bingeing
Genuinely, I think I’ve watched everything that’s aired this year from start to finish. I didn’t watch Strictly Come Dancing this year, though, which is strange because I’m a big Made in Chelsea fan, and Jamie Laing was in Strictly. It’s weird because Strictly is usually the best thing to get you in the Christmas spirit, but I just haven’t been watching it this year.

Paul: I still haven’t got round to watching The Crown. I’ve just arrived in Australia, so maybe it’s one I’ll watch while I’m in quarantine here.

Were you surprised at the reaction to Normal People?
I was definitely surprised at how quickly people came to it. I think the fact that it dropped on the iPlayer in its entirety at the same time helped. People watched it so quickly, and the response to it was really quite positive.

Daisy: How long people have been talking about it. I’m still having conversations about it now, so that’s wild. I knew that people who liked the book would enjoy it, but I was surprised that so many people who hadn’t read it came to it as well. Lockdown meant it perhaps caught fire quicker in a way, because we had a trapped audience. It’s been a wild few months for us.

How has life been since the show came out?
It has been career-changing and life-changing. This is my first time in Australia, and I’m here with work, and it’s all because of Normal People. I’m incredibly grateful for it but, yeah – it has been crazy.

Daisy: It certainly has definitely been a life-changer. This year has been a strange time for everyone and life has changed fundamentally for everybody at the minute. But Normal People has done such huge things for Paul and I, and it’s crazy to think that so many people have seen it. That’s still something I can’t actually believe. It’s a very odd thing to get your head around.

  • Normal People is available to own on DVD now


Interview by Stuart Heritage

The GuardianTramp

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