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Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones in a scene from Normal People.
Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones in a scene from Normal People.
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Cork star of Normal People defends show dubbed 'raunchiest' on tv: 'It’s a story that most people relate to' 

A CORK actor has shrugged off controversy around the programme in which he co-stars after it was dubbed “the raunchiest show on television”.

Eanna Hardwicke, from Glanmire, says the public debate about the scenes of a sexual nature in the BBC’s Normal People is testament to its far-reaching effect.

Eanna Harwicke from Glanmire, who co-stars in Sally Rooney's Normal People.
Eanna Harwicke from Glanmire, who co-stars in Sally Rooney's Normal People.
Based on the novel of the same name by Sally Rooney, the series follows the relationship between Marianne Sheridan (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Conall Waldron (Paul Mescal), as they navigate adulthood from their final days in secondary school to their undergraduate years in Trinity College Dublin. The show also stars fellow Glanmire actor Sarah Greene, who plays Conall’s mother Lorraine.

 Cork actor Sarah Greene, who plays Conall’s mother Lorraine in ‘Normal People’. Picture: Element Pictures/Enda Bowe

Cork actor Sarah Greene, who plays Conall’s mother Lorraine in ‘Normal People’.

Picture: Element Pictures/Enda Bowe


The show has attracted a massive global following, including the likes of reality star Kourtney Kardashian.

Eanna, who plays Conall’s best friend Rob, has been kept amused during lockdown by heated reactions from a number of viewers. Callers to Joe Duffy’s Liveline had voiced their outrage at the amount of nudity on the show, with one caller likening it to “something you would expect to see in a porno movie”.

Despite these bizarre comparisons, Eanna said he is only too happy to watch the show with his family.

“It was actually OK,” he revealed. “I saw a lot of it by myself and feel this part of life was very well depicted. Watching sex scenes with your family can be awkward but this feels personal and authentic. It’s done in a very tasteful way and a lot differently to the sex scenes you would be normally used to seeing.”

The 23-year-old was able to laugh off controversy around the show, describing it as both “bizarre and wonderful”.

“It didn’t faze me as much as I thought it would, but rather reminded me of how far-reaching and popular the show is,” he said.

“I never felt awkward or strange, it just made me want to defend the show. It’s important that we open our minds to the way it is depicted.”

 Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones in a scene from Normal People.

Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones in a scene from Normal People.

Eanna’s mother had been a huge fan of the novel even before the show.

“My mum is a big fan of the novel so it was lovely to be able to be part of something that meant something to her,” he said. “This is a book that defines my generation very authentically and it was surreal to be able to watch it together.”

Covid-19 restrictions put filming of an RTÉ series in which Eanna was due to feature on hold. Nonetheless, Eanna said his current troubles pale in comparison to what others are going through.

“There was no way I was going to let this get me down, given that there are other people going through so much worse. My problems seem very minor in comparison.”

He said that the lockdown has given him time to take in and process the show’s success.

“There were some positives to the lockdown because it meant I had time to process everything,” he said.

“Nothing has changed since the show aired. I’m still helping out around the house and doing the same things I used to do before.

“People do stop to talk to me about it on the way to the shops. It’s a genuinely really nice thing to see how gripped they are by the show.”

Nevertheless, Eanna said he knew very little about one of the show’s most famous fans.

“I don’t really known much about Kourtney Kardashian but seeing the range of people who are following the show was very interesting,” he said. “I wasn’t sure if the programme would translate across the world but it’s a coming of age story that most people seem to be able to relate to.

“Like everyone else, I’ve been in the house a lot due to the lockdown but I’ve been getting some messages about the programme and each one of them means so much to me.”

Normal People is broadcast on RTÉ One every Tuesday at 10.15pm.