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‘One Day’

A little over a decade ago, I read David Nicholls’s novel One Day.

I just found myself getting a little fed up with it. The progress of the plot is so utterly, teeth-gnashingly predictable that the ending couldn’t come soon enough, and the interminable circuitous storylines and ruminations holding it back became just a little bit dull.

It doesn’t sound as though I enjoyed it, but then I gave it a four-star rating, so who knows what I was thinking? I certainly can’t remember.

Fast-forward to 2024, and Wendy and I have just finished watching the Netflix adaptation. I couldn’t recall even the major beats of the plot of the novel, though I did remember that it was a love story, and I had a clear idea in mind of the central characters, Emma and Dexter.

Wendy and I both enjoyed the series: I certainly didn’t get fed up with it, nor find it predictable or dull. I found it moving, which my review suggests wasn’t the case for the novel.

The series follows the same structure as the novel, catching up with our central characters on 15 July for each of twenty years, beginning at university in 1988. The episodes vary in length from about 20 to about 40 minutes. The period details, including the soundtrack, are spot-on.

Ambika Mod is perfectly cast as Emma Morley, and will surely be catapulted into stardom by the success of this series. Leo Woodall is excellent as Dexter Mayhew, though I think Dex is the less interesting character.

I was struck by the sense of place in the series, particularly how central Edinburgh is to the plot. I didn’t remember that from the novel.

But mostly, it packs an emotional punch. It’s funny, it’s moving, it’s reflective, it’s thoughtful.

It’s great.

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