Bish review of sex education in TV and film

TV Review – Sex Education Show Series 5 Episode 3

Review by Tom Beasley, member of Team Bish

Read Tom’s own blog here

Oh, The Sex Education Show. It tries so hard to put out a facade of professionalism. It’s almost like it’s running around outside with no clothes on going “LOOK AT ME, I’M EDUCATIONAL!” Really, of course, The Sex Education Show is titillation and gross-out comedy, equipped with a metaphorical condom of educational value to avoid infecting the minds that it’s penetrating. A sexual metaphor about a sexual show? I’m on form today!

As Jacob said in his review of episode 1, The Sex Education Show pretty much has its heart in its right place. It is struggling with the balancing act of providing the information that teenagers do need to hear about sex and relationships whilst still serving up a dose of entertainment and, if I must use that word again, titillation.

I have been away recently and, as such, this is the first episode of the current series I have watched. The first thing I noted was that, rather oddly, the show’s timeslot has been shunted even earlier than previous series so that the show now goes out at 8pm. As much as I fully agree with Channel 4 for having the balls to air this kind of stuff at primetime on a weeknight, I do think that full-frontal nudity before the watershed rather makes a mockery of this country’s censorship system. It’s a bizarre situation when you can’t so much as hint at the word “c**t” before 9pm, but you can show as many of them as you like. Good news for X Factor I suppose, but it does suggest that there are fundamental problems with the way our broadcasters are forced to schedule.

As usual, the main thrust of the week’s programme was Anna Richardson shouting at a hall full of school children whilst they grimace at a line of naked people they are being shown on a screen. This would be fine if they were used for educational purposes rather than it just being Anna Richardson going “LOOK AT THAT GUY WITH HIS COCK OUT!” and then winking and nudging like a Carry On character. Dr Radha Moghil almost rescues the show with her genuinely useful advice, but the show is still dominated by Richardson.

One of the things that does irritate me about The Sex Education Show is that most of the show’s hour long runtime is spent either recapping what has just happened or telling us what’s coming up later. Then they go on and on about the Sexperience website every five minutes, which is just unnecessary. Only about half of the runtime is actually made up of programming, which is not much good given that they’re trying to appeal to teenagers who have hundreds of distractions available to them at every moment of the day.

However, it’s not all bad at all. I do still enjoy the programme and some of the information divulged is genuinely useful and interesting. A particularly good segment this week involved a disabled woman who wanted to have a baby, but struggled as her condition made intercourse near impossible. It was truly heart-warming to see her delight when she found out that she had indeed fallen pregnant.

I also thought that the discussion as to how much of our body we inherit from parents was very interesting, although several teenage audience members seemed to use this solely to exaggerate their own development in comparison to their parents. Increasingly, it seems that The Sex Education Show is branching out into exploring some decent, new ideas rather than just resorting to PORN IS SO HORRIBLE or LOOK AT THESE DISGUSTING INFECTED COCKS like they have done many times since the show first aired.

Equally interestingly, in a twist to the parental discussion segment that is a regular fixture of the show, several of the teens had a surprise visit from their grandparents to discuss sex. This ended up being rather dry though as it simply degenerated to old people telling their stories about how they waited until their wedding night. All it did was highlight the differences across generations, which we all knew anyway. [This was my favourite bit actually! Loved the bit when dad said he’d been heartbroken. More of this please. – Justin, Bish]

I think though, most strikingly, the most interesting parts of The Sex Education Show are almost always the parts that are light on Anna Richardson. Her shouty, innuendo-filled performances simply aren’t needed and really dilute the message of the show, replacing it with lank attempts at comedy and pseudo-feminism.

That said, I do really enjoy The Sex Education Show and I do find Anna Richardson to be a very likeable presenter. And I do also think that the show has some important information to divulge… you just have to look hard.

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