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GIL­LIAN AN­DER­SON plays a sex ther­a­pist in a new high school com­edy drama

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Sex Ed­u­ca­tion, and the top stream­ing shows

Sex Ed­u­ca­tion

NEW Genre: Com­edy Avail­able: Fri­day 11 Jan­uary Sea­son: 1 Episodes: 8 Runs: 45min TVSW says: A com­ing-of-age drama with a twist

NAV­I­GAT­ING PU­BERTY AND bur­geon­ing sex­ual feel­ings is tricky enough for any teen, but spare a thought for so­cially awk­ward high-school stu­dent Otis in Net­flix’s new com­edy drama Sex Ed­u­ca­tion. He has the added em­bar­rass­ment of a mother who’s a forth­right sex­ual ther­a­pist and is for­ever of­fer­ing him ad­vice he hasn't asked for.

Otis (Asa Butterfield) is a vir­gin with a low li­bido – the con­se­quence of over­hear­ing rather too much of his mother’s ther­apy ses­sions. His mother, Jean, played by Gil­lian An­der­son, is frank about ev­ery­thing and noth­ing em­bar­rasses her, which puts a strain on their re­la­tion­ship.

‘Jean is quirky, funny and dif­fer­ent. I don’t feel like I’ve seen her be­fore on TV and the script re­ally made me laugh out loud,’ says An­der­son. ‘She’s pro­fes­sional and well-re­spected at work, but she has real trou­ble draw­ing bound­aries as a par­ent; she just can’t re­sist get­ting in­volved in ev­ery as­pect of her son’s life.’

But Otis’s life takes a sur­pris­ing turn when he and his smart, re­bel­lious class­mate Maeve start a health clinic at their school. ‘Otis isn’t your usual high-school vir­gin char­ac­ter – he ends up be­com­ing a sex mes­siah,’ ex­plains Butterfield. ‘The very open di­a­logue at home has fed into his anx­i­eties grow­ing up, and he had a trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence see­ing his dad, who is also a sex ther­a­pist, sleep­ing with a client. It’s a funny spin on this kind of show.’

For An­der­son, star of The X Files and The Fall, the se­ries was a wel­come chance for her to lighten up a lit­tle.

‘I have done some com­edy be­fore, but even then I was the straight man,’ she says. ‘In real life I’m a lot goofier and sil­lier than the char­ac­ters I tend to play. Many el­e­ments of my per­son­al­ity never get to see the light of day and I think I’ve known for a while now that I’d rather spend some time do­ing some­thing funny, so I got lucky with this.’

And she in­sists Sex Ed­u­ca­tion is not just a se­ries for teens. ‘There’s enough nostal­gia there to at­tract peo­ple who re­mem­ber

The Break­fast Club and those who en­joyed1990s rom­coms.’

Butterfield agrees. ‘There are a lot of mo­ments that will strike a chord with peo­ple – awk­ward things that peo­ple don’t ever want to talk about,’ he says.

‘It’s not just a laugh-out-loud com­edy ei­ther, there’s also a lot of heart and there’s real pro­gres­sion for th­ese char­ac­ters. It’s scary be­ing that age, when you don’t even know where to be­gin with sex, and there’s a lot of pres­sure on young peo­ple by “norms” pre­sented in the me­dia. I hope this show demon­strates that.’

ASA BUTTERFIELD AND GIL­LIAN AN­DER­SON AS AWK­WARD TEEN OTISAND MOTHER JEAN

OTIS TEAMS UP WITH MAEVE

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