Still Up: Is the Apple TV+ series Inspired by a Real-Life Story?

‘Still Up’ chronicles the lives of an independent and creative illustrator named Lisa and a socially anxious and gifted journalist named Danny, both of whom cross their paths virtually and unexpectedly. Bonded by insomnia and other shared interests, the two strangers transform into friends as they start to stay connected to one another while the world around them sleeps late into the night, conversing about different things, including their respective lives.

Despite never meeting with each other in real life, Lisa and Danny gradually become best friends and form a deep connection. The Steve Burge and Natalie Walter creation is a British romantic comedy series featuring compelling onscreen performances from a group of talented actors, comprising Antonia Thomas, Craig Roberts, Blake Harrison, Lois Chimimba, Samantha Spiro, and Rich Fulcher. Long-distance and virtual friendships are a couple of themes that are at the heart of the plot, which is also quite common in the true modern world. Thus, it is only natural for you to wonder if ‘Still Up’ is rooted in reality in any way or not.

Still Up is Based on Creator’s Real-Life Experiences

The creators — Steve Budge and Natalie Walter — based the storyline on their real-life experiences and worked with another co-writer Bryce Hart. The three of them collaborated and put pen to paper with the help of their creative minds and brilliant writing skills, and turned Steve and Natalie’s past experiences into the screenplay for the Apple TV+ series!

Just like Lisa and Danny, Natalie and Steve are insomniacs who met each other in the early 2010s on a Radio 4 sketch series called ‘Seekers.’ Instantly, they felt something click between them and discovered that they shared a lot of things in common, which brought them closer. As they started talking at night and into the wee morning hours, the two friends realized that they could use their sleep issues to their advantage as it would be quite a plot for a comedy series, different from any other out there. Of course, this was just the birth of the idea but over time, as Steve and Natalie’s friendship grew closer, it started evolving into something with an arc and a proper story. However, the essence of it all was conceived during their night-time conversations.

When the draft of the script was ready, the writers passed it over to Paul Schlesinger who then took it to Phil and in the meanwhile, Arabella came on board as well. Since the idea was in the initial stage, it needed to have other elements added, which the creators and the co-writer did. In a September 2023 interview with MovieWeb, Schlesinger shared his first reactions to the script, “I loved it because it felt very real, it felt very different to most romantic comedies. It felt more grounded in reality and more particular, and not the sort of familiar tropes of romantic comedies like the meet-cute or the guy who’s going to break up the relationship. I thought that was very interesting in the writing. And so that’s what appealed to me.”

In the same interview, Phil Clarke also talked about his side of the story. He stated, “When Paul brought the first script in an early draft, I just thought it was really original. It’s an almost romantic comedy, which then gives itself a whole load of obstacles to, you know, make it work. It’s at night, they don’t meet, he can’t leave his flat, she’s got a kid, and is in a relationship. So, then we’ve given ourselves all those problems, and now we’re going to create a show out of that. I was drawn to it immediately.” Since the core themes and elements of the screenplay mimic the true experiences of the creators, it would be fair to say that ‘Still Up’ is based on real-life events.

Read More: Where is Still Up Filmed?