Sex Education is Netflix's smash-hit teen sex comedy series which has brought a sex positive outlook on teen (and parent) life onto our screens.
Set in the fictional town of Moordale, the show has received glowing reviews for its ensemble comedy cast, its bold direction nd production, and its mature approach to sensitive and often controversial themes. Sex Education won Best Comedy Series at the Emmy Awards.
Where was Sex Education filmed?
Sex Education has the flavour of a quintessential English country drama which has somehow been combined with small-town America. The show feels both quaint and otherworldly. So how have the production team achieved this?
The setting is deliberately ambiguous, a trick Netflix have deployed before to give their stories broader appeal and a timeless quality. The lack of specificity lets audiences feel familiar with everything that's happening on screen.
Conde Naste Traveller noted: "Much has been made about Sex Education's mid-Atlantic tone, but it’s no mistake. Writer Laurie Nunn has gone on record to say it was a tribute to the Eighties films of John Hughes such as The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, while producer Jamie Campbell told Radio 4 the aim was to be less Grange Hill and more ‘aspirational’.
"That means the Caerleon corridors are decorated with banners and wall lockers, as well as why school prefects wear letter jackets and the jocks play American football rather than football football.
Let's take a tour through some of the key locations and their real-life counterparts:
Otis and Jean's House - Fans can stay at this location which is actually the Chalet Symonds Yat, a holiday spot
Adam's Farm - This location from the new series is set on the real-life Werngochlyn Farm on the English-Welsh border
Ola's House - Another home up for rent is the house of Ola and her father Jakob, a rental property called Blistors Farm The Bull Pen in Coleford in the Forest of Dean
Moordale Secondary School - Gone but not forgotten, this fictional high school was filmed at Caerleon Campus in Wales, once part of the University of Wales
Cavendish Sixth Form College - Another spot Welsh viewers might recognise, the new school is actually St Fagans National Museum of History
Wallace University - This fictional school in America, which plays host to Maeve, uses Westonbirt School near Bristol as its set
Eric's Bridge - The gorgeous Duke of Beaufort Iron Bridge near the Monmouth Viaduct serves as a key location in the series
What happens in Sex Education Season 4?
Netflix has released the official season four Sex Education trailer which looks at the romantic relationship between characters Maeve Wiley and Otis Milburn.
The sex positive series follows protagonist Otis, who became a self-proclaimed sex therapist at Moordale Secondary School in season one.
In season three, Otis and Maeve shared a kiss but the series ended with Maeve saying goodbye to Otis after announcing that she would be leaving for America to study.
The new trailer shows clips of Maeve and Otis texting each other from afar and scenes of Otis and other characters at their new school – Cavendish Sixth Form College.
One clip suggests that Otis will be competing with another sex therapist on campus and the teenager also expresses difficulty in being so far away from Maeve.
He is seen telling her on the phone: “I feel like I’m getting left behind and I don’t know that you’re coming back.”
Elsewhere in the trailer, Otis’s mother, sex therapist Jean Milburn, comforts her newborn baby and Otis is seen holding a bunch of flowers as the camera pans to Maeve, who is walking down the street.
The new trailer asks viewers to get their “tissues ready” and says “let’s finish together”.
Joining the cast for the final season will be Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy, Doctor Who’s Thaddea Graham, Somewhere Boy actress Lisa McGrillis, Kamikaze’s Marie Reuther, actress and model Jodie Turner-Smith and comedian Eshaan Akbar.
Sex Education stars Gatwa, Mackey and Connor Swindells featured in the Greta Gerwig film Barbie, which was released earlier in the year, and in 2022 it was announced that Gatwa would be the next Doctor Who.
Why does Sex Education look like the 80s?
Fans of Sex Education might have noticed something curious about the costumes on the hit Netflix show.
The eclectic fashion of the cast of characters seems to have no specific era.
Eighties prints mix and match with grungey Nineties-inspired looks, topped off with the occasional Noughties accent – and this is all purposeful.
“It gives it it’s own individuality,” costume designer Daniella Pearman , who worked on the show for its fourth and final season, told PA's Prudence Wade.
“I do feel like people watching it can feel like: We can be anyone we want to be, we can dress how we want, we don’t all have to own the same snazzy phone or the same designer wardrobe, because everyone can be in their own little world like Moordale [School, where many of the characters were enrolled for seasons one to three].”
With the new season comes new challenges for the characters and new locations – meaning tweaks were made to the costumes to help tell the story.
At the end of season three, Moordale shut down – so now, many of the central characters have relocated to the progressive Cavendish Sixth Form College, which is eco-friendly, technologically advanced and on a much bigger scale than the Moordale students are used to.
“From the beginning, we wanted them to look like their normal Moordale [selves], because it’s only been about eight weeks since the end of the third series,” Pearman, 42, says.
“We wanted them to be walking into this new environment and looking like it’s all quite alien to them, that they’re these small fish in this massive pond.”
The other big change – which was teased at the end of the last series – is Maeve moving to school in America.
“It’s another different environment from Moordale – very much grown-up compared to Moordale. With her, we didn’t want to totally change her look. We wanted to mature it slightly, but still have the elements of Maeve.
“So the leather jacket, the boots, the fishnet tights – but we had a new vintage leather jacket, new vintage cowboy boots that she might have picked up in a thrift store. Maybe she’s had influences from her new group of friends.”
Eric’s style also follows his character arc as he makes a new group of friends, as does Aimee’s (played by Aimee Lou Wood), “As she’s opening herself up to new things, post everything that had happened to her in her past”, Pearman says.
“She joins art class and becomes a photographer, and we got this brilliant, arty feel to her.”
However, not everyone had a costume glow-up. “The only one I don’t think really changes dramatically is Otis – but why should he? He’s still trying to find himself, he’s pining for Maeve, he’s been looking after his newborn sister, looking after his mum – he’s not had time to evolve.”
As Otis joins the new school and finds a rival sex therapist, Pearman did give him new chinos and put him in a shirt – but it’s small tweaks, rather than anything dramatic.
“When people watch it, that enables the story. It’s not jarring, but shows we had fun developing those characters through their costume.”
Vintage is a running theme throughout the costumes, with Pearman saying: “We tried to be as sustainable as we could” – particularly as the new school puts the environment front and centre.
“We did shop in vintage stores and charity shops, and stuff is hired from costume houses. Then there’s stuff that has to be bought, because you don’t have the choice or time to have stuff made."
Is Season 4 the final series of Sex Education on Netflix?
Sex Education is set to end after this, the fourth series, Netflix has confirmed
The one-minute trailer also sees the return of Mackey, who plays wild child Maeve Wiley, Gatwa who stars as Otis’ best friend Eric Effiong and Anderson as Jean Milburn, Otis’s mother and professional sex therapist.
The video promises more bad behaviour and sexually-centred plot lines as well as Connor Swindells reprising his role as Adam Groff, the headmaster’s son and Eric’s former bully-turned-love interest and Aimee Lou Wood as Aimee Gibbs.
The final series will see the cast face a new frontier as the students move to Cavendish Sixth Form College following the closure of Moordale Secondary.
They all want to get off on the right foot, with Eric hoping their gain some popularity this time round while Otis is nervous about setting up a new sex advice clinic.
However, the new school set to be a culture shock for all the Moordale students as it pushes the boundaries even further with daily yoga sessions, a focus on sustainability and the popular group have evolved from the noughties stereotypes and are known for being kind.
Meanwhile in the US, Maeve is living her dream at prestigious Wallace University, being taught by cult author Thomas Molloy.
Over the years, the programme has been praised by viewers for its frank depiction of sex and teenage emotion
In a letter to fans, series creator, lead writer and executive producer, Laurie Nunn, said: “We are incredibly proud of Sex Education and feel indebted to our brilliant writers, cast and crew who put so much heart into making every episode.
“They have worked tirelessly to bring you the final series, and we can’t wait to share it with you.”
Additional reporting by PA