Sex Education's most important season two storyline inspired by real life events

The creator of Netflix’s teen drama based Aimee Lou Wood’s sexual assault plot on an incident in her own life.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 22 January 2020 - 12.48pm
Netflix

*Warning spoilers for season two ahead*

Sex Education writer Laurie Nunn has revealed that the most emotional and powerful storyline in season two - the sexual assualt of student Aimee Gibbs - was inspired by an incident her own life.

Aimee Lou Wood's performance as the exuberant and lovable Aimee Gibbs made her one of the best-loved characters in season one. This made the developments for her character in season two more heartbreaking after she is the victim of a disturbing sexual assault on a bus journey to school.

Aimee's struggle to deal with her feelings about the incident, the support she receives from best Maeve Wiley who takes her to the police station and the impact it has on the student's social life and relationships stretches across the second season.

Aimee and Maeve in Sex Education Netflix

It culminates in the Breakfast Club-inspired episode seven, where all the female cast members are held together in detention, where they share personal stories about being assaulted.

"The Aimee storyline came from a very personal thing that happened to me," said Laurie Nunn.

"I knew that I wanted to write about it in a cathartic sense. And also because I don’t know a woman who hasn’t had something - maybe not as bad as that, but something like that - happen in their life.

"It felt like something with the support of Netflix that I could be brave enough to write about."

The writer explained: "What I wanted to highlight with it is - everything happening in #MeToo, which is fantastic and amazing in dealing with power dynamics - but it’s also just about as female, what it feels like to move through the world and not feel entirely safe. That’s what I wanted to capture."

Aimee, Maeve and Otis in Sex Education season 2 Netflix

The writer said that the incident had to happen in a public place on a bus, because that brings a sense of confusion to the character who wants to move past the events and she attempts to brush it under the carpet as a funny event

The writer added: "[The incident] is not funny because her view of the world has completely changed. She doesn’t feel free and safe anymore and I think so many women have felt and experienced that. That was the grey area I wanted to explore with that storyline."

Emma Mackey, who plays Aimee's best friend Maeve Wiley, said: "It's a reality, lots of harassment happens with people you know. The fact it happens with Aimee, this character who is such sunshine and warmth - the fact it happens to her is even more hard-hitting. I hope people will learn from it."

Emma Mackey as Maeve in Sex Education season 2 Netflix

Mackey added: "There is a practical element to it. Most of us would react like Aimee. It's not nice and I'm upset, but I'm not going to waste my time on that. He's obviously a very sad or deranged man.

"And actually the fact that we are showing a practical solution in going to the police and we’re highlighting that there is a system in place for young women to seek help."

Patricia Allison, who plays Ola Nyman, said: "There is no subculture of sexual assault. All of these moments need to be realised. They’re all awful. And omnipresent. Girls aren’t alone. We just learned that this happens to 30% of girls and women. 30% of women are assaulted in a public place. And that's in the UK. This is happening so much, we need to address it and get the support network in place."

Speaking about the Breakfast Club episode in the library, Allison said: "When we were filming all the girl bits we had a couple of days together in the library. We really bonded. We had a lot of discussions about Aimee's storyline. It was really emotional for Aimee [Lou Wood]. She was in a perpetual state of sadness for two days and we really sympathised with her for that."

Mackey added: "Sisterhood and bonding are two things I would take away from this season. Having lots of young strong women in the same room together was quite magical. It felt quite historical afterwards. It felt like we'd made a little piece of history."

Sex Education season two is streaming now on Netflix.

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Photo Credit: Netflix