One Day isn't based on a true story

Ok, so is the new Netflix miniseries One Day actually based on a true story?

Why does it feel so real?

The new Netflix miniseries One Day focuses on the decades-long friends-to-lovers arc of Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley, but is it based on a true story? Over the show’s 14 episodes, it focuses on what the pair were up to every St. Swithin’s Day on 15 July from the 80s until the 00s. It has been lauded for its dialogue, plot, and two leading characters, played by Leo Woodall and Ambika Mod. However, some people have been gagging to know: Is One Day based on a true story? Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it is not. It actually based on the 2009 novel of the same name by David Nicholls.

As you might know, the book has actually already inspired a movie, which came out in 2011 and starred Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway as Dexter and Emma. Anne’s performance was widely mocked by some for her terrible accent, which was apparently supposed to be from Leeds. Anyway, the story might not be autobiographical or historical, but it does take whisps of inspiration from real life. For example, the 90s late-night TV programme that Dexter ends up presenting, Get In!, does an eerily good job of looking like another Channel 4 show, The Word.

One Day/Netflix

Dexter is obviously too posh to properly be a carbon copy of the show’s actual host, Terry Christian, but they both have the same floppy hair and love of pushing boundaries. The real-life show, which ran from 1990 to 1995, had a segment titled, ‘I’ll do anything to be on television’. This bit got normies to do disgusting feats for airtime. Luckily nowadays, you can humiliate yourself in the safety of your home to maybe appear on someone’s TikTok FYP. Dexter’s co-host Suki, played by Rebekah Murrell, isn’t based on anyone real either, but Terry’s co-hosts included Mark Lamarr, Dani Behr, Amanda de Cadenet and others.

The book’s writer, David Nicholls, has previously addressed that he did take inspiration from his whole life. Just like Emma, he studied English and Drama before trying to achieve his dream of becoming a published writer, telling The Guardian in 2021: “I’d had my fair share of false starts and blind alleys. Emma’s terrible Tex-Mex restaurant was my Fulham bistro chain, her avocado bathroom came from my bedsit in Battersea.”

When it came to painting the toff Dexter, he managed to weave together a realistic party boy by looking at his own pals from the era, explaining to the Midlife At the Oasis blog: “A lot of my male friends had quite a wild, hedonistic time in London in the ’90s, and that’s gone into Dexter’s character.”

In 2011, David told The Guardian: “When I was an actor, I worked with lots of men who had a bit of success early on, who were very good-looking, who suddenly made a bit of money and who felt no embarrassment – and nor should they have done – about having a good time. I think there are probably bits of them in Dexter.”

In the same chat, he revealed he got the inspiration for the ‘One Day’ conceit from one of his A-Level novels, Tess of The D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. As for the setting, he opted to put a considerable chunk in Edinburgh because he “was just amazed that a city like Edinburgh was actually in the British Isles,” according to The Daily Record.

One Day is available to watch on Netflix now. For more like these One Day insights and all the latest Netflix news, drops and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook.

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We only saw a glimpse in the show, but here’s Dex’s One Day wedding speech in full