Viewers’ confusion over depiction of British schools in new Netflix series

UK viewers have been left baffled by a Netflix coming-of-age drama set in Wales that seems typically American. 

Sex Education was shot in an old school in Penarth, South Wales with a British cast and crew but viewers have complained that its depiction of UK high schools looks more like the US.

The American feel is compounded by lockers adorned in crests and pennants that are usually seen across the pond with a lack of school uniform also noted. The students also play American football. 

The American look and feel is compounded by lockers adorned in crests and pennants 

‘Watching Sex Education on Netflix and I am confused about why this seems to be set in an American high school that’s been dropped in the middle of England,’ read one comment online.   

Another user on Twitter said: ‘Sex Education on Netflix: where the f**k is this supposed to be set? Why are they all so old? Why aren’t they wearing school uniform?’

A user on Twitter said: 'Sex Education on Netflix: where the f**k is this supposed to be set?'

A user on Twitter said: 'Sex Education on Netflix: where the f**k is this supposed to be set?'

A user on Twitter said: ‘Sex Education on Netflix: where the f**k is this supposed to be set?’

People on Twitter and other social media sites questioned the American feel of the drama

People on Twitter and other social media sites questioned the American feel of the drama

People on Twitter and other social media sites questioned the American feel of the drama

The show is a ploy by US streaming giant Netlfix to challenge the BBC’s monopoly over British broadcasting according to The Telegraph.

Jamie Campbell, the producer, told Radio 4 he wanted the drama to be different from British school dramas like Grange Hill, in which ‘the characters have terrible teeth and the school dinners are appalling and it’s the worst time of your life. 

‘I love those shows as much as anyone but we wanted to do something different here… we wanted a show that was aspirational.’ 

Jamie Campbell, the producer, told Radio 4 he wanted the drama to be different from British school dramas

Jamie Campbell, the producer, told Radio 4 he wanted the drama to be different from British school dramas

Jamie Campbell, the producer, told Radio 4 he wanted the drama to be different from British school dramas

The show is a ploy by US streaming giant Netlfix to challenge the BBC's monopoly

The show is a ploy by US streaming giant Netlfix to challenge the BBC's monopoly

The show is a ploy by US streaming giant Netlfix to challenge the BBC’s monopoly

The show’s writer said she wanted Sex Education to be like American classics like The Breakfast Club.  

‘It was stylistically a deliberate choice early on that we dislocated it from geographically knowing exactly where it was. Mid-Atlantic, American influence, but British ingredients,’ series director Ben Taylor told the Radio Times.  

Alex Sapot, the American Netflix executive who commissioned Sex Education said: ‘The theme is the universal bit. The specificity of the place or the culture is the part that makes it distinctive.’ 

The students also play American football in the series and wear typically American costumes

The students also play American football in the series and wear typically American costumes

The students also play American football in the series and wear typically American costumes

Alex Sapot, the American Netflix executive who commissioned Sex Education said: 'The theme is the universal bit

Alex Sapot, the American Netflix executive who commissioned Sex Education said: 'The theme is the universal bit

Alex Sapot, the American Netflix executive who commissioned Sex Education said: ‘The theme is the universal bit

Sex Education was shot at Caerleon, a former University of South Wales campus which closed in 2016 and Netflix said it wants to base more shows in the UK, saying it ‘recognises the talent’ here. 

Although the language used by the all British cast, i.e sh****** as opposed to sex, is akin the slang used by UK pupils, the Telegraph point out that the show is marketed to a worldwide audience, and quite far from ‘a wet weekend in Wales’. 

Despite this, the community in which the show was shot seem happy with it, hoping it could bring tourism to the area. 

Netflix also trained locals on production for the first series with the hope of them coming back to fill the roles if there is a second season.  

'Watching Sex Education on Netflix and I am confused about why this seems to be set in an American high school that's been dropped in the middle of England,' read one comment online

'Watching Sex Education on Netflix and I am confused about why this seems to be set in an American high school that's been dropped in the middle of England,' read one comment online

‘Watching Sex Education on Netflix and I am confused about why this seems to be set in an American high school that’s been dropped in the middle of England,’ read one comment online

'Why are they all so old? Why aren't they wearing school uniform?' read another comment

'Why are they all so old? Why aren't they wearing school uniform?' read another comment

‘Why are they all so old? Why aren’t they wearing school uniform?’ read another comment

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