The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Trigger Warning- Mention of drugs and sex
‘This is a story of great love (but it’s not the one you think it is)’– Maggie
Adapted for the screen by herself from her Sunday Times bestselling memoir of the same name, Dolly Alderton navigates memories and musings of life in her twenties through the lives of four friends, Maggie (Emma Appleton), Birdy (Bel Powley), Nell (Marli Siu) & Amara (Aliyah Odoffin) living together in 2012 Camden.
Opening with the statement ‘This work is inspired by real life events and real people (but fictionalised when life didn’t offer a good enough story)’, we are introduced to the character of Maggie (Emma Appleton), who is based on Alderton herself. While running to get on a train in the opening scene, she narrates how she sees her own life as ‘a tale of destiny’ as, after all, destiny ‘predetermine[s] all great love stories’…
After attempting to buy mini bottles of red wine, white wine and Jameson’s with a card that declines, while claiming to have ‘loads of money in [her] account’ (£32.74 to be exact), and a romanticised encounter with a stranger on the train, Street (Connor Finch), who Maggie believes is her destined lover, the series is perfectly set up: This ‘great love story’ is one of humour, heart and is, at times, painfully relatable.
‘I was 24 and my adult life had just finally begun’- Maggie
We then watch as the four friends and housemates hurtle, often chaotically, into ‘proper’ adulthood of newfound independence and responsibility (or lack thereof) all while trying to balance their friendships, love lives and inevitable mistakes along the way. They are presented in the first episode as a tight knit unit on a wild night out, ending with them eating chips and watching the sun rise over London. However, as the series progresses the four girls quickly embark on their own paths of new relationships, jobs and varied personal dreams- for Amara this dream is leaving her corporate job to pursue a career in contemporary dance while for Birdy this is following in her mum’s footsteps and getting a job at John Lewis.
Issues such as racism and discrimination, mental health, loneliness, drugs, sex, and many more are explored effectively throughout with poignancy, sensitivity, heartfelt relatability and often charming wit. Through these universal themes, the show’s relatability combined with its soundtrack of the music of the 00s and 10s, evokes a strong feeling of nostalgia even for those who didn’t experience their 20s in this era or are still experiencing them.
Of particular focus in the show is the relationship between Maggie and Birdy. Friends from childhood, throughout university and now housemates in the ‘real world’, they are presented with the new challenge of navigating their friendship alongside the addition of Birdy’s new boyfriend. We watch as this friendship begins to shift and then fracture as a result of this change and the other pressures of adulthood responsibility.
Therefore, while this is a show about romantic love in all it’s different forms, the love story of friendships both old and new is the heart of it. It will leave you wanting a night in drinking wine with your girlfriends, a wild night out in a new city and even a spontaneous trip to New York City with a whirlwind holiday romance straight out of a romcom. But ultimately it will leave you with the welcome reminder of (despite all life’s failed relationships, drunken mistakes, disastrous job interviews, overdrafts, and hangovers) the value of friendship.
Available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.