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'The sex scenes are so important' - Daisy Edgar-Jones talks bringing Sally Rooney's 'Normal People' to the small screen

Daisy Edgar-Jones, star of the highly-anticipated TV version of Sally Rooney's cult novel Normal People, tells Tanya Sweeney about living in Dublin, working with an intimacy coach and the growing up she did on set

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Daisy Edgar-Jones

Daisy Edgar-Jones

Daisy Edgar-Jones. Photographer: Enda Bowe

Daisy Edgar-Jones. Photographer: Enda Bowe

BBC/Element Pictures/Hulu

Sally Rooney Pic by Tony Gavin

Sally Rooney Pic by Tony Gavin

Paul Mescal and Daisy in Normal People.  Photo: Enda Bowe

Paul Mescal and Daisy in Normal People. Photo: Enda Bowe

BBC/Element Pictures/Hulu

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Daisy Edgar-Jones

Even on Zoom's video chat - where, let's face it, only a rarefied few look in any way presentable - Daisy Edgar-Jones commands a riveting, luminous presence. With huge espresso eyes and alabaster skin, the 21-year-old is equal parts sunny enthusiasm, measured politeness and fragility. Little wonder, then, that Lenny Abrahamson found his Marianne as soon as she walked in the door of the Dublin auditions for Normal People, the long-awaited TV adaptation of Sally Rooney's bestselling novel.

Except that Edgar-Jones was initially convinced she had fluffed her chances by gate-crashing someone else's audition.

"When it came to the chemistry read (with Paul Mescal, who plays Connell), I was bricking it," she admits. "I'd been filming in Bristol the day before and I was frantically learning all my lines the night before. I got a really early flight to Dublin and couldn't even eat anything, I was so scared.