Dolly Alderton’s ‘Everything I Know About Love’ is adapted for TV

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LONDON – Dolly Alderton peered out the window of her old house in Camden Town, and leaned in to look inside the kitchen. The last time she went on a tree-lined street in London was a year ago, “with our companions when we were drunk,” she said. When she asked the current tenants if she could look inside, “they said, ‘Have you written a book about living here? He remembered. Obviously, the first thing the landlord mentioned when advertising the property.

On that trip, the 33-year-old writer was in the middle of turning that memoir, “Everything I Know About Love,” into a TV show, which premieres in the United States on August 25 on Peacock. Both iterations are set in this area of ​​north London – known for its rich rock ‘n’ roll history and the frescoed canal – where Alderton lived for nearly 10 years, and which he jokingly calls “the second largest in London after Buckingham Palace”. Most visited tourist destination”. ,

During that decade, Alderton worked as a story producer on the British reality TV show “Made in Chelsea, wrote a dating column and created a hit podcast, “superior inferior,” with journalist Pandora Sykes. But what defined the period for Alderton was being single and living with friends in her 20s.

When it came to adapting her memoir for the screen, Alderton realized how readers would associate her relationship with her childhood best friend Farley Kleiner as “epic and grand and romantic”—a love story. . In the series, both are fictionalized as Maggie (Emma Appleton) and Birdie (Bel Powley). With the show’s “ups and downs, tension and dullness, surprise and excitement”, Alderton said, the seven episodes plot the narrative arc of their relationship like a romantic comedy.

Working Title Films, which created rom-coms like “Notting Hill,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Love Actually” — acquired the film and TV rights for the memoir in 2017, when the book was still in the proposal stage.

Eric Fellner, co-president of the production company, also substituted “Bridget Jones” from Helen Fielding’s book. When he read “Everything I Know About Love”, he thought, “This writer has the same connection with the audience as Helen Fielding had all those years ago,” he said in a recent phone interview, “and maybe This is the millennium version.” Both writers, he said, “could look at their generation in a wonderfully humorous way.”

At a cafe in Primrose Hill, Alderton said that for her generation, “honesty has become fashion” and that coming of age in the 2010s meant growing up in “a very cynical time”. It’s against this backdrop that “Everything I Know About Love” is set in 2012—”literally the year Camden stopped being cool,” Alderton said.

Rebecca Lucy Taylor, known as a pop star self respect, was in an indie band at the time. He contributed three songs to the show’s soundtrack, saying that the episodes were “always so evocative of a competitive alt scene where everyone looks like they’re not trying.”

Birdie, Maggie and their two housewives, Amara (Alijah O’Dofin) and Nelly ,Marlee Siu), are all “provincial or suburban” and “on the edge of everything — not in a good way,” Alderton said. When they arrive in Camden, the four are eager for some great city experience.

This lack of urban initiation distinguishes Alderton’s characters from their more ambitious forebears as in the show “sex and the City” and also “girlsAlderton was also drawn to the glamor of the once big city, she said. She grew up in Stanmore, a “cosy” and “beige-carpeted” suburb of north London, she said, where “buses are slow and rare. As kids, she and Kleiner used to go round the same cul-de-sac on their scooters, and roam shopping malls without buying anything. All we did was talk and dream, excitement. The crunch gave his brain “an Olympic workout for the imagination”.

Now, Alderton is one of Britain’s best-known millennial writers. Between his memoir, podcast, a recent novel and his gig agony aunt For a British newspaper, many young British women see her as the trusted voice of a close friend.

“There are always women who want to talk to him,” said Cherish Shirley, a writer and story consultant on “Everything I Know About Love.” Most days, Alderton said, she meets “wonderful, eclectic, sweet girls” in bars, bookstores or bathrooms who want to talk. “Because I opened a channel of communication,” she said, “they speak to me very deeply.”

But after the paperback version of “Everything I Know About Love” came out in 2019, the amount of attention began to feel “unbearable,” she said. Alderton went back to her parents’ house for six weeks to spend some time being “really small and really cool and really elusive,” she said.

For the first time in his career, he also began to create more distance between himself and his work. In adapting her memoir for television, she said that she crafted the show’s protagonist into a character who was less self-aware and less precocious than herself.

“I see Maggie as someone who is 10 tracing paper copies away from me,” Alderton said. Another deviation from the book is the addition of characters of color, including Amara, a black British dancer. “The criticism of the book – which I fully admit – is that it was too white,” she said. She said this was another reason she made the show “quasi-fictional”, and Shirley said that Alderton was intentionally “a mixed group of women from all kinds of backgrounds” to create and fill the show’s writers’ room. was. Authentic, a world with diverse characters.

In March, three months before the show’s premiere on the BBC in the UK, Alderton had “a big wobble” about being in the spotlight again, she said. The show’s executive producer, Surian Fletcher-Jones, instructed them to be “match fit”. Alderton said she stopped drinking for a while, and also began a course of cognitive behavioral therapy, billing sessions for production.

Simon Maloney, a producer who starred in Michaela Coyle’s “i can destroy you“emphasized the importance of providing support for female audiences who are heavily attracted by their Personal experience, Alderton said. “You can’t pull the story out of a woman like that, and then leave her alone,” he recalled saying.

Alderton describes herself as “an oversharer,” but these days, she thinks carefully about how this sharing should be, and posts less on social media. “What I realize now,” she said, “is that people don’t need to go into the forensic details of their emotional lives to like and then relate to them.”

Fellner revealed that Alderton had struck a studio deal for the film adaptation of his fiction debut, “Ghosts.” She is also researching a novel about heartbreak and loss. Alderton said, “The work I do in fiction is still very revealing, as it references his life, even though he is no longer the main character.

“That’s enough for my heart, and soul, and brain, and life,” she said.

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