Now Daisy Edgar-Jones’ real-life love is one of the chain gang, just like his TV lookalike after a silver neck chain became the surprise star of Normal People with 100,000 followers on Instagram
It could be a scene from the smash hit BBC drama Normal People, as actress Daisy Edgar-Jones strolls hand in hand with a strapping man sporting a silver chain.
But don’t be fooled by that necklace – the chap gazing into Daisy’s eyes isn’t her on-screen lover Connell, but her real-life boyfriend, actor Tom Varey.
Normal People has attracted millions of fans, all of whom are captivated by the highly charged relationship between Daisy’s character Marianne and Connell, played by Paul Mescal.
And the fascination about their complicated love affair at school and then during their time at university in Dublin has, bizarrely, been matched by the interest in the silver chain that Connell always wears.
Tom Varey, 29, mirrors Daisy Edgar-Jones’s on-screen boyfriend Connell, played by Paul Mescal, in Normal People by sporting a silver neck chain as they stroll through the streets of north London
The necklace, bought from high street catalogue store Argos, even has its own Instagram account with 112,000 followers – and a Twitter page with the hashtag #connellschain.
But a penchant for silver chains is not the only striking similarity between Tom and the man who plays Daisy’s lover.
Both are 5ft 11in and have blue eyes. Both grew up in families with Catholic influences and both are from relatively humble backgrounds – Tom was raised by his mother, Karen, in a two-up, two-down terraced house, while Paul, the son of a teacher and a policewoman, attended a state school.
And both men are sporty – Tom lists football as an interest on his Facebook page, while Paul was a talented Gaelic football player who gave up the sport for an acting career.
In fact, he studied acting at The Lir National Academy of Dramatic Art which is part of Trinity College – the university attended by Connell and Marianne in Normal People.
Tom, 29, played Cley Cerwyn in Game Of Thrones and has also appeared in BBC1’s The Village and the Channel 4 drama Ackley Bridge
In the series, Marianne is the daughter of a wealthy lawyer and lives in a house cleaned by Connell’s mother, Lorraine.
Daisy enjoyed a similarly comfortable, middle-class upbringing in leafy Muswell Hill, North London.
Her father, Phillip, is a successful TV executive and she went to the £18,000-a-year Mount School for Girls before doing her A-Levels at Woodhouse College in Finchley, North London.
Tom, 29, played Cley Cerwyn in Game Of Thrones and has also appeared in BBC1’s The Village and the Channel 4 drama Ackley Bridge.
He has been dating Daisy, 21, for two years – the pair met on the set of Pond Life, a low-budget 2018 movie based in Doncaster, in which they play friends who go off on a life-changing fishing trip.
Normal People has attracted millions of fans, all of whom are captivated by the highly charged relationship between Daisy’s character Marianne and Connell, played by Paul Mescal, whose silver neck chain has become synonymous with the show
Wearing a blue and white striped T-shirt beneath a denim jacket, jeans and a red hat, Tom smiled adoringly at his girlfriend last week as they sauntered down the street in North London.
According to friends, their life has been transformed in recent weeks due to the phenomenal success of Normal People and the controversy over the 12-part drama’s explicit, but delicately portrayed, sex scenes. The scenes, perhaps unsurprisingly, worried Tom who – his girlfriend has already admitted – ‘had to grit his teeth’ as he watched them on screen.
To ease Tom’s concerns, he and Daisy met Paul for dinner before filming began.
Tom and Daisy, who appeared in the most recent series of the ITV drama Cold Feet, are isolating together during the coronavirus outbreak with another couple.
By contrast, Paul, 24, is living alone in a flat in East London, with not even Connell’s chain to keep him company – he has revealed he gave it to Daisy as a ‘wrap present’ when filming on Normal People came to an end.
‘I gave it to Daisy and I’m not going to blame her for losing it!’ he said in an interview with The Times magazine yesterday. ‘I gave it to her as a wrap gift with photographs at the end of filming. We then came back to shoot the poster for the show and I had to wear it and it got lost in all the costumes and stuff but [it was found eventually] and I think Daisy has it now. You can call off the search party!’
The gesture appeared to be confirmed on Friday night when Daisy was a guest on The Graham Norton Show on BBC1 and showed off the necklace. She said she now keeps it secure in her flat.
Reflecting on the huge level of interest in the necklace, Paul said in his interview: ‘Personally, I’ve worn a chain for years. So I was like, “Jesus, have I been sexy this whole time?”
The show’s necklace, bought from high street catalogue store Argos, even has its own Instagram account with 112,000 followers – and a Twitter page with the hashtag #connellschain
‘I think maybe the chain thing is that it’s this absolute crystallisation of him.
‘It’s not something that would fit the identities of any other characters in the show.’ Asked if he felt unease about an item of jewellery bought from Argos’s jewellery shop Elizabeth Duke marking him out as a sex symbol, he added: ‘It’s upsetting to think that might be a reality. That people will be like, “Oh, where’s your chain?” Yeah, that would be weird, the idea that wearing a chain is no longer my own thing, something that Paul does. I hope that people won’t see me and go, “Oh, look at him wearing that chain. He thinks he’s Connell.” ’
His gift of the chain to Daisy only underlines the close relationship they clearly forged as they made Normal People.
Paul said: ‘You hear these stories about actors who work intensely together and have this great on-screen chemistry, but come out of it f****** hating each other.
‘Daisy is someone who is going to be a friend for life. I think we would have been friends regardless of the show. She’s obviously an astonishing actress, but she’s an even better person.
‘And ultimately, these relationships will outlast the success or failure of the show.’
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