James Norton will star in Joy on Netflix

James Norton reunites with Happy Valley co-star in Netflix’s Joy, based on a remarkable true story

It was the 'birth of IVF'

James Norton will be back on our screens very soon, and he’ll be playing a very influential figure in the Netflix film Joy.

The streaming service has revealed that the popular Grantchester actor will play groundbreaking scientist Robert Edwards in the dramatisation of a true story.

Joy tells the remarkable tale behind the birth of Louise Joy Brown in 1978, the world’s first ‘test-tube-baby’. Of course, we now know it more commonly as IVF.

Here’s everything we know so far about the Netflix film Joy, which sees James Norton reunited with his Happy Valley co-star. Let’s hope she doesn’t hold a grudge as his character was devastatingly vile to her!

First look at Netflix film Joy
First look at film Joy starring James Norton, Bill Nighy, and Thomasin McKenzie (Credit: Netflix)

James Norton plays scientist Robert Edwards in Joy on Netflix

Netflix has confirmed that James Norton leads the cast in the upcoming film Joy.

Joy dramatises the true story behind the ground-breaking birth of the world’s first ‘test-tube-baby’, Louise Joy Brown in 1978. The film will show the tireless 10-year journey that make it possible.

The film is told through the perspective of Jean Purdy. Jean was a young nurse and embryologist, who joined forces with scientist Robert Edwards and surgeon Patrick Steptoe.

Together they aimed “to unlock the puzzle of infertility by pioneering in vitro fertilisation (IVF)”.

Netflix tells us: “The film celebrates the power of perseverance and the wonders of science as it follows this maverick trio of visionaries. They overcame tremendous odds and opposition to realise their dream, and in doing so allowed millions of people to dream with them.”

Of course, the three trailblazers face opposition from the church, state, media and medical establishment…

Who stars in the cast of Joy on Netflix?

Actor James Norton, 38, plays leading scientist Robert Edwards in the cast of Joy on Netflix. Of course, Happy Valley fans know him as villain Tommy Lee Royce, but he’s also famous for Grantchester, The Nevers, McMafia, and The Trial of Christine Keeler.

TV legend Bill Nighy – aka the shameless pop star in Love Actually – portrays surgeon Patrick Steptoe. As well as his unforgettable performance as Billy Mack, the 74-year-old is known for playing Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Actress Thomasin McKenzie, 23, plays Jean Purdy. The Kiwi-born star has been on our screens since she was a child. She’s known for playing Pixie Hannah in New Zealand soap Shortland Street, before she moved into films. She’s been in Old, The Power of the Dog, Last Night in Soho, and Jojo Rabbit.

Meanwhile, James’ old Happy Valley co-star Charlie Murphy – aka Ann Gallagher – also stars in the film. She plays Trisha. Peaky Blinders fans will know her Jessie Eden. She’s also played Anna Barton in Obsession, Simone Turner in The Capture, and Makee in Halo.

Cast of Joy on Netflix
Three trailblazers – a young nurse, a visionary scientist, and an innovative surgeon – succeeded in creating the world’s first ‘test tube baby’, Louise Joy Brown (Credit: Netflix)

When does Netflix release Joy?

Joy is releasing on Netflix in 2024.

Ben Taylor directs the movie. He’s previously directed episodes of Sex Education, Catastrophe, and Cuckoo.

Jack Thorne wrote the screenplay. Jack is the man behind brilliant dramas including the film Wonder, and the TV series Best Interests, His Dark Materials, and the heart-wrenching Stephen Graham Covid-drama Help.

He joined with wife Rachel Mason on the series.

Joy is an ‘extraordinary story’

Speaking to press last week, writer Jack Thorne described the film as as “extraordinary story”.

He said: “I think when people think about scientific innovations, they have a vision of how it’s done. You know, it’s in a lab with lots of people in white coats and generally [in] Oxford, this story is entirely different from that.”

Meanwhile, his wife Rachel Mason added that the story was “very personal” to her and Thorne, who are a married couple and themselves “went through IVF”.

She said: “It’s a journey we went through. You know, one in six people are affected by infertility. People don’t realise it was pioneered here. But I think it’s that mix of it being very personal and people don’t realise the trio that were involved, it was their perseverance.”

She added: “And also Jean has not been recognised, so it’s such an important story, and 12 million babies have been born through IVF, so yes, life changing.”

Read more: Happy Valley star James Norton ‘splits’ from fiancée Imogen Poots after six years

YouTube video player

Joy, starring James Norton, will stream on Netflix in 2024.

Will you be watching Joy on Netflix? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor