‘Sex Education’ and ‘Heartstopper’ intimacy coordinator responds to criticisms of the role

The intimacy coordinator behind Sex Education and Heartstopper has responded to criticisms about the role they play on film and TV sets.

An intimacy coordinator works with directors, cast and crew to help plan intimate scenes and ensure the wellbeing of actors.

Conversations about the role intimacy coordinators play have become more common in recent years. This summer, Aidan Turner criticised the lack of intimacy coordinators on past projects that he has been involved in. Actors such as Kate Winslet and Sharon Stone have also said that they could have benefitted from one on set on previous projects.


However, Sean Bean last year said that they “spoil the spontaneity” of sex scenes, but he was later criticised by several female actors. Michael Caine also questioned the need for them in a new interview. “In my day, you just did the love scene and got on with it without anyone interfering,” he told The Daily Mail.

Sex Education season 4
Asa Butterfield in ‘Sex Education’ season four. CREDIT: Netflix

Now, Sex Education’s lead intimacy coordinator David Thackeray has shared his thoughts on the matter in a new interview with Radio Times, saying of the criticism: “I completely get where they’re coming from.”

“It’s the typical thing, because when I trained as an intimacy coordinator, before it was established, the fear was that ‘is this going to really just be a bit of health and safety? Is it going to get in the way of acting, or directing? Is it going to get in the way of a process?’

“But once you’ve gone through it, once you’ve actually worked with an intimacy coordinator, and had a brilliant process where you can go, ‘Oh, I found so much more detail. I can still respect what your acting process is, I still respect your directing process, and I’m just gonna give you a couple of tools to be able to go, ‘Oh, that’s a lot easier, we’ll just do that’.”

Joe Locke and Kit Connor return in ‘Heartstopper’ season two. CREDIT: Netflix

Thackeray went on: “Or, ‘Wow, with having this open communication and consent, we can go even further’. And I won’t have to be thinking about my scene partner in a way that I’m really worried about, when you’ve got an intimacy coordinator there and you’ve had that dialogue and communication.

He concluded: “So for me, I think, find out what it’s about and hopefully you have a great process with a great intimacy coordinator, and hopefully you will change your mind.”

Thackeray has also been an intimacy coordinator for I Hate Suzie, The White Lotus season two, Industry and It’s A Sin.

Elsewhere, Sex Education creator Laurie Nunn has opened up about cast departures from the show as the final season airs on Netflix.