Netflix is putting “Sex Education” on the curriculum, with an order for a new coming-of-age comedy drama out of the U.K.
“Sex Education” will follow an awkward teen, Otis Thompson, who lives with his mom, a sex therapist. Although Otis is still a virgin, his mother’s work and openness turns him into an unwitting expert, and when his schoolmates find out, he teams up with street-smart Maeve to set up an underground therapy clinic for teens.
The series heads into production next spring and will bow on Netflix globally in 2019. The show was created by Laurie Nunn, an emerging writer-director, and will be directed by Ben Taylor (“Catastrophe”). Jamie Campbell and Joel Wilson, co-founders of Eleven, will executive produce.
“It pretends to be a show about sex but it’s actually a romantic and funny show about love,” Campbell told Variety. “It’s an antidote to shows that present the teenage experience of sex as superhumanly confident and experimental. Our characters have an endless supply of sexual problems that need to be solved. Otis has the expertise to provide the answers, but has problems of his own, starting with the fact that he’s never had sex himself.
“It’s unflinching in its treatment of sex, but it’s not gratuitous. We want to move on the conversation about attitudes towards sex and identity.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Eleven team, creator Laurie Nunn, and executive producer and director Ben Taylor to bring ‘Sex Education’ – a distinctive, fresh and witty examination of the universally awkward teenage experience – to our members around the world,” said Cindy Holland, vice president of original content at Netflix.
Eleven is the U.K. indie behind Sky series “The Enfield Haunting” and the E4 shows “Gap Year” and “Glue.” It has received backing from Channel 4’s Growth Fund and is making real-life ghost stories show “True Horror” for the British broadcaster, but remains independent.
In the past year the production company has added former ITV commissioner Jane Hudson, former NBCU exec Dan Cheesbrough, and producer Kate Murrell to its ranks.
Netflix is moving more heavily into local commissions. In the U.K., “The Crown” is its highest-profile original, and it is working with the BBC on co-productions “Troy: Fall of a City” and “Shame.”
The U.S. streamer also confirmed Tuesday that it has ordered a second season of “Free Rein,” the tween drama about a girl and her horse, which is filmed in the U.K. The series is produced by All3Media production company Lime Pictures.