Normal People drives BBC Three to its best week ever

BBC audiences have been bewitched by the story of Connell and Marianne, just as we were after reading the transcript of Sally’s extraordinary novel.Piers Wenger and Rose Garnett
Date: 05.05.2020     Last updated: 05.05.2020 at 08.01
The release of Normal People has driven BBC Three to its best week ever for programme requests on iPlayer, more than doubling the previous record.

In the seven-day period since the series premiered on BBC iPlayer on Sunday 26 April, total requests for BBC Three programmes stands at over 21.8 million.

The drama, produced by Element Pictures, adapted from Sally Rooney’s novel of the same name and starring Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Connell and Marianne, has been a hit with audiences and critics alike and has received over 16.2 million requests for the series in its first week of availability, with nearly five million requests from 16-34s. Of all the requests for BBC Three programmes on iPlayer, Normal People makes up for over 70 percent of the total and according to signed in data, a quarter of all accounts requesting it have already watched the whole series.

Fiona Campbell, Controller, BBC Three, says: "We’re delighted that Normal People has been such a success and so many people have come to iPlayer to watch it.

"From the initial read-through, the phenomenal thought and preparation the directors put into everything from the aesthetics and locations through to the costumes, we felt this incredible piece would always be unique, and it's clear the audience thinks so too. It’s a modern masterpiece which has helped in catapulting the careers of two brilliant young actors, and we’re looking forward to bringing more drama to BBC Three in the future."

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and Rose Garnett, Director of BBC Films, say: "BBC audiences have been bewitched by the story of Connell and Marianne, just as we were after reading the transcript of Sally’s extraordinary novel. Taking Normal People from script to screen has been an incredible experience and we’re overwhelmed by the response.

"Lead writers Sally and Alice, directors Lenny and Hettie, all the team at Element Pictures and of course Daisy and Paul should all be so proud of what has been achieved."

The previous record for BBC Three was 10.8 million total requests in a week, following the release of the first series of the award-winning Killing Eve in 2018.

Notes to Editors

  • The date range for Normal People figures is Sunday 26 April to Sunday 3 May (Launch +7) with data correct as of Monday 4 May.
  • BBC Three total request figures are taken between Monday 27 April to Sunday 3 May with data correct as of Monday 4 May.
  • Normal People is an Element Pictures production.
  • The 12x30' drama has been adapted from the novel by Sally Rooney. Alice Birch and Mark O’Rowe adapted the novel for TV alongside Rooney.
  • Oscar nominated director Lenny Abrahamson (Room, The Little Stranger, Frank) is an Executive Producer and shared directorial duties with award-winning director Hettie McDonald (Howard’s End).

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