A refreshingly honest, funny C4 drama about getting to know your mind and your mates, set for early 2019
Twenty-four year old Marnie (newcomer Charly Clive) has ‘bad’ thoughts all the time and she can’t tell anyone. Her mind is XXX-rated and intrusive thoughts are piling up inside her head. It turns out she’s actually caught in the grip of an excruciating type of obsessive compulsive disorder – a form of OCD nicknamed ‘pure O’ – where her obsessions take the form of intrusive thoughts, often sexual, and the compulsions are unseen mental rituals that deeply affect her daily life.
Only, Marnie doesn’t know this yet – she just knows: Something. Has. Got. To. Give.
On the day of her parents’ 25th wedding anniversary in the Scottish Borders, things reach a peak and result in THE most shocking intrusive thoughts ever! At breaking point, she packs a bag and, with no plan, jumps on a coach to London. But in the capital, Marnie soon discovers she’s not the only one who’s lost…
In increasingly funny and awkward encounters, Marnie finds a gang of new friends, all with their own foibles. She moves in with her deceptively cheery old school friend Shereen (Kiran Sonia Sawar; Murdered By My Father, Black Mirror). She befriends Charlie (BIFA-winning Joe Cole, A Prayer Before Dawn, Peaky Blinders), who is in recovery, having torpedoed his love and work life, due to his porn addiction. He’s now single, stuck with an old-school flip-phone and attending weekly Sex Addicts Anonymous meets. Queen among Marnie’s new gang is journalist and ladies-woman, Amber (Niamh Algar, The Bisexual) who has been gaining a problematic rep for her promiscuity. Then there’s Amber’s housemate, the irresistible and unassuming Joe (Anthony Welsh; Black Mirror, Journeyman) with whom Marnie shares an adorable Will They-Won’t They romance.
Pure (6 X ‘45), writer Kirstie Swain’s first original series, based on Rose Cartwright’s acclaimed memoir about growing up and discovering she has Pure O, is painfully human, sharply observed, and outrageously funny. It is a moving, warm and truthful exploration of one young woman’s search for herself and her very real struggle with mental illness. It explores how it feels to discover a whole new world, with amazing new friends.
Rose Cartwright said: “When I wrote my memoir, Pure, my mental health condition was virtually unheard of, and my thoughts were deeply taboo. Now, to collaborate on its adaptation with such a talented, diligent, witty team, is an extraordinary validation and privilege.
“As my story is reimagined on-screen, we have a unique opportunity to reach untold thousands of people who have lived for years, as I did, in secrecy and shame. To humanise their darkest experiences, to empower them to change, and to give them new hope.”
Writer Kirstie Swain said: “When you have an anxiety disorder, life can feel like just a series of things to worry about. What to say, what to eat, how to be, who to be with. That’s why I wanted to write this show, because as a chronic over-thinker, I really identified with Rose’s account of what it’s like to constantly question yourself. PURE explores what happens when that doubt turns pathological and gives a female voice to the often silent story of mental health. I’m so proud to have made this show with Channel 4 and Drama Republic. I’m practically vibrating with excitement…plus a little bit of anxiety."
Manpreet Dosanjh, C4 drama Commissioning Editor said: “In Marnie, Kirstie Swain has created an unforgettable and utterly lovable character who navigates the challenges of her mental health with a uniquely goofy charm. Pure is an outrageously funny and painfully honest show which will speak to anyone who has ever wondered who they are and where they belong. We’re thrilled to be working with an exceptionally talented cast and the brilliant team at Drama Republic on this incredibly special show.”
Other members of the cast include Arabella Weir, Doon Mackichan Ewan Stewart, Olive Gray, Tori Allen-Martin, Jing Lusi and Jacob Collins-Levy.
Lead director on Pure is BAFTA-nominated Aneil Karia, and Alicia McDonald directed the second block. The producer is Jen Kenwood and executive producer is Roanna Benn. The production company is Drama Republic and Manpreet Dosanjh is the commissioning editor for C4 drama.