BBC Offers First Looks of ‘Conversations With Friends,’ ‘This Is Going to Hurt’ at Drama Showcase

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The BBC served up some exclusive first looks of eight new dramas — including a number of the most hotly-anticipated TV series coming up — at a new U.K. event.

Being held notably the same week as MIPCOM in Cannes, which BBC Studios isn’t taking part in for a second year running, the low-key showcase featured never-before-seen footage from Conversations with Friends, adapted from Normal People writer Sally Rooney’s first novel; This is Going to Hurt, the Ben Whishaw-starring adaptation of Adam Kay’s non-fiction novel set in the British health care system; and A Very British Scandal, the period drama based on the 1960s divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, starring Paul Bettany and Claire Foy.

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“This is the first time we’ve shown work so far in advance,” said Piers Wenger, director of BBC drama, who added that the footage showed a “drama slate evolving out of COVID” and also “rising to the challenges of the SVOD age.”

Also shown was footage from Jamie Dornan-starring Australia-set mystery thriller The Tourist (from The Missing writing pair of Harry and Jack Williams); The Responder, starring Martin Freeman as a troubled cop; social-media focused drama Chloe, starring The Crown’s Erin Doherty; JP Delaney’s haunting mini-series The Girl Before, starring David Oyelowo and Gugu Mbatha-Raw; and Superhoe, a six-part music drama based on Nicôle Lecky’s one-woman Royal Court show.

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The Girl Before and The Tourist are set to land on HBO Max in the U.S., while This is Going to Hurt is a co-production with AMC, and Chloe is destined for Amazon Prime.

Of Conversations with Friends — which stars Joe Alwyn, Sasha Lane and Jemima Kirke and, like Normal People, is heading to Hulu in the U.S. — Wenger said they could definitely “feel the pressure” given the success of its predecessor. “But I think the cast will become as much loved as Daisy and Paul,” he added.

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