One Day Netflix

Why One Day’s success is a testament to the value of research

Sharice Babakhani discusses her work in the graphics department for Netflix’s new adaption of One Day, and how the experience has fed back into her day job as a creative researcher for commercials

David Nicholls’ novel One Day has captured (and broken) the hearts of millions of readers since it was first published in 2009. A perfect execution of the will-they-won’t-they romance genre trope, it tells the story of the relationship between friends Emma and Dexter over the course of two decades. While the 2011 film adaption starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess largely failed to live up to the worldwide bestseller, Netflix’s new limited series adaption, released in February, has succeeded in becoming one of the most talked about pop culture moments of the year so far.

Executive produced by Nicholls himself, the 14-part series is the perfect format to do justice to a story that is at once epic and quotidian. Neatly carved up into half-hour bingeable slices, each episode delves into the state of Emma and Dexter’s relationship on a single day every year, beginning with their first meeting on the night of their graduation from Edinburgh University in 1988 right up until 2008.

A big part of the show’s success is undoubtedly the chemistry between Leo Woodall and Ambika Mod who play Dexter and Emma, with many people praising the significance of casting a South Asian woman as a romantic lead. It’s also successfully tapped into our cross-generational obsession with nostalgia, whether through the brilliant genre-spanning soundtrack; the late night, post-pub TV shows where Dexter has a high-profile but short-lived career; or the prevalence of now seemingly archaic forms of communication such as payphones and answer machines (although the mobile does eventually make an appearance).

All images courtesy Netflix