Alison Oliver and Joe Alwyn cover Radio Times

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On this week’s cover Radio schedules are the stars of the hit BBC adaptation Conversations with Friends, Alison Oliver and Joe Alwyn.

As Sally Rooney’s latest steamy adaptation hits BBC One, the man behind the lens, Irish director Lenny Abrahamson, says the sex scenes aren’t decorative, they’re essential.

The series takes a low-key observational look at the relationships between a group of Dubliners – and focuses on the intricacies of monogamy, fidelity and sexuality. It follows two Trinity College students, Frances and Bobbi, who become entangled with an older married couple, Melissa and Nick.

Abrahamson explains why the show and Normal People will always draw comparisons to each other — they’re from the “Rooniverse” — but why the Conversations with Friends cast and crew don’t mind. Additionally, he reveals why he cast three non-Irish actors in three of the four lead roles.

Normal People and Conversations with Friends refuse to shy away from intimacy – and so Abrahamson takes away the responsibility he feels when working with young actors (particularly after the redistribution of explicit scenes on porn websites after the release of Normal People) and how the sex scenes reflect a cultural shift in Ireland.

Also in this week’s Radio Times magazine:

  • Paapa Essiedu says that despite being friends with Michaela Coel, he was surprised to be asked to audition as her best friend in I May Destroy You. He also talks about his sense of responsibility in the role of a gay character and how the pace of change in the portrayal of black people on screen is not necessarily reflected behind the camera: “What me and Lennie [James] were also trying to say is that this is the top layer of the cake. You have to think about what’s going on behind the camera, upstairs in the boardrooms, who’s in charge, all of that. The pace of this change may not quite reflect what is happening on camera. The diversity of opportunities available to me can sometimes give the [suggestion] this change is happening faster than it actually is.”
  • Sherwood star David Morrissey thinks police undercover operations in legal organizations need to be looked at: “We’ve seen undercover operations within criminal and terrorist organizations in dramas like Line of Duty But the idea that there were undercover agents within legal organizations eavesdropping on conversations, sending information back and sometimes having relationships with people without telling them who they really were is outrageous. it’s something that we really need to look at, here, now.”

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