|Created by||Laurie Nunn|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||16|
|Running time||47-59 minutes|
|Picture format||4K (UHDTV)|
|Original release||11 January 2019 -|
Sex Education is a British comedy-drama television series created by Laurie Nunn. Starring Asa Butterfield as an insecure teenager and Gillian Anderson as his mother, a sex therapist, the series premiered on 11 January 2019 on Netflix. Ncuti Gatwa, Emma Mackey, Connor Swindells, Aimee Lou Wood and Kedar Williams-Stirling co-star. It became a critical and commercial success for Netflix, with over 40 million viewers streaming the first series after its debut. The second series was released on 17 January 2020, and the show has been renewed for a third series.
The first series follows the story of Otis Milburn, an insecure teenager who is ambivalent about sex even though, or perhaps because, his mother is a sex therapist who is frank about all aspects of sexuality. After inadvertently assisting the school bully with his sexual performance anxiety, Otis sets up a sex advice business with Maeve--a confident but troubled classmate--to help their fellow students with their sexual problems.
The second series follows Otis who, after finally securing a relationship with Ola, is hit with the reality and pressures of a high school romance. That romance is further tested by the introduction of new students who challenge the status quo at Moordale High and a chlamydia outbreak that causes students to question and struggle with topical issues.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||1||"Episode 1"||Ben Taylor||Laurie Nunn||11 January 2019|
|Otis, a sixth-form student whose mother Jean is a sex therapist, struggles with his inability to masturbate. His best friend Eric, who is openly gay, informs him that everyone in their class has had sex over the summer, except Otis. Adam, the school bully and son of the headmaster, is unable to orgasm after sex with his girlfriend Aimee. Aimee shares her troubles with Maeve, who has a reputation for being promiscuous. When Adam comes over to Otis's house to work on a school project, he discovers all of Jean's sexual paraphernalia, despite Otis's efforts to hide it. The next day, Adam tells everyone in class, causing an embarrassed Otis to flee, with Maeve going after him. Later, Otis and Maeve find Adam in an abandoned building, unable to calm down after having taken three Viagra pills. Adam explains his situation, and Otis advises him to "own his narrative". The next day, Adam exposes his penis in the school cafeteria as a means of doing so. He is able to achieve orgasm with Aimee, but she dumps him as he is now an embarrassment. Maeve proposes to Otis that they run a sex therapy clinic at the school - with Maeve handling the logistics and Otis providing the therapy - and split the profits.|
|2||2||"Episode 2"||Ben Taylor||Laurie Nunn||11 January 2019|
|Aimee hosts a house party where Otis and Maeve attempt to find clients by giving out free advice. Otis locks himself in the bathroom with a couple who injured themselves during an attempt at sex, and provides valuable therapy. Eric attempts to teach the girls how to properly perform fellatio, but while practising a banana, one girl's gag reflex kicks in and she vomits, leading to disaster. Adam breaks into the party and finds Aimee talking to another boy; he smashes a vase full of Aimee's grandmother's ashes over his head. Jean struggles with Otis being distant from her; he feels she is too intrusive. Maeve discovers that she is pregnant and has casual sex with Jackson to take her mind off things; but he wants a more concrete relationship with her. Dejected due to her pregnancy, she tells Otis she plans to call off the sex therapy. The next day, several students approach Otis for advice. Enlightened, he tells Maeve he intends to continue with the plan.|
|3||3||"Episode 3"||Ben Taylor||Sophie Goodhart||11 January 2019|
|Otis has a wet dream about Maeve, which he unsuccessfully tries to hide from Jean. Maeve wants to have an abortion, but finds out that the clinic's policy requires someone to pick her up after the procedure; she asks Otis and he agrees, thinking it is a date. Eric is selected for the school's swing band, and clarinetist Lily offers to help him catch up. At Eric's house, Lily tries to have sex with him, but they end up playing with makeup and watching gay pornography once she discovers Eric is gay. Otis goes to the clinic early and discovers the truth; he offers relationship advice to a pro-life couple protesting outside the clinic. Jackson wins a swimming gala, but his mother continues to pressure him to achieve greater things; he is saddened to see that Maeve was not in attendance. After the abortion, Otis walks Maeve home, and they share a heartfelt hug.|
|4||4||"Episode 4"||Ben Taylor||Laura Neal & Laurie Nunn||11 January 2019|
|Maeve and Otis continue texting, while Jackson looks for ways to ask Maeve to be his girlfriend. Jackson approaches Otis for advice and pays him upfront; when Otis attempts to return the money, he unwittingly offers Jackson tips about Maeve's interests. Jackson uses the information to get closer to Maeve. Jean is attracted to handyman Jakob, who has arrived to fix her bathroom. Jakob's daughter Ola walks in on Otis when he is carrying out research for clients by watching lesbian pornography. Eric gets a job as a dog walker but causes Adam's dog to run off at the park, getting Adam in trouble with his father. Lily asks Otis if he wants to have sex with her (as they are both virgins), but he declines. Otis has another session with his clients in the school swimming pool but does not make any progress. Afterwards, Maeve and Otis play-fight in the pool; Otis gets an erection, which he hides from her. When Jackson again asks Otis for advice on how to ask Maeve out, Otis attempts to sabotage his chances by suggesting that Jackson make a grand gesture. However, Jackson's gesture (singing "Love Really Hurts Without You" to the accompaniment of the swing band) works, and Maeve agrees to be his girlfriend.|
|5||5||"Episode 5"||Kate Herron||Sophie Goodhart & Laura Hunter||11 January 2019|
|Jackson invites Maeve over for dinner to meet his parents, as they have been dating for a month. The encounter starts to go wrong when they enquire about Maeve's parents, so she sneaks out of the back door. Later, she apologises to Jackson and comes clean about her dysfunctional family, prompting Jackson to talk about his insecurities. Otis and Eric plan to attend the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch in full costume for Eric's birthday, as part of a yearly tradition. Maeve and Otis try to find out who is disseminating a photograph of their client Ruby's vagina, and discover that it was Ruby's friend Olivia. In the process of solving the photo mystery, Otis stands Eric up. Eric's phone and wallet are stolen, and he is assaulted by two homophobes on the way home. He calls Jean and she picks him up; when Otis returns home, he and Eric have a row, and both storm off.|
|6||6||"Episode 6"||Kate Herron||Laurie Nunn & Freddy Syborn||11 January 2019|
|In a flashback, Otis catches his father Remi having sex with one of his patients, leading to his parents' divorce. Following his father's advice, Otis decides to take Lily up on her offer. When they attempt to have sex, Otis is extremely uncomfortable and has a panic attack when Lily's advances trigger his childhood memories. Eric, increasingly isolated, tries to dress more "normally". He lashes out at a teacher and punches Anwar, resulting in suspension. Eric's father tries to connect with him but is unsuccessful. Adam wins an essay-writing competition with an essay he had paid Maeve to write. Miss Sands correctly guesses that Maeve wrote the essay (as does Otis) and informs Mr Groff, who is already suspicious. Otis advises Aimee, who has a new boyfriend who insists that she dictate matters in bed. Jean, still infatuated with Jakob, manufactures a situation for him to come to her house and they become intimate. Maeve's brother Sean returns after having disappeared for several months; they reconcile after some tense moments. While trying to sort out his feelings for Maeve, Otis is caught off guard when Ola gives him her phone number and asks him out. He nervously accepts, unaware that Maeve has realised her own feelings for him.|
|7||7||"Episode 7"||Kate Herron||Sophie Goodhart||11 January 2019|
|Maeve and Otis do not want to go to the school dance, but Jackson and Ola convince them otherwise. Maeve tries to sabotage Ola and Otis's relationship, but Ola is unaffected; when she tries to connect with Otis, he unwittingly insults her and she leaves. Imbued with newfound confidence, Eric goes to the dance in full drag, where he reconciles with Otis. At the dance, Otis's client Liam threatens to jump off a ledge, but Otis is able to talk him down when he gives an impassioned speech about unrequited love; unbeknown to Otis, Maeve is left visibly shaken by his speech, and Jackson notices her reaction. Afterwards, as Otis is telling Maeve that he feels responsible for the incident and wants to shut down their therapy business, Jackson drunkenly confesses that he paid Otis for advice on winning Maeve over. Heartbroken, Maeve angrily terminates both her partnership and friendship with Otis and storms off. Later, Jackson gets into a fight with his overbearing mother and returns to Maeve, professing his love for her. Adam gets into a physical altercation with his father, straining their already-troubled relationship. When Jakob opens up to Jean about his wish for a committed relationship, she turns him down due to Otis's concerns about his relationship with Ola. Otis finds a draft of his mother's new book, which details his sexual frustrations.|
|8||8||"Episode 8"||Kate Herron||Laurie Nunn||11 January 2019|
|Mr Groff finds drugs that Sean sold at the dance and assumes Maeve and Otis are running a drug ring at school. He threatens to report her brother to the police, but Maeve takes responsibility to protect him, making her a candidate for expulsion. She defends herself in front of a tribunal, but the decision is deferred. Distraught after Maeve tells him she does not love him, Jackson starts skipping swimming practice. He agrees to represent the school again if Maeve is reinstated, but the headmaster reneges on the deal. Eric and Adam are in detention together; a physical altercation between them suddenly turns into sex. Their relationship is scuppered when Adam is shipped off to military school. Otis fights with Jean about her intrusiveness, but they later reconcile. Jean goes to tell Jakob she can no longer see him but ends up having sex with him again. Otis apologises to Ola; she accepts, then walks with him back to his house. Sean has disappeared. Maeve finds Adam's essay prize, which Otis stole from the school office for her, along with a note of apology. She goes to his house but sees him kissing Ola and leaves without them noticing. The kiss arouses Otis and he is finally able to masturbate.|
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|9||1||"Episode 1"||Ben Taylor||Laurie Nunn||17 January 2020|
|Otis, finally able to masturbate, becomes addicted and his mother catches him masturbating in their car. Fiona, rumoured to have spread chlamydia at school, seeks Otis's help. Taking pity when he sees Fiona slut-shamed by everyone, Otis realises how much he has missed resolving people's sex issues. Maeve, working at a pretzel shop, runs into her mother, who hopes to resolve their issues as she overcomes addiction, but Maeve refuses to trust her. New French student Rahim is instantly popular. Jackson, sick of his mother's pressure to excel in swimming, injures his hand on purpose, which he denies to Maeve. Ola tries to give Otis a hand job, but he is unable to get erect and worries he has broken his penis from masturbation. They see Jean and Jakob having sex, and the two parents finally confess to sleeping with each other. A parent meeting about the chlamydia outbreak leads to the realisation that better sex education is needed. Mr Groff reluctantly turns to Jean for help. Maeve quits her job and tries to rejoin school; Miss Sands comes to her rescue. The real culprit behind the chlamydia crisis is revealed. Otis and Maeve agree to reopen the clinic.|
|10||2||"Episode 2"||Sophie Goodhart||Laurie Nunn and Mawaan Rizwan||17 January 2020|
|Miss Sands and Mr Hendricks have unsuccessful sex. At military school, Adam befriends two of the boys. Otis tries unsuccessfully to get used to Jakob being around. Maeve gets ready for her first day back. Jean is called in to do an assembly on sexual health, which ends awkwardly. Maeve attends the aptitude programme and finds herself intimidated by others' ambitions. Jackson now has to be tutored since he can no longer swim his way into success, prompting him to look for a new hobby. After research into fingering, Otis finally tries it on Ola and she pretends to enjoy it for his confidence. However, Lily tells him he was terrible. Maeve realises she still has feelings for Otis after seeing him at the fair with Ola. Eric and Rahim go on the Ferris wheel together; a confused Eric wonders if Rahim is gay and if he is interested in him. Adam walks in on his two friends masturbating each other and, even though he promises not to say anything, they plant marijuana in his bed, leading to his expulsion. He falsely confesses that the drugs were his.|
|11||3||"Episode 3"||Sophie Goodhart||Sophie Goodhart||17 January 2020|
|Olivia has sex with her boyfriend; while orgasming, she covers his face with a pillow. She seeks Otis's help because she thinks she has an ugly orgasm face. Adam is back and working at a corner shop. Aimee bakes a cake for Maeve's birthday, but on the bus to school, a man masturbates and ejaculates on her. She immediately gets off and walks instead. Though Aimee seems unbothered, Maeve insists on reporting the sexual assault. Jackson, searching for a new hobby, tries out for the school play. Realising he needs help to get the lead part, Jackson turns to his tutor Viv for help. Otis and Ola have an awkward family dinner at the Milburns' house, ending in an outburst from Otis. Rahim asks Eric on a date, which ends in a kiss and goes perfectly--except Rahim lives above the shop where Adam works; seeing Adam leaves Eric flustered. Aimee realises the assault had a bigger impact on her than she thought. Maeve's mother arrives at her doorstep with the baby after her abusive boyfriend kicked her out. Maeve attempts to confess her love to Otis but chickens out.|
|12||4||"Episode 4"||Alice Seabright||Laurie Nunn and Rosie Jones||17 January 2020|
|Ola tells Otis she is ready to have sex, and he tries to prepare himself. Eric's conflicting emotions lead him to confront Adam, but he is ignored. At school, Otis confides in Eric about losing his virginity. Mr Groff sees his wife visiting Jean's sex clinic. Otis's father Remi arrives unexpectedly, and although he and Jean try to keep things professional, they end up kissing and almost having sex. Aimee, finding it difficult to get onto the bus again, starts walking everywhere. Otis bumps into Maeve on his way to Ola's, and ends up looking after her sister while she goes to her quiz competition. She finally confesses that she likes him, resulting in his anger that she should have told him sooner. He goes to Ola but is unable to have sex. Suspecting this is Maeve's fault, Ola forces Otis to not hang around with Maeve anymore. Eric wakes to Adam throwing rocks at his window. They hang out at a landfill site and smash objects together. Adam walks Eric home but, instead of leaving, stares at Eric until he finally kisses him. Adam goes to bed smiling. Rahim asks Eric if he wants to be his boyfriend.|
|13||5||"Episode 5"||Alice Seabright||Laurie Nunn and Richard Gadd||17 January 2020|
|Ola doubts her relationship with Otis when she fantasises about Lily, and believes herself to be pansexual. Eric tells Otis about Adam, resulting in Otis's anger because of Adam's previous bullying. Eric argues that Otis is a hypocrite because of his situation with Ola and Maeve; later, they make up and Eric does not answer Adam when he comes to his window. Eric and Otis go on a hiking trip with Remi, where Otis realises Remi cheated on his partner Delilah and was using the trip to get away rather than spend time with him. Mr Groff's wife Maureen tells him she wants a divorce, so he moves into the school. Jean admits to Jakob that she kissed Remi and they break up. Maeve accompanines her mother to an NA meeting, but leaves in anger. She bumps into her disabled new neighbour, Isaac, who brings her to the dance class he and his brother run. Maeve learns he is an orphan who has been kicked out of his foster home. Eric begins ignoring Adam, and asks Rahim to be his boyfriend. Ola breaks up with Otis; she confronts her feelings for Lily by kissing her, but Lily does not reciprocate.|
|14||6||"Episode 6"||Ben Taylor||Sophie Goodhart||17 January 2020|
|Otis helps Anwar to be intimate with his boyfriend. Lily avoids Ola. Otis throws a small gathering at his house to prove to Eric and Ola that he can be chill, but it blows up into a full on house party where he gives a drunken speech insulting Ola and Maeve. Adam confronts Eric about ignoring help and Eric tells him that he can't be drawn back to being ashamed of who he is and that Rahim is proud to be with him whereas Adam is not. Still traumatised from her earlier experience on the bus, Aimee freaks out when Steve touches her and runs away. Meanwhile, Jean and Maureen go out for a night of dancing, where Maureen says she feels more free without Mr Groff and Jean realises she misses Jakob. Jackson has his cast removed and his parents and friends are excited that he is able to swim again. Feeling overwhelmed, Jackson has a panic attack and confesses to Viv that he injured himself deliberately and she later tells his mothers. Groff finds Jean's notebook with notes about the students' and teachers' sexual problems, as well as his wife's, and begins to print copies.|
|15||7||"Episode 7"||Ben Taylor||Laurie Nunn||17 January 2020|
|Mr Groff has put up the copies of Jean's notebook all around the school, resulting in chaos. Jean finds out about Otis's sex clinic. Ruby informs Otis that they had sex the night of the party, although Otis has no memory of it. They go to a pharmacy to buy her a morning-after pill. Jackson and his mother have a heart-to-heart and she accepts that he doesn't like swimming. Eric takes Rahim to his church, where Rahim reveals he's not religious. Jean asks Jakob to take her back, but he says he can't because she's not ready for the kind of intimacy he wants. Isaac tells Maeve that her mum is pretending to go to work and Maeve confronts her, warning that she will be kicked out if she lies again. In detention, Maeve, Olivia, Aimee, Ola, Lily, and Viv bond over shared experiences of unwanted sexual advances and they help Aimee go on the bus again. Ola and Lily begin dating.|
|16||8||"Episode 8"||Ben Taylor||Laurie Nunn||17 January 2020|
|Jean, still mad at Otis about the sex clinic, tries to talk it out with him, but this time it doesn't seem to work, so they carry on avoiding each other. Jean visits her doctor because she is not feeling well and finds out that she is pregnant. Thanks to a tip from Isaac, Maeve finds out her mother is using drugs again and calls the social services to report her. Maeve and Viv's quiz team wins nationals. Jackson acts in the school musical and, with some encouragement from Viv, is able to get over his anxiety. Near the end of the musical, Adam bursts in and declares his feelings for Eric, who reciprocates. Mr Groff is also placed on leave by the school administrator. Otis leaves Maeve a voicemail apologizing for everything and saying he loves her, but Isaac deletes the message and sends Otis away when he comes to see her.|
On 28 November 2017, it was announced that Netflix had given the production a series order. The series was created by Laurie Nunn with Ben Taylor expected to direct. Executive producers were set to include Jamie Campbell and Joel Wilson via their production company Eleven Film. On 4 December 2018, it was announced that the series would premiere on 11 January 2019. On 1 February 2019, Netflix renewed the show for a second series which premiered on 17 January 2020. On 10 February 2020, Netflix renewed the show for a third series.
On 17 May 2018, it was announced that Gillian Anderson, Emma Mackey, Asa Butterfield, Ncuti Gatwa, Connor Swindells, and Kedar Williams-Stirling had joined the show's main cast. On 16 July 2018, it was reported that James Purefoy had been cast in a recurring role.
Filming for the first series took place in the Wye Valley in England and Wales, including locations in Llandogo, Tintern, and also in Penarth in 2018. The scenes set at Moordale Secondary School were filmed at the former campus of the University of South Wales in Caerleon, Newport. Scenes set in the swimming pool were filmed at the Newport International Sports Village complex. Filming for the second series took place from May to September 2019.
The setting of Sex Education appears to be modern day Britain, in the fictional village of Moordale. Modern technology, such as smartphones, exists, but the show features very few cars from after the 1990s, with a majority of cars featured ranging from the 1970s to 1990s. Police cars seen during the finale of series two appear to follow 1990s aesthetic rather than modern day police cars. As well as older cars the show heavily features older technologies such as CRT televisions, and dated household appliances. The décor of the Groffs' house is reminiscent of popular 1970s décor; Maeve's caravan is typical of the 1990s-2000s; and the Milburns' house is a more modern décor with a modern, "American-style" fridge. Moordale High School also shows some elements of UK secondary schools as well as having a more American high school image. These elements serve to place Sex Education in an uncertain time period and location. According to showrunner Laurie Nunn, the show's aesthetic is deliberate and an homage to 1980s John Hughes films.
On 2 January 2019, the official trailer for the series was released.
On 17 January 2019, Netflix announced that the series was on pace to have been streamed by over 40 million viewers within its first month of release.
|1||91% (77 reviews)||79 (19 reviews)|
|2||97% (38 reviews)||82 (10 reviews)|
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 91% of 77 critic ratings were positive for the first series, with an average rating of 8.13/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Bawdy, heartfelt, and surprisingly wise, Sex Education is a raucous romp through a group of teenagers whose sexual misadventures are so thoughtfully rendered, adults could learn a thing or two from them."Metacritic calculated a weighted average score of 79 out of 100 from 19 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
In a positive review, IndieWires Liz Shannon Miller gave the series a grade of "A-" saying, "Again, though, it's the kids' story, with the fluctuations in both friendships and relationships pinging back and forth with youthful verve. Sex Education does a lot of things really well, chief amongst them being the creation of a high school world which feels fully developed -- realistic to a degree, but.. [with] a sense of escapism." The Daily Mirrors Lewis Knight awarded it a rating of five out of five, noting that with "a talented ensemble and explicit tackling of sexuality in young people (and their parents)", it "is an hilariously honest and refreshingly diverse comedy".The New York Timess James Poniewozik described the series as "timely but not hamfistedly topical, feminist, with a refreshing lack of angst about its subject. Sex, in this show, isn't an 'issue' or a problem or a titillating lure: It's an aspect of health".
In a mixed assessment, The Washington Posts Hank Stuever wrote, "there's the usual problem of Netflix drift for an episode or two midway through, where the plot dawdles while the writers and producers figure out an ending. Yet there's an artfulness to the material and a genuine care on display here, too -- a message that we are not just about the size and shape and inventive uses of our private parts". In a negative review, The Independents Ed Power gave the series a rating of two out of five and criticised it saying, "Sex Education suffers further for not being grounded in a distinctive time and place...Eager to please but confused, Sex Education could do with a stint on the therapist's couch itself".
Ncuti Gatwa, who plays gay black teen Eric Effiong, has received praise from critics and cultural commentators, who noted his role was not relegated to the cliché of a gay or black "best friend" stock character.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the second series has an approval rating of 97% with an average rating of 8.33/10, based on 38 reviews. The critical consensus reads, "Sex Educations sophomore season definitely has more going on, but by treating each new subject with care and humor, it leaves plenty of space for its characters to grow." On Metacritic, the series has a score of 82 out of 100, based on reviews from 10 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
|2019||Online Film and Television Awards||Best Writing in Drama Series||Sex Education||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress in Drama Series||Gillian Anderson||Nominated|
|BAFTA Scotland||Best Actor-Television||Ncuti Gatwa||Nominated|
|MTV Movie & TV Awards||Best Kiss||Ncuti Gatwa and Connor Swindells||Nominated|
|Breakthrough Performance||Ncuti Gatwa||Nominated|
|2020||National Television Award||Comedy||Sex Education||Nominated|
|GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Comedy Series||Sex Education||Nominated|
|BAFTA TV Awards||Male Comedy Performance||Ncuti Gatwa||Nominated|
|Breakthrough Talent||Laurie Nunn||Nominated|
|Production Design||Samantha Harley and Miri Katz||Nominated|
|Scripted Casting||Lauren Evans||Nominated|
|TV Choice Awards||Best Drama Series||Sex Education||Nominated|
the show's creator Laurie Nunn revealed the reason behind the decision to make it feel retro and totally makes sense: "It was a very conscious decision from myself and the producers and director Ben Taylor who is also an executive producer on the project." "We all absolutely love the teen genre, particularly the John Hughes films of the 1980s so we really wanted to make the show have the feeling that it's an homage or that it has this nostalgic backdrop [...]"