'Conversations with Friends' director will always use intimacy coordinator after making 'Normal People'

Conversations with Friends promo shot
Another of Sally Rooney's tales gets the TV treatment in Conversations with Friends. (Element Pictures) (BBC/Element Pictures/Enda Bowe)

New BBC series Conversations with Friends' director has said that he plans to use an intimacy coordinator for all sex scenes after his experiences making Normal People.

The BBC Three adaptation of Sally Rooney's novel about teenagers and their first romance was known for including a lot of sex scenes and made use of an intimacy coordinator to help the actors feel protected on set during vulnerable moments, a role that was barely heard of before the series was made.

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Normal People's intimacy coordinator was also used for raunchy Netflix period drama Bridgerton, and when Normal People director Lenny Abrahamson started work adapting another of Rooney's novels, Conversations with Friends, for BBC Three he did not hesitate to turn to an intimacy coordinator again.

Normal People stars in bed
Normal People made use of an intimacy coordinator. (BBC) (BBC/Element Pictures/Hulu)

Abrahamson explained: "Having gone through Normal People and thinking hard in advance about how we would film these intimate scenes, I was very keen right from the beginning that they didn’t feel like some other type of filmmaking, instead, feeling like a continuation of the drama.

"We went on a big journey in Normal People, discovering this new role of intimacy coordinator that was out there, but barely known of, and working with Ita O’Brien, who was central to the development of that role."

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He added: "Through doing that we learned the way of shooting intimate scenes in a way that makes the actor feel safe and creatively involved. There’s a dignity to that process and there’s the safety of having somebody on set who knows all about the basic stuff.

Conversations With Friends stars Alison Oliver and Joe Alwyn
Conversations With Friends features an affair between a young woman and a married man. (Element Pictures) (BBC/Element Pictures/Enda Bowe)

"The intimacy coordinator is like the stunt coordinator in the way they are there to keep people safe; we were all very comfortable about that process and it was about bringing these new actors into that way of working.

"It felt very smooth and I hope it will continue to be something we do when making films and that it’s not a big new discovery every time. It’s best practise and we’re going to continue doing it."

Conversations with Friends follows two university student best friends and former lovers who begin a surprising new friendship with an older married couple.

However, when one of them begins an intense, secret affair with the husband, it changes her view of herself and jeopardises her closeness with her best friend.

Conversations with Friends begins on Sunday at 10pm on BBC Three.

Watch: Conversations with Friends star on 'embarrassing' sex scenes