|Created by||Laurie Nunn|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||24 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||47–61 minutes|
|Production company||Eleven Film|
|Picture format||4K (UHDTV)|
|Original release||11 January 2019 –|
Sex Education is a British comedy-drama streaming television series created by Laurie Nunn for Netflix. It follows the lives of the students, staff and parents of the fictional Moordale Secondary School as they contend with various personal dilemmas, often related to sexual intimacy. The series stars an ensemble cast that includes Asa Butterfield, Gillian Anderson, Ncuti Gatwa, Emma Mackey, Connor Swindells, Kedar Williams-Stirling, Alistair Petrie, Mimi Keene, and Aimee Lou Wood.
The first series was released on 11 January 2019, the second on 17 January 2020, and the third on 17 September 2021. A fourth series was announced on 25 September 2021, likely to be released in mid 2023.
Sex Education has received critical acclaim for its ensemble cast, writing, directing, production values, and mature treatment of its themes. The programme has been a viewership success, with over 40 million viewers streaming the first series after its debut. Wood won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Female Comedy Performance for her role in the second series and the third series won Best Comedy at the 50th International Emmy Awards.
Sex Education primarily follows Otis Milburn, a student at Moordale Secondary School. Otis begins the series ambivalent about sex, in part because his single mother, Jean, is a sex therapist who frequently has affairs with male suitors but does not maintain romantic relationships.
Other students at Moordale include Eric Effiong, Otis's best friend and the gay son of Ghanaian-Nigerian immigrants; Maeve Wiley, a highly intelligent, rebellious teen whose independence is overshadowed by her family's troubled past; Adam Groff, the headmaster's son who develops a bullying nature out of his own self-loathing; Jackson Marchetti, the head boy struggling to meet the high expectations set for him; Ruby Matthews, Anwar Bakshi, and Olivia Hanan, members of a popular clique known as "the Untouchables"; Aimee Gibbs, an Untouchable who secretly befriends Maeve; and Lily Iglehart, a writer of alien erotica who is determined to lose her virginity. The school is later joined by Ola Nyman, whose widowed father, Jakob Nyman, begins a relationship with Jean.
In the first series, Otis sets up a sex therapy clinic with Maeve to help the students of Moordale with their sexual problems. Their business becomes a success, but conflict arises when Otis finds himself becoming attracted to Maeve.
In the second series, new students arrive and challenge the status quo at Moordale, including Ola, who becomes Otis's first girlfriend. Eric helps his former bully Adam come to terms with his sexuality. Jean becomes the school's resident sex therapist as a chlamydia outbreak causes the teens to question and struggle with topical issues.
In the third series, a new school year begins as Otis enters a relationship with Ruby, Jean expects a baby in the near future, Eric and Adam are made official, and new headmistress Hope Haddon's plans for a major revamp at Moordale cause an extra set of complications for the students.
Cast and characters
- Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn, a socially awkward teenager who gives sex advice to his peers
- Gillian Anderson as Jean Milburn, Otis's mother and a well-known sex therapist who is frank about all aspects of sexuality
- Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong, Otis's openly gay best friend, who comes from a religious Ghanaian-Nigerian family
- Emma Mackey as Maeve Wiley, an intelligent but troubled teenager who befriends Otis and runs a sex therapy clinic with him
- Connor Swindells as Adam Groff, the headmaster's son and Eric's bully-turned-love interest
- Kedar Williams-Stirling as Jackson Marchetti, the head boy at Moordale Secondary School and a swimming champion
- Alistair Petrie as Michael Groff, the headmaster at Moordale Secondary School and Adam's strict father
- Mimi Keene as Ruby Matthews, a popular mean girl and the leader of the school's Untouchables clique
- Aimee Lou Wood as Aimee Gibbs, a former member of the Untouchables who becomes friends with Maeve
- Chaneil Kular as Anwar Bakshi, a member of the Untouchables
- Simone Ashley as Olivia Hanan (series 1–3), a member of the Untouchables
- Tanya Reynolds as Lily Iglehart (series 1–3), an eccentric girl who writes alien erotica
- Mikael Persbrandt as Jakob Nyman, a widowed Swedish plumber who develops a relationship with Jean
- Patricia Allison as Ola Nyman (series 1–3), Jakob's pansexual daughter
- Anne-Marie Duff as Erin Wiley (series 2-3), Maeve, Sean and Elsie's absent mother who reappears
- Rakhee Thakrar as Emily Sands (series 3; recurring series 1–2), an English teacher at Moordale Secondary School
- Jemima Kirke as Hope Haddon (series 3), the new headmistress at Moordale Secondary School and Michael Groff's replacement
- Jim Howick as Colin Hendricks, a science teacher at Moordale Secondary School who conducts the Swing Band
- Samantha Spiro as Maureen Groff, the headmaster's wife and Adam's mother
- DeObia Oparei as Abeo Effiong, Eric's concerned and protective father (series 1)
- Conor Clarke McGrath as Conor Pearson, a student at Moordale Secondary School with an addiction to masturbating
- Lisa Palfrey as Cynthia, the owner of the caravan park where Maeve lives
- Jojo Macari as Kyle, one of Aimee's ex-boyfriends
- James Purefoy as Remi Milburn, Otis's father and Jean's ex-husband, a therapist and sex addict who lives in America (series 1–2)
- Hannah Waddingham as Sofia Marchetti, one of Jackson's mothers (series 1–2; guest series 3)
- Joe Wilkinson as Jeffrey, Cynthia's husband
- Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Roz Marchetti, Jackson's other mother (series 1–2)
- Chris Jenks as Steve Morley, a student at Moordale Secondary School, who becomes Aimee's boyfriend
- Edward Bluemel as Sean Wiley, Maeve's absent older brother who raised her instead of their parents (series 1)
- Doreene Blackstock as Beatrice Effiong, Eric's supportive mother
- Sami Outalbali as Rahim Harrack, a French exchange student who shows an interest in Eric (series 2–3)
- George Robinson as Isaac Goodwin, a disabled boy who lives on the same campsite as Maeve (series 2–)
- George Somner as Joe Goodwin, Isaac's brother and carer who lives on Maeve's campsite (series 2–3)
- Chinenye Ezeudu as Vivienne Odusanya, a girl who tutors Jackson and is a member of the quiz team (series 2–)
- Lino Facioli as Dex Thompson, a member of the quiz team (series 2–3)
- Mirren Mack as Florence, an asexual student at Moordale Secondary School (series 2)
- George Georgiou as Yousef, the owner of the local shop and Rahim's uncle (series 2)
- Conor Donovan as Quentin, an over-dramatic member of the drama club and enemy of Mr Hendricks (series 2–3)
- Jason Isaacs as Peter Groff, older brother of Michael Groff (series 3)
- Indra Ové as Anna, foster mother of Maeve's younger half-sister Elsie (series 3)
- Dua Saleh as Cal Bowman, a non-binary student at Moordale Secondary School who relocated from Minneapolis (series 3-)
- Robyn Holdaway as Layla, a non-binary student at Moordale Secondary School (series 3)
- Andi Osho as Nicky Bowman, Cal's mum (series 4)
- Toby Williams as Tim, one of Jean's patients (series 1–2)
- Lu Corfield as Sarah, a mother of three who befriends Maeve (series 1)
- Anjana Vasan as an anti-abortion activist (series 1)
- Dominic Applewhite as Charlie, an anti-abortion activist (series 1)
- T'Nia Miller as Maxine, the chair of the school board (series 2)
- Thomas Atkinson as Nick, Anwar's boyfriend (series 2–3)
- Stephen Fry as himself, a quiz host (series 2)
- Sindhu Vee as Mrs Hanan, Olivia's mother (series 2)
- Susan Lynch as Tara Gibbs, Aimee's mother (series 2)
- David Layde as Roland Matthews, Ruby's father who has multiple sclerosis and Jeffrey's friend (series 3)
- Miles Jupp as an obstetrician at Moordale community hospital (series 3)
- Sophie Thompson as Carol Iglehart, Lily's mother and a nurse (series 3)
- Jerry Iwu as Oba, a gay photographer from Nigeria (series 3)
- Reece Richards as Eugene, Viv's boyfriend (series 3)
|1||8||11 January 2019|
|2||8||17 January 2020|
|3||8||17 September 2021|
Series 1 (2019)
|Episode||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|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 else in their class had sex over the summer. Adam, the school bully and son of the headmaster, is unable to have an orgasm with his girlfriend Aimee, who shares her troubles with Maeve. When Adam comes over to Otis's house to work on a school project, he discovers Jean's sexual paraphernalia, and exposes Otis as a supposed "sex freak" to the whole school. Otis flees the classroom in embarrassment, and Maeve is sent after him. They find Adam in the abandoned gym lavatory, alarmed at his priapism after taking three Viagra pills. Adam explains the stresses that led him to take it – being son of the headmaster and the reputation of his large penis – 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 then able to achieve orgasm with Aimee, but she dumps him, as she is now embarrassed by him. However, Maeve is inspired by Otis's success solving Adam's anorgasmia, and proposes 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||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 on a banana, Olivia's gag reflex kicks in and she vomits, leading to disaster. Adam breaks into the party and finds Aimee talking to Kyle; he smashes an urn full of Aimee's grandmother's ashes over Kyle's 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, though Jackson 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||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||Episode 4||Ben Taylor||Laura Neal and 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||Episode 5||Kate Herron||Sophie Goodhart and 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||Episode 6||Kate Herron||Laurie Nunn and 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, whose new boyfriend Steve insists that she should stop pretending and actually have sex that she enjoys. 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||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||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 a sexual encounter. 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.|
Series 2 (2020)
|Episode||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|9||Episode 1||Ben Taylor||Laurie Nunn||17 January 2020|
|Otis, finally able to masturbate, becomes addicted and his mother catches him masturbating in the 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, Erin, who hopes to resolve their issues as she overcomes addiction, but Maeve refuses to trust her. New French student Rahim is instantly popular. 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 walk into Jean and Jakob having sex, and the two parents finally confess to their relationship. A parent-teacher meeting about the chlamydia outbreak leads to the realisation that better sex education is needed; Mr Groff reluctantly turns to Jean. Maeve quits her job and tries to rejoin school; Ms Sands comes to her rescue. Jackson, sick of his mother's pressure to excel in swimming, injures his hand on purpose. Maeve meets her new neighbours: Isaac, who uses a wheelchair, and his brother Joe. The real culprit behind the chlamydia crisis is revealed. Otis and Maeve agree to reopen the clinic.|
|10||Episode 2||Sophie Goodhart||Laurie Nunn and Mawaan Rizwan||17 January 2020|
|Ms 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 deliver 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||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 convinces her to report the sexual assault to the police. 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. Erin arrives at Maeve's doorstep with her three-year-old daughter, Elsie, after Erin's abusive boyfriend kicked her out. Maeve attempts to confess her feelings to Otis, but is unable to summon the courage.|
|12||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 have 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; he angrily replies that she should have told him sooner. Otis goes to Ola but is unable to have sex. Maeve has an altercation with Isaac and Joe. Adam shows up at Eric's; 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. Ola forbids Otis from being friends with Maeve if she is to be his girlfriend.|
|13||Episode 5||Alice Seabright||Laurie Nunn and Richard Gadd||17 January 2020|
|Ola doubts her relationship with Otis when she fantasises about Lily, and recognizes herself to be pansexual. Eric and Otis go on a hiking trip with Remi. Eric tells Otis about his interactions with Adam; Otis is unconvinced because of Adam's previous bullying. Eric replies that Otis is a hypocrite because of his situation with Ola and Maeve. Maeve accompanies her mother to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, but ends up leaving in anger. She bumps into Isaac and Joe; she learns that Isaac is an orphan who was kicked out of his foster home. Jean admits to Jakob that she kissed Remi and they break up. Mrs Groff asks Mr Groff for a divorce; he moves into the school. Otis realises that Remi cheated on his partner and was using the trip to get away rather than spend time with him. Otis and Eric make up; Eric begins ignoring Adam, and asks Rahim to be his boyfriend. Ola breaks up with Otis; she kisses Lily, but Lily does not reciprocate.|
|14||Episode 6||Ben Taylor||Sophie Goodhart||17 January 2020|
|Otis helps Anwar to be intimate with his boyfriend. Lily avoids Ola. Otis invites a small group of friends to his house to prove to Eric and Ola that he can be relaxed, but it escalates into a full-on house party where he gives a drunken speech insulting Ola and Maeve. Adam confronts Eric about ignoring him 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 Mrs Groff go out for a night of dancing; Mrs Groff 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 prints copies.|
|15||Episode 7||Ben Taylor||Laurie Nunn||17 January 2020|
|Mr Groff puts up 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 any more. Eric takes Rahim to his church, where Rahim reveals his discomfort due to his family's escape from religious oppression. 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 Erin 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||Episode 8||Ben Taylor||Laurie Nunn||17 January 2020|
|Jean tries unsuccessfully to talk to Otis about the sex clinic, and they continue to avoid one another. Jean finds out that she is pregnant. Maeve and the quiz team compete at the nationals. With help from Isaac and Joe, Maeve learns that her mother relapsed on drugs, and reports her to social services. Erin and Elsie are escorted out by police; Erin vows to Maeve that she will never forgive her. Otis and Remi have a frank conversation about Remi's absenteeism. The school puts on a sex-charged alien-themed musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Jackson plays the lead role; with some encouragement from Viv, he is able to get over his anxiety. Mr Groff tries to stop the musical and blames it on Jean's sex education, but Otis defends her. Adam bursts in and declares his feelings for Eric, who reciprocates; Rahim leaves heartbroken. Mr Groff is placed on leave by the school administrator. Otis leaves Maeve a voicemail apologizing for everything and admits he loves her, but Isaac sends Otis away when he shows up at her door and deletes the message.|
Series 3 (2021)
|Episode||Directed by||Written by||Original release date |
|17||Episode 1||Ben Taylor||Laurie Nunn||17 September 2021|
|With a new term, Moordale Secondary School welcomes Hope Haddon as its new head teacher, who promises to get the school back on track. Otis tries to keep casual sex with Ruby a secret, and discovers a "Sex King" is giving out fraudulent sex advice in the abandoned toilets. Jean promotes a book about her experiences teaching sex education at Moordale, and struggles to tell Jakob about her pregnancy. Eric and Adam go public with their relationship, though Adam has problems with people making fun of his sexuality. Mr Groff, living with his rich, shallow brother, tries in vain to obtain a teaching job. While conducting a television interview, Hope is interrupted by a naked student running around the campus in a panic after having his clothes mistakenly confiscated. Otis and Maeve confront Kyle, the "Sex King". Ms Sands encourages Maeve to apply for a study programme in the United States. Ruby decides to no longer hide her relationship with Otis. Otis tips off Hope about the sex clinic, and Hope has the abandoned toilets demolished.|
|18||Episode 2||Ben Taylor||Sophie Goodhart||17 September 2021|
|Adam puts off revealing his relationship with Eric to his mother. Otis and Ruby are made official. Jean and Jakob decide to co-parent Jean's expected child, though Ola is uncomfortable. Hope implements new guidelines and cracks down on sexually suggestive content at the school. Viv volunteers herself and Jackson to paint over a graffitied wall, but Cal, a non-binary student, talks Jackson out of it. Mr Groff continues to struggle with unemployment; after overhearing his brother complaining, he moves in to Mr Hendricks's house. Jean and Jakob try couples therapy. Maeve asks Otis to arrange therapy sessions with Jean for Aimee, as she struggles to be intimate with Steve. Eric and Adam try to have sex, but Adam fails to communicate properly that he wants to be the bottom, leading Eric to believe he is not interested. Otis gives Adam advice on how to express himself more comfortably; Adam visits Eric and they spend the night together. Maeve has a confrontation with Erin, who refuses to speak to her, at Elsie's foster home. Maeve and Isaac kiss before he reveals he deleted Otis's voice message; Maeve feels betrayed and leaves. Hope demotes Jackson, makes Viv head girl, and mandates school uniforms.|
|19||Episode 3||Ben Taylor||Laurie Nunn and Alice Seabright||17 September 2021|
|Jakob and Ola move into Jean's house, but friction develops between Otis and Ola. Aimee starts therapy with Jean. Hope puts Viv in charge of uniform compliance, which Cal resists. Jackson begins a friendship with Cal. Otis, Ruby, Eric, and Adam go on a double date. Eric is hurt when Adam describes him as just a friend to his mother and her new boyfriend. Ruby reluctantly takes Otis back to her home, where he meets her bedridden father, Roland, who smokes medical cannabis supplied by Jeffrey to ease his pain. Otis advises Jeffrey on helping Cynthia process her grief over the accidental death of their cat. With Isaac's help, Maeve improves her relationship with Erin. Otis and Ola reach an understanding about their living arrangements. Ruby calls Otis and tells him she loves him, but Otis cannot bring himself to say the same to her.|
|20||Episode 4||Runyararo Mapfumo||Selina Lim||17 September 2021|
|Ruby dodges Otis's attempts to talk to her. Maeve submits her application to the study programme. Jean and Jakob continue couples therapy, but Jakob is sceptical about its usefulness. Lily submits a story to the local paper. Hope introduces a new Relationship and Sex Education programme which focuses on abstinence-only sex education. Otis and Maeve protest at the information supplied, and are sent out of the class. Jean struggles with her pregnancy and with finding common ground with Jakob. Jakob finds a piece of men's jewellery in Jean's house. Maeve discovers someone paid her fee for a school trip to France and assumes it was Elsie's foster parent. Mr and Mrs Groff bump into each other; Mrs Groff encourages Mr Groff to contact Adam, but Mr Groff misinterprets her words as an invitation to get back together. Maeve has a dinner date with Isaac. When Otis admits he does not love Ruby, she breaks up with him.|
|21||Episode 5||Ben Taylor||Mawaan Rizwan||17 September 2021|
|Eric and his family travel to Nigeria for a wedding, while the rest of the sixth-form class visit a battlefield of the Battle of the Somme. Eric's mother asks him not to draw attention to himself. Viv informs Jackson and Cal of a forum where they can raise their concerns, but Cal is unconvinced. Otis tries unsuccessfully to apologise to Ruby. Jean runs into Hope at the hospital, where they have a terse conversation about sex education at Moordale. Aimee reveals to Maeve she got her mother to pay for Maeve's trip fee, opening a rift between them. Jackson and Cal hallucinate after taking magic mushrooms on the school bus, creating a chain reaction that results in Rahim causing a car crash. Adam takes the blame for Rahim. Otis and Maeve are stranded when the bus leaves without them. When Jean and Jakob run into an ex of Jean's, Jakob admits he does not trust Jean and suggests a paternity test. Otis and Maeve confess their feelings for each other and kiss. Maeve tells Otis she needs time to process her thoughts.|
|22||Episode 6||Runyararo Mapfumo||Temi Wilkey||17 September 2021|
|Maeve is accepted into the programme, but the school is unable to provide her funding. Lily's story is published, causing more bad press for the school. Hope is pressured by investors and the school board for results. Hope punishes Cal, Lily and Adam in front of the students; Rahim is suspended when he protests. Maeve finds out Erin kidnapped Elsie from the foster home. When Otis and Isaac compete with each other to help Maeve, she throws both of them out. Mr Groff returns Jean's notebook; they sit down for a therapy session where Jean encourages Mr Groff to find something that gives him happiness. Hope gives Viv an assignment to make a presentation for the school's forthcoming open day; Viv secretly records Hope's dismissive remark about students' concerns and sends it to the other students. Otis rebukes Jean when she asks him about Maeve after Aimee accidentally mentioned her. Adam asks Rahim for help with writing poetry for Eric. At the wedding, Eric meets a photographer, Oba, who takes him to a gay club where they end up kissing.|
|23||Episode 7||Runyararo Mapfumo||Sophie Goodhart||17 September 2021|
|It is open day at Moordale Secondary School. Lily skips school and secludes herself from Ola, who asks Otis to intervene. Maeve apologises to Isaac, but he does not want to enter into a relationship with her if she is unsure about him. Maeve and Aimee reconcile and track down Erin and Elsie; Erin allows Elsie to return to the foster home. Hope locks Cal in a room to prevent them from disrupting open day. Viv gives a video presentation in which the students defiantly declare they are proud to be known as the "Sex School". Hope attempts to stop the video, but Ruby fights her off. While conducting a television interview, Jean goes into labour. Jakob opens up about his late wife to the therapist. Jackson and Cal kiss, but stop because Cal wants Jackson to understand Cal as a non-binary person rather than as female. Otis gives Lily a pep talk. Eric reveals to Adam that he kissed Oba. Mr Groff discovers an interest in cooking, and stands up for himself when his brother belittles him at a dinner party. He opens up to Mrs Groff, and they sleep together. Jean gives birth to a girl, but suffers a haemorrhage. Otis and Maeve make up and kiss.|
|24||Episode 8||Runyararo Mapfumo||Laurie Nunn||17 September 2021|
|Adam enters a dog agility competition. Lily takes down her alien paraphernalia and asks her mother to dispose of it; after an autograph request from a fan, she changes her mind. Hope is removed from her position. Jean wakes up from surgery, and receives the paternity test results, which shock her. Erin sneaks into the school and gives Maeve the money for the programme, but Maeve decides not to go because she does not want to leave Otis when they just got together. Jackson and Cal settle their differing opinions about a queer relationship precluding them from becoming a couple, after which they part amicably as friends. The students learn that the school will be sold to developers, so they will need to find alternative schooling arrangements. Otis bumps into Hope at the hospital, who is attempting another round of in vitro fertilisation after trying unsuccessfully for three years to get pregnant. Jean overhears Otis comforting Hope. Lily and Ola make amends. Adam forgives Eric for kissing Oba, but Eric breaks up with him because he feels like he is losing part of himself due to the struggle of being with someone who is not yet comfortable in their identity. Adam finally tells Mrs Groff that Eric was his boyfriend, and it is revealed that he wrote a heartfelt poem about his feelings for Eric. Mrs Groff turns down dinner with Mr Groff. Aimee persuades Maeve to pursue the study programme in the United States. Otis and Maeve say their farewells.|
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. As part of a video and letter to its shareholders in April 2021, Netflix's co-chief executive officer and chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, confirmed that the third series of Sex Education was expected to be released sometime in the second half of 2021. On 24 June 2021, it was announced that the third series would premiere on 17 September 2021. On 25 September 2021, eight days after the premiere of the third series, it was announced that Sex Education had been renewed for a fourth 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 at several locations in the Wye Valley in both Wales and England, including Llandogo, Tintern, Symonds Yat, Monmouth, and Redbrook. Filming was also progressed in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan during 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 including scenes in the Forest of Dean. In February 2021 during filming for the third series production visited several locations in Kent. Filming took place at Shorncliffe Military Cemetery in Sandgate and The Hawthorne Trench which both double as WWI locations in France for Episode 5. Production also visited the Harbour Arm in Folkestone Harbour to film a scene for Episode 7.
Setting and aesthetics
The setting of Sex Education appears to be modern-day Britain, in the fictional village of Moordale, with various elements that serve to place the show in an uncertain time and location. Modern technology, such as smartphones, exists, but the show features very few cars from after the 1990s, with most cars featured ranging from the 1970s to the 1990s. Police cars seen during the finale of series two appear to follow 1990s aesthetics rather than modern-day police 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 Secondary School shows some elements of UK secondary schools but also has a more American high school image. According to showrunner Laurie Nunn, the show's aesthetic is deliberate and a homage to the 1980s films of John Hughes.
On 2 January 2019, the official trailer for the series was released.
According to Netflix Top 10 global viewership, Sex Education was watched for over 447,750,000 hours between 12 September and 24 October 2021.
|1||91% (80 reviews)||79 (19 reviews)|
|2||98% (57 reviews)||83 (11 reviews)|
|3||98% (42 reviews)||83 (11 reviews)|
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 91% of 80 critic ratings were positive for the first series, with an average rating of 8.10/10. 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 favourable reviews".
In a positive review, IndieWire's 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 Mirror's 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 Times's 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 Post's 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 Independent's 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 98% with an average rating of 8.30/10, based on 57 reviews. The critical consensus reads, "Sex Education's sophomore season definitely has more going on, but by treating each new subject with care and humour, it leaves plenty of space for its characters to grow." On Metacritic, the series has a score of 83 out of 100, based on reviews from 11 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
On Rotten Tomatoes, the third series has an approval rating of 98% with an average rating of 8.50/10, based on 42 reviews. The critical consensus reads, "With a seemingly endless desire to dive deeper into its characters paired perfectly with its talented ensemble, Sex Education's third season is a masterclass in brutally honest, brilliantly heartfelt comedy." On Metacritic, the series has a score of 83 out of 100, based on reviews from 11 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Awards and nominations
|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 Awards||Best Actor (Television)||Ncuti Gatwa||Nominated|||
|Gold Derby Film Awards||Breakthrough Performer of the Year||Asa Butterfield||Nominated|
|MTV Movie & TV Awards||Best Kiss||Ncuti Gatwa and Connor Swindells||Nominated|||
|Breakthrough Performance||Ncuti Gatwa||Nominated|
|2020||National Television Awards||Comedy||Sex Education||Nominated|
|Gold Derby Film Awards||Comedy Actor||Asa Butterfield||Nominated|
|Newport Beach Film Festival||Artist of Distinction||Asa Butterfield||Won|
|Guild of Music Supervisors Awards||Best Music Supervision in a Comedy Series||Matt Biffa||Nominated|
|GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Comedy Series||Sex Education||Nominated|
|BAFTA TV Awards||Best Male Comedy Performance||Ncuti Gatwa||Nominated|||
|Best Emerging Talent: Fiction||Laurie Nunn||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Samantha Harley and Miri Katz||Nominated|
|Best Scripted Casting||Lauren Evans||Nominated|
|TV Choice Awards||Best Drama Series||Sex Education||Nominated|
|British LGBT Awards||Metro Media Moment||Won|
|NME Awards||Best TV Actor||Asa Butterfield||Nominated|
|BAFTA Scotland Awards||Best Actor (Television)||Ncuti Gatwa||Won|
|2021||Guild of Music Supervisors Awards||Best Music Supervision in a Comedy Series||Matt Biffa||Nominated|
|Hollywood Music in Media Awards||Best Music Supervision – Television||Matt Biffa||Nominated|
|AACTA International Awards||Best Comedy Series||Sex Education||Nominated|
|RTS Programme Awards||Scripted Comedy||Nominated|||
|GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Comedy Series||Nominated|
|TRIC Awards||Comedy Programme||Nominated|||
|BAFTA TV Awards||Best Male Comedy Performance||Ncuti Gatwa||Nominated|||
|Best Female Comedy Performance||Aimee Lou Wood||Won|
|Best Costume Design||Rosa Dias||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Samantha Harley and Alexandra Slade||Nominated|
|Best Scripted Casting||Lauren Evans||Nominated|
|National Television Awards||Comedy||Sex Education||Nominated|||
|2022||Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series||Ncuti Gatwa||Nominated|||
|GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Comedy Series||Sex Education||Nominated|||
|National Comedy Awards||Best Scripted Comedy Series||Sex Education||Won|||
|Outstanding Comedy Actress||Emma Mackey||Won|
|Outstanding Comedy Actor||Asa Butterfield||Won|
|Outstanding Supporting Role||Ncuti Gatwa||Won|
|Aimee Lou Wood||Nominated|||
|BAFTA TV Awards||Best Male Comedy Performance||Ncuti Gatwa||Nominated|||
|Best Female Comedy Performance||Aimee Lou Wood||Nominated|
|Best Photography & Lighting: Fiction||Oli Russell||Nominated|||
|Best Scripted Casting||Lauren Evans||Nominated|
|Best Emerging Talent: Fiction||Runyararo Mapfumo||Nominated|
|National Television Awards||Comedy||Sex Education||Nominated|||
|Televisual Bulldog Awards||Music||Sex Education||Won|||
|International Emmy Awards||Best Comedy Series||Sex Education||Won|||
|BAFTA Scotland Awards||Best Actor (Television)||Ncuti Gatwa||Pending|||
|'Scot on Screen' Audience Award||Pending|
|RTS Craft & Design Awards||Best Director - Comedy||Ben Taylor||Pending|||
|Best Editing - Comedy||Sex Education||Pending|
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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 [...]"
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