20 'Sex Education' Behind-The-Scenes Facts That'll Truly Enlighten You
Fans might think they know a lot about the teens of Moordale Secondary School, especially since they get up-close-and-personal looks into their intimate lives. But there are always a few juicy backstage details viewers don't get to see while watching their favorite shows. These Sex Education behind-the-scenes facts provide an insightful look into the development of the series, and will probably make you love it more than you already do.
After Season 1 of the hit show premiered on January 11, 2019, it quickly became one of Netflix's standout successes. The streamer renewed the show for a second season, which was released on January 17, 2020.Much to fans' joy, the show has since been renewed for Season 3 as well, which will likely air in January 2021, if it sticks with the same schedule as before.
Fans have enjoyed watching the students of Moordale explore high school life and their blossoming sexualities on the show. And as Season 3 likely won't come out for some time, many are desperate for some more Sex Education content to hold them over in the meantime. So, here are some facts to help you stick it out until more episodes come to bless viewers' screens.
1. 'Sex Education' Is Filmed In South Wales
Moordale High, the school attended by the Sex Education characters, is located at Caerleon campus in South Wales.
2. The High School Building Used To Be A University
The Moordale High building used to be one of the structures at the University of Wales, Newport. It once house around 4,500 students, but the building closed in 2016 and stood vacant until Sex Education started using it for filming.
3. The Forest They Film In Is Famous
Another key location in Sex Education is the Forest of Dean, which is on the on the borders of Wales and Herefordshire in the United Kingdom. The forest has previously been featured in Harry Potter, Star Wars, and King Arthur.
4. The Aesthetic Is Inspired By The 1980s
The executive producers said they loved John Hughes films like The Breakfast Club, and drew inspiration from them. "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," writer Laurie Nunn explained to Thrillist.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Emma Mackey — who plays Maeve — further explained: "The whole aesthetic of the show is completely inspired by John Hughes and that '80s high school aesthetic that we all know and love."
5. The Detention Scene Is Reminiscent Of 'The Breakfast Club'
In a very Hughes-ian move, Season 2, Episode 7, features the girls of Moordale Academy in detention together in the school's library. Maeve, Ola, Aimee, Viv, Lily, and Olivia learned they are more similar than they thought, and the idea of bringing a variety of personalities together in a detention scene is very reminiscent of The Breakfast Club's plot.
6. Maeve's Love Life Was Similar To Samantha's In '16 Candles'
Just like Samantha from 16 Candles, another Hughes film, in Season 1, Maeve was trapped between two boys: Otis (Asa Butterfield) and Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling). Otis is nerdy, and reminiscent of Brian (Anthony Michael Hall) from the 80's film. Meanwhile, Jackson is a cool kid longing for love, similar to Jake Ryan (Michael Schoeffling).
7. Moordale Isn't A Real Place
Speaking to Ladbible, Nunn explained how she thought of Moordale. "In my mind, Moordale is not a real place. Even though we shoot the show in Wales, it's very much a fictional place. We see it like a teenage utopia, and I like to think of it almost like a comic book world where these teenagers exist."
This explanation likely clears things up for many viewers who might have been confused about where and when the show is set. The characters' outfits are colorful and reminiscent of the 1980s, but they have all of the modern technology of today. Additionally, the characters have European accents but there are cultural references to the United States throughout.
8. The Jocks Play American Football
Fans might notice the jocks at Moordale Academy play American football, despite seeming to be European. In an interview with The Observer, Gillian Anderson (who plays Jean Milburn) called the show "a contemporary British love letter to American high school films," which might explain the cultural blending and underscores the idea of Moordale not being a real place.
9. Production Hired An Intimacy Director For Sex Scenes
To prepare for the filmed sex scenes, the cast had a workshop with an intimacy director in which they had to watch videos of different animals' mating rituals. They then spent the afternoon replicating those videos. "None of us really knew each other and it was the best ice-breaker ever," Aimee Lou Wood (who plays Aimee Gibbs) said.
The intimacy director was also on set while filming to provide support and comfort to the actors during their steamy scenes.
10. The Sex Scenes Are Heavily Choreographed
"Filming sex scenes isn't sexy at all," said Connor Swindells (who plays Adam) in a YouTube video.
"They're technical ... we really choreographed everything we we're going to do," Ncuti Gatwa (Eric) added in the same clip.
11. Even If The Actors Look Naked, They're Not
Sex is obviously a common occurrence on this show, and production has its own ways of making it look as realistic as possible, using tiny, skin-colored underwear and cotton socks to cover certain body parts.
12. The Costume Supervisor Oversees 1,500 Outfits Each Day Of Filming
Tom Hopkins is the "crowd costume supervisor" on set, and he manages between 50-100 supporting actors on set every day. Each actor has several outfits, so Hopkins' team has a lot to maintain.
13. 1 Person Oversees The 50+ Extras On Set
Because Sex Education takes place in a high school, which is, natually, full of students, production needs to have quite a few extras on set to make up the student body.
Michael Williams, the show's crowd assistant director, books and manages all of the supporting actors on set. He puts them through makeup and wardrobe, then hypes them up to get them ready to perform, and places them in front of the camera at the right time.
14. Asa Butterfield Has Been Acting Since He Was 9
Butterfield gained worldwide fame when he was 11 for his role in The Boy In The Striped Pajamas.
15. Asa Butterfield's Real-Life Mom Is A Psychologist & Therapist
Fans already know Otis' mom is a sex therapist — that's, like, the whole point of the show. But what you might not know is Butterfield's real-life mom is also a psychologist and a therapist, and he says his IRL relationship with his mom isn't so different from his character's.
16. Ncuti Gatwa Is Much Older Than His Character
Gatwa might play a high schooler in Sex Education, but he's actually 27, 10 years older than his character Eric.
17. Gillian Anderson Originally Didn't Want The Role Of Jean
Anderson, who plays sex therapist Jean Milburn, admitted on The One Show that she originally threw the Sex Education script away. "When I first read it, I had not really responded to it," she confessed. Eventually, her partner, Peter Morgan (screenwriter of The Crown), convinced her to take another look at it.
18. Connor Swindells & Aimee Lou Wood Are Dating IRL
Though Adam and Aimee's relationship on the show was doomed, the actors who play them have an off-screen relationship that still seems to be going well after they announced they were dating in 2018.
19. Laurie Nunn Wasn't Sure The Show Would Be Successful
In a red carpet interview for the premiere of Sex Education Season 2, Nunn explained she didn't expect the show to be as successful as it was. "I really didn't think the show would land ... I don't know, I kind of felt that only my mom had kind of watched it, and suddenly everyone wanted to talk about it."
20. 40 Million People Watched In The First Month
The show was a smashing success on Netflix and was seen by 40 million subscribers in the first month following its January 11, 2019, premiere. Season 2 viewing figures have not yet been released, but considering Netflix green-lit a third run, fans can assume it's still going strong.