Gillian Anderson originally put Sex Education script in the garbage
When Gillian Anderson was first given the script for the pilot of the critically acclaimed British comedy-drama Sex Education, she immediately sent it…into the garbage. “I read a teeny bit of the first episode and threw it in the bin,” she tells EW. “Initially I felt that it was too on the nose.”
The actress believed the setup for the show — about a professional sex therapist whose own teenage son sets up shop advising his fellow students on the subject of carnal activities — to be too obvious. Anderson’s mind was changed by her real-life partner Peter Morgan, the creator and writer of The Crown. “Pete essentially took it out the bin and read it and loved it, and said, ‘You’re mad. This will be really good for you to do.’ I read it and I thought it was hilarious.” So, does Morgan get a percentage of the actress’ Sex Education earnings? “No,” Anderson says with a laugh. “But he does keep reminding me that the success of it is all down to him.”
Season 2 of the beloved Netflix series (now streaming) finds Anderson’s once-partner-swapping character Jean Milburn settling down with a plumber, which complicates life for her son Otis (Asa Butterfield), who is dating the man’s daughter Ola (Patricia Allison). “Otis becomes not too happy about that once he realizes what’s going on,” Anderson says, adding that Jean develops a few connections of her own with the kids at Otis’ school following an outbreak of chlamydia. Otis does find happiness, however, after finally discovering the joys of self-pleasure at the literal climax of season 1. “He certainly succeeds in learning how to masturbate in season 2 and takes full advantage of it,” says Anderson.
Such are the elementary lessons on a show like Sex Education. The former X-Files star insists that she personally hasn’t learned much, sex-wise, in the course of making the series, but reveals that appearing on Sex Education has altered the way she talks to her own children. “I feel like I have quite good boundaries with my kids,” says the actress, who will soon be seen playing British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in season 4 of The Crown. “Except, since playing Jean, I ask inappropriate questions. Jean exists somewhere in my consciousness. She pops up every once in a while and says things that two years ago I wouldn’t dream of saying!” By all means, educate us.