Sex Education intimacy coordinator spills tea on Heartstopper differences and first trans sex scene
Now that Sex Education’s final season is on streaming services, their intimacy coordinator has told all about what it was like to choreograph the show’s first trans sex scene – as well as the “completely different feel” of working on Heartstopper.
When you’re making a show like Sex Education, which has been pushing the boundaries since season one episode one, you’d better hope you have one hell of an intimacy coordinator on-set. That’s where David Thackeray comes in.
With his help, Sex Education has become one of the most progressive, inclusive, and sex-positive shows available.
But Thackeray has his work cut out for him with such a sex-focused show that pushes the boundaries every season. Good thing he’s such a pro.
For example, in the final episode of the new season of Sex Education (spoiler alert!), viewers witnessed the show’s first transgender sex scene unfold between power couple Roman (Felix Mufti) and Abbi (Anthony Lexa).
Speaking to Digital Spy, Thackeray explained the level of thought, care, and detail that went into creating that scene and making sure that he and the team got it right.
“So there’s the open conversations with the director and the artist to see what they were comfortable in showing or doing,” he explained.
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“At the same time, it’s figuring out what their nos were. You know, what do you not want to show? What do you not want to do?
“Because then we work around that. And the choreography is based on their consent and boundaries.
“I think what’s amazing, and what Sex Education does so well, is that the writers have specialists come in, and they work out what to put on the page, basically, to make sure that it’s coming from real sources and not just imagination.”
For the groundbreaking Abbi and Roman sex scene, Thackeray had a helping hand from fellow intimacy coordinator Tigger Blaize, who was able to move things along with Thackeray could not.
“My go-to would be checking in with the producer, and checking in with the artist, to say: ‘Hey, would you prefer someone else for this moment?'” he explained.
“That’s always on my radar, because you want to get it right, and people will feel more comfortable with other people in the room, I feel.
“And I think that Tigger gives… I don’t know what to say. There was someone more suited for those scenes, 100%.”
Thackeray has his hands full as it is, since he’s the designated intimacy co-ordinator on Netflix hit series Heartstopper, too.
When asked about the differences between working on the two beloved sex-positive programmes, Thackeray shared that, although the bones of his process is the same every time, he is particularly cautious with the Heartstopper crew since they’re slightly younger and the show has a “completely different feel to it.”
“You still come in [to Heartstopper] – open, listening, and working out what their boundaries are, and what they’re consenting to,” he explained.
“If anything, it was a little bit more heightened because you’re working with young adults. You’re working with young performers.
“I wanted to make sure that this was going to be an experience that they felt comfortable with, and that they could look back on and go: ‘Yeah, this was done properly.’
“I don’t want them to look back in the future, and go: ‘What was I doing?’ I want them to make sure it was like: ‘Yeah, that was a yes. I did feel comfortable. Look at the story.’ Instead of ‘that was a cringe’.”
All four seasons of Sex Education are available to stream now on Netflix.
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