Where to watch Conversations With Friends and how does it differ from the Sally Rooney book?

If you're wondering where to watch Conversations With Friends you're probably not alone as the show brings Sally Rooney's debut to life...

Where to watch Conversations With Friends revealed, starring Alison Oliver, Sasha Lane, Joe Alwyn and Jemima Kirke
(Image credit: BBC)

If you haven’t discovered where to watch Conversations With Friends yet then you’re missing out on some seriously evocative storytelling based on Sally Rooney’s bestseller.

From the moment fans heard that Sally Rooney’s first book, Conversations With Friends, was being made into a new series, the excitement has been building. Her follow-up novel, Normal People, and the hit adaptation reinforced her position as a household name author and sprung stars Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones into superstardom. Now the emotional tale of her debut book is being brought to life on screen. Like so many of the best books of all time, the Conversations With Friends story is packed full of emotional, romantic and friendship-focused moments. 

The new series delivers some equally powerful moments and here we reveal where to watch Conversations With Friends, where it’s set and how it differs from the Sally Rooney book…

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

Conversations With Friends starring Alison Oliver

(Image credit: BBC)

What is Conversations With Friends about? 

Anyone who’s a fan of an ensemble cast of The Split season 3 might well be intrigued about the prospect of the new Conversations With Friends adaptation which focuses on a core group of four characters. The titular friends are students Frances (Alison Oliver) and Bobbi (Sasha Lane) and older married couple Melissa (Jemima Kirke) and Nick (Joe Alwyn), whose paths end up crossing with heartwrenching results...

Newcomers to the adaptation who haven’t read the book might initially wonder about the history between Frances and Bobbi as not only are they best friends and spoken-word poetry enthusiasts, but they were once also lovers. 

Finding her way in the world, Frances is the novel’s narrator and in both the show and Sally Rooney's book she attempts to reconcile who she is as a person with who she wants to be and whether all the things she thought she wanted were quite as good as she thought.

Cue the arrival of Melissa and Nick into the women’s lives with their apparently perfect life complete with a happy marriage, beautiful home and successful careers. After meeting and bonding over the best friends’ poetry, Frances and Bobbi are welcomed into Melissa and Nick’s glamorous world. But whilst Bobbi and Melissa seem fascinated by each other, Frances can’t help feeling left out.

She soon forms a connection with Melissa’s quieter husband and before long this turns into an affair. Keeping secrets and struggling to find her path, Frances’ bonds with Bobbi and Melissa are tested as Conversations With Friends explores the wider topics of sexuality, monogamy and vulnerability.  

Where to watch Conversations With Friends 

When it comes to where to watch Conversations With Friends it couldn’t be easier to race through this compelling twelve part drama. For US-based Sally Rooney fans eager to immerse themselves in the storyline of the writer’s debut novel, the place to head is Hulu. If you’re not already a Hulu subscriber, then never fear! The streaming service offers a free 30 day trial (opens in new tab) before you sign-up to see if Hulu's right for you, with prices starting at $6.99 a month after that. 

Conversations with Friends starring Sasha Lane and Alison Oliver

(Image credit: BBC)

Whilst if you live in the UK and can’t wait to check out the emotional rollercoaster that is this thought-provoking show, then BBC iPlayer has the entire series available to watch now. The Conversations With Friends episodes will also be airing on BBC Three, with the first two installments already released. Subsequent episodes will be broadcast at 10pm on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, with the exact release schedule for the final six episodes yet to be confirmed. 

In Ireland, viewers can tune into RTÉ One on Wednesdays to enjoy Conversations With Friends, though the first episode doesn't land until May 18th. Sadly, if you’re on vacation when Conversations With Friends airs then sadly you won't be able to watch the show as you normally would at home, thanks to regional restrictions.

Luckily there’s an easy solution and you can use a VPN to continue watching this hit drama. This is a handy bit of software that changes your IP address so that you can access on-demand content or live TV just as if you were at home.

Our sister site, TechRadar, has tested all of the major VPN services and they rate ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) as the absolute best. They say, “It’s compatible with all of your devices, supports most streaming services, and ranks among the fastest. You can even install it on devices like an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation. So for a one-stop-shop, you can’t go wrong with Express.”

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Ranked among one of the fastest VPN providers, this risk-free service is also compatible with all of your devices. Enjoy access to almost any streaming service, and if you don't like it there's a 30-day money-back guarantee.

If you've never installed a VPN before, don't worry, it's quick and easy. Just follow these three steps:


  1. Download and install the VPN following ExpressVPN's easy-to-follow instructions.
  2. Once you've installed your VPN, open the app and select your server location as anywhere in the UK.
  3. With your VPN installed and server location set to US or UK, you can now watch Conversations With Friends online. 

VPN disclaimer

(Image credit: Future)

Where is Conversations With Friends set? 

Just like Sally Rooney’s Normal People, Conversations With Friends is set in Ireland, however unlike the follow-up novel which splits events between a small Irish town and university in Dublin, the new show’s plot primarily takes place in the capital city. The characters in Conversations With Friends meet each other at Trinity College Dublin where Sally studied in real life. 

The group of friends also undertake a sunshine-filled trip to Croatia (Brittany in the novel), before returning to Ireland where their increasingly complicated relationships begin to unravel. As fans might have expected given the novel’s setting, the Conversations With Friends show did film in Dublin. 

Conversations With Friends cast members

(Image credit: BBC)

However, they’re also understood to have filmed extensively in Northern Ireland and County Antrim in particular for the new show. As revealed by The Times (opens in new tab), the Lyric Theater, Queen’s University as well as the No Alibis bookshop in Belfast were amongst the locations used for filming, as was the coast of County Antrim. 

“It was nice being up in Ballycastle and one of the first times we got to not be on set,” star Joe Alwyn reflected. “It was nice to have a new energy, a nice scene in a nice environment”. 

How does the Conversations With Friends TV series differ from Sally Rooney's book? 

Whether it’s something as small as a character’s name or a huge relationship switch-up, even the best book-to-TV and book-to-movie adaptations often end up changing the story in some form or another. And when it comes to Conversations With Friends, though the new 12-part series largely stays faithful to Sally’s book, it doesn’t remain entirely unaltered.

There are a few more minor changes that see the TV show differ from Sally Rooney’s book as well as some larger plot points that book-only fans would be aware of. In the Conversations With Friends book the group go on vacation to France, whilst in contrast the show brings them together in Croatia.

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, £4.28, Amazon (opens in new tab)

Student and aspiring writer Frances spends her nights performing spoken word poetry with her former girlfriend Bobbi but their lives are changed forever when glamorous journalist Melissa befriends them. Introduced to Melissa’s handsome actor husband, Nick, Frances and Bobbi are soon part of a whole new world. Though all of their bonds will soon be tested as Frances and Nick grow close and she reflects on her true self and vulnerabilities for the first time in her life…

This is similar to how The Holiday was filmed and set in Malta instead of Provence like the T. M Logan book, whilst retaining a sunny setting with stunning landscapes. According to Town&Country (opens in new tab), it’s in Croatia that Nick and Frances sleep together in her room and not his, as in the book, making it perhaps a little more believable that Bobbi walks in on them. 

Meanwhile, Sally Rooney’s book has Melissa meet Frances and Bobbi after the journalist approaches them about a profile she wants to write on their spoken-word poetry. In the show, however, Melissa isn’t writing for a magazine at all and instead is hard at work on a collection of essays that she hopes to use one of Frances’ lines in.

Conversations With Friends starring Alison Oliver

(Image credit: BBC)

Though perhaps seemingly insignificant on the surface, this does dramatically change the dynamic between Frances and Melissa in the show vs the book. Jealous of Melissa’s “perfect” life and convinced that the journalist favors Bobbi, novel-Frances feels vindicated in her perception of events by the profile. 

Whereas in the show, it’s Frances’ poetry that Melissa wants from the pair when she first approaches them, singling Frances out as special and casting her suspicions that Bobbi is the favorite in a new light. Communication is key and yet another subtle reported difference between the Conversations With Friends TV series and book, where relationships and conversations are so central, is the methods and depth of communication between characters. 

As reported by Town&Country, Nick and Frances’ affair is sparked by an initial connection forged via email and instant messages and not via text messages as seen in the adaptation. 

Conversations With Friends starring Joe Alwyn and Alison Oliver

(Image credit: BBC)

Unlike instant messages which show when the users are online and emails which allow for pouring out of true feelings in a longer format, text messages might be modern and convenient, but are often far briefer. The illicit couple also reportedly video chat as well as text, adding another contemporary edge to the adaptation and also heightening the risk of being caught by Melissa. 

The Conversations With Friends show also differs from the book when it comes to the four main characters, who are all Irish in the novel. In the show, Melissa is now British and Bobbi is a Black American woman. Remarking that he wanted to “represent the diversity in modern Ireland”, Director Lenny Abrahamson opened up to Vanity Fair (opens in new tab) about Bobbi’s change. 

Conversations With Friends starring Sasha Lane and Alison Oliver

(Image credit: BBC)

"We wanted to keep Bobbi even further from the rest of them. Letting her have an American accent kept her a bit more singled out," Lenny said.

The director continued, “We saw brilliant people, but there was just something about Sasha. There are few people who capture that quality that Bobbi is described as having in the novel - this kind of extraordinariness, this impact.” 

Now you know where to watch Conversations With Friends and some of the main differences between the Irish-set drama and the book, there’s plenty of time to binge-watch your way through to the emotional finale. 

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.