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Cardiff University Students Star in New Netflix Show, Sex Education

By Gee Harland

The show follows an awkward high school student, played by Asa Butterfield (21), who despite his own lack of sexual experience, begins to offer sex therapy to fellow students. This is from the knowledge he had reluctantly gained from his mother, played by Gillian Anderson (50), who is a sex therapist in the show.

The Netflix show has received high ratings and approvals, with many praising the show for normalizing and teaching young teens about sexual health. Sex Education covers many topics from LGBTQ+ to abortion, the shows creator, Laurie Nunn, stated that she wanted “body positivity, sex positivity and feminism” to come through in the writing. The themes and educational aspects from the show, came from Nunn, writers and producers discussing “what information they would have liked to have seen on TV as teenagers”.

So, even if sex education fails to be present in the education system, there is still a Netflix show about it, which has been praised for the educational aspects and normalization of sexual health topics.

Grace Filmer (20) is one of the Cardiff University music students who participated in the filming of Sex Education in the summer of 2018. She explained that landing the position on the show was a “happy accident”, as the shows creators were emailing various music apartments to find a choir that would be happy to be involved.

Cardiff University’s operatic society, ran by Heather Fuller, were more than happy to film with Netflix in what became a paid role on the show, Sex Education. They were in two main scenes across the Netflix series, but were lucky enough to become extras next to their roles as choir singers in the show.

Georgie Rose, another Cardiff University music student, stated: “Being an extra is a super cool way to earn money if you’re a student, as anyone can sign up to the casting agency, and get sent opportunities for work local to them, and you can do as little or as much as you like”

Filming took place across Wales, but the main scene that the operatic choir filmed, took place in a 6th form college in Caerlon. Grace explains that she has a “new appreciation for filming” after seeing first hand all the effort that goes into putting a show together. She said they were able to truly see the “magic of television” whilst being on set. Moreover, Grace concludes the filming process by describing it as “manic, but such a joy to be a part of”.

Georgie Rose summarises her experience as: “It was hilarious and great fun. The days were long with often super early call times, but overall it was a great experience! I met some super cool people, and obviously it was awesome to be doing something like that with all my pals”. 1

Sex Education covers lots of important sexual topics, which could be considered quite indecorous, however the operatic society state they received a synopsis of the series before filming and had a vague idea of what the show was about. Grace Filmer stated that the show was making people aware of different sexual issues which people should be aware of and that younger people would not necessarily find in a newspaper or online.

Friends and family of the Cardiff students involved have been very supportive, almost like ‘cheerleaders’ to the operatic society. Georgie Rose said: “My family think it’s cool, I dread to think whether they’ve actually watched the series though”.

Some friends and family have even been loved the show so much that they will not stop asking whether there will be a season two and whether the Cardiff students will be involved again. Grace Filmer states that we know as much as her, but she would love to be involved again if Netflix asked. If not, she will “cherish” the experience she had last summer and is happy she had the opportunity to do so.

The show Sex Education is on Netflix now, we encourage all Cardiff University students to watch it in support of our operatic society here at Cardiff University.

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