The sex scenes were shot with the assistance of Ita O’Brien, intimacy co-ordinator on Normal People and Sex Education. “She’ll overrule anyone to protect you,” Essiedu says. “This show asks challenging questions about consent across the full spectrum of orientations, genders and sexual preferences, so we need to be sure what we’re consenting to as well.”
The focus on sexual consent – without a condom, while high, while on a period – ensures that few of the many explicit encounters end in the way you might assume at the outset. Each one demands that the viewer musters their own interpretation of what happened. It will probably present a challenge to BBC1’s traditional audience – all the more reason, argues Essiedu, for them to show it.
“Michaela’s so great at getting across simple, universal situations that are ignored by the mainstream. It’s vital people have conversations off the back of it.”
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