Everything I Know About Love: What You Need To Know

Bel Powley (as Birdy, left) and Emma Appleton (Maggie, right) lead a cast of young Londonders as they navigate adulting

It was the life-affirming memoir that made readers want to hug the living daylights out of their best girlfriends. Now, DOLLY ALDERTON’s ode to friendship and self-love has been turned into a seven-part series. Here, OLIVE WAKEFIELD takes you through the cast, the plot twists and some behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the BBC adaptation of Everything I Know About Love


The plot

The year is 2012, and a shabby London flat-share serves as a backdrop to the emotional rollercoaster ride of two childhood best friends, Birdy and Maggie. Laugh, sob and relate as they navigate the shambles of dating and adulting.

The players

Emma Appleton (Pistol) stars as free-spirited Maggie, the character inspired by Alderton herself, whilst Bel Powley (The Morning Show) plays the level-headed Birdy. In supporting roles are newcomers Aliyah Odoffin and Marli Siu, who live with Maggie and Birdy in a London houseshare and play a key cog in the best friends’ journey.

What not to expect

A word-for-word version of Alderton’s warts-and-all memoir. This riotous rendition is a semi-fictionalised adaptation and, disclaimer alert: all names have been changed. As the writer herself posted on Instagram, “And before every boy I dated a decade ago messages me today to breezily ask how I am, it’s semi-fictionalised, so don’t panic fellas.”

New talent Aliyah Odoffin makes her on-screen debut as Amara

If it feels a bit Love Actually, there’s a reason why…

Consider the greatest romcoms of the past few decades and there’s a high chance production company Working Title was involved. From Four Weddings and a Funeral and Bridget Jones, to Notting Hill and Love Actually, the film house has been breaking our hearts and putting them back together again since the mid ’80s. As it is producing Everything I Know About Love, expect some love-letter worthy, “To me, you are perfect”-style one-liners.

The costumes are straight out of Alderton’s former wardrobe

Cast your mind back to the noughties; the glory days of Topshop collaborations, Indie Sleaze and ballet pumps. The fashion hub of all this was London’s Camden Town – which also happens to be the place where the show’s most pivotal moments take place. Everything I Know About Love costume designer, Matthew Price, tells PORTER: “The first time Dolly came into the costume room to look at the ideas, she spotted some of the exact items she used to wear herself. There is a lovely scene of the four friends marching down Inverness Street, Camden, then into legendary The Hawley Arms pub. Maggie is wearing a red, patterned dress that Dolly actually used to own.”

Stopped in their tracks: Maggie (Emma Appleton) and Street (Connor Finch) collide at a train station

Kate Moss, Alexa Chung and Amy Winehouse are all style references

Price says, “Dolly brought in old photographs for reference. We talked a lot about the style icons of that time and pinpointed certain collaborations [and collections] – then we bought the pieces from Depop. We felt the characters themselves would have been trying to get their hands on them.”

Keep your eye on director China Moo-Young

This buzzy talent has become an indie favorite, directing on shows like Humans, Harlots and Doctor Who. She even helped to launch Jodie Comer’s career, directing her in critically-acclaimed drama series Thirteen back in 2016. Fresh from helming the BAFTA-nominated Intergalactic, Moo-Young has now brought her insightful perspective to Alderton’s deeply personal life story, too. In short, she’s one to get excited about.

“Nora Ephron for the millennial generation”

…was how the writer Elizabeth Day once dubbed Alderton. Indeed, very few writers since Ephron herself have captured the misadventures of early womanhood (albeit played out under the gaze of social media) quite like Alderton has.

Everything I Know About Love is coming soon on BBC One and BBC iPlayer