A Sex And The City pre­quel about the teenage Car­rie Brad­shaw’s life in small­town Amer­ica has di­vided the States – and now it’s on the way here

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FEATURE -

ex And The City fans will know all about the idio­syn­cra­sies that made Car­rie Brad­shaw one of the quirkier fe­male char­ac­ters on TV. What they might not know is that be­fore Mr Big and Manolo Blah­niks came along, our bare­legged heroine oc­ca­sion­ally wore tights, en­joyed a close re­la­tion­ship with her fam­ily and, most sur­pris­ingly of all, even used the oven for its in­tended pur­pose rather than as stor­age for her sweaters.

So says The Car­rie Di­aries, the muchan­tic­i­pated pre­quel to the phe­nom­e­nally suc­cess­ful Sex And The City, a se­ries that ran for six years and turned its four fe­male leads — Sarah Jessica Parker as Car­rie, Kim Cat­trall as Sa­man­tha, Cyn­thia Nixon as Mi­randa and Kristin Davis as Char­lotte — into world­wide stars. But when the se­ries ended in 2004, later spawn­ing two com­mer­cially (if not crit­i­cally) suc­cess­ful films, it left a Sex And The City-shaped void — one the mak­ers of The Car­rie Di­aries are hop­ing to fill.

The new show, which stars 19-year- old An­naSophia Robb as a teenage Car­rie, has just fin­ished its 13-episode run in the States and has strongly di­vided au­di­ences, not least two of the women most in­vested in the Car­rie Brad­shaw char­ac­ter — Sarah Jessica Parker and Can­dace Bush­nell, an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer on The Car­rie Di­aries and author of the nov­els on which both Sex And The City and The Car­rie Di­aries are based.

In an in­ter­view this month, Sarah Jessica poured cold wa­ter on The Car­rie Di­aries, say­ing, ‘I’m not sure... An­naSophia is a lovely girl, but it’s... odd.’ In re­sponse, Bush­nell urged view­ers to give the show a chance, re­mark­ing that if any­one should un­der­stand the dif­fi­cul­ties of step­ping into the shoes of an iconic char­ac­ter pre­vi­ously played by some­one else, it should be Sarah Jessica. ‘Her first part had been some­body else’s. She played An­nie on Broad­way. She knows how th­ese things work.’ Can­dace also used the op­por­tu­nity to make it clear she wasn’t a fan of how Car­rie had evolved, say­ing, ‘Sarah Jessica Parker is 48. Car­rie Brad­shaw couldn’t be an in­génue any more. But I think they were stuck do­ing what the au­di­ence wanted. Re­al­is­ti­cally, a mid­dleaged woman who was mar­ried with­out chil­dren would be much more fo­cused on her ca­reer and less fo­cused on Mr Big.’

But even if SJP is luke­warm about the new show, she did man­age to send An­naSophia Robb a note be­fore its launch. ‘It was a lovely let­ter,’ says An­naSophia, ‘giv­ing me her

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