"Everything I Know About Love" - Dolly Alderton's Hit Memoir Takes to the Screen
Dolly's alter-ego takes us on a nostalgic trip into a fun, if exhausting, London in 2012.
Most writers dream of having their works turned into televised editions. For many, this follows fictional worlds concocted somewhere deep in their imaginations. Not for Dolly. "Everything I Know About Love" graced us on the bookshelves in 2018, featured in Fizzy's 8 Books You Need to Read in Your Twenties soon thereafter, and is often labelled often as Bridget Jones’ Diary and Sex and the City’s middleman. The memoir has been heralded as a (mostly true) account of the realistic ups and downs of your twenties, a later in life coming-of-age.
"Everything I Know About Love" entered the BBC Iplayer world in June (and is still available for you UK watchers to watch responsibly with a TV License at present). It has also made it across the seas to Peacock, premiering on the 27th August in America. With the plot premise kicking off in 2012, the spin-off pilot holds your hand on a trip down memory lane, romanticising a period only a decade ago.
Dolly herself held a strong role in devising the adaptation, so hardcore book fans will not be overly disappointed. "Everything I Know About Love. Four friends. One story of great love. A messy, raucous stumble into bad dates and heartaches - and surviving your twenties", is the BBC's tagline for the show. Following four friends jostled together in a London not to far past, each feeling like they're one page turn away from facing the first day of their new lives, the series takes us on a wistful and jaunty trip into a world of possibilities.
There have of course been some slight changes. Protagonist Maggie (Emma Appleton) does a stellar job of portraying book-Dolly, followed by Birdy (Bel Powey), Nel (Marli Siu) and Amara (Aliyah Odoffin) - a small stone's throw away from the characters readers so adored. Speaking to RadioTimes, Dolly described these changes to names and character depictions as "the most freeing thing that happened", so knowing it was intentional might make viewing easier for die-hard fans. She further explained "I just thought, 'This is going to be too much of a head-f**k'. So I just decided to change the names and then I decided to kind of open up the world, because the really s**t thing about writing a memoir – other than all the exposure and the therapy you have to do - is you're limited by what happened in real life, and real life can be very unsatisfying and one note".
Nonetheless, the adaptation revisits Dolly's memoir, and a sepia-tinted a London, and does an incredibly good job in doing so. Not without a few creative twists and eccentricities, that is, for telly's sake. Maggie landing a high-paid reality TV writing job straight off the bat, for example). Yet, among the embellishment for televised audiences, still lies the character and unique friendship language learned from the beloved book. The directors, Juli Ford and China Moo-Young have also done credence to really taking us back to 2012, in a world before the rise of Tiktok and Instagram, where Tinder was only just taking off, that propel viewers into a time capsule of ten years prior.
Amongst the late night wine nights and grubby flats (Dolly admitted that the televised flat is in fact substantially nicer than the Camden abode in which they lived), the core of the series remains true. "Everything I Know About Love" follows the unwavering friendship between four unique characters, idyllicising it to such an extent that you might be left wondering if you did miss out on such a die-hard, love-conquers-all friendship love yourself.
“Everything I Know About Love” – Series 1 now streaming on Peacock as of 27th August.
Also available on BBC Iplayer.