Netflix’s Sex Education jocks and cheerleaders (raised in the Welsh valleys)

Netflix's Sex Education jocks and cheerleaders (raised in the Welsh valleys)

The high school campus is bathed in golden sunshine, the kids play American football on the lawns and varsity jackets are the cool uniform of choice.

Welcome to British school life according to Netflix.

Sex Education is a comic coming-of-age drama starring Gillian Anderson as a sex therapist and Asa Butterfield as her mortified teenage son. It is also an attempt by the US streaming giant to steal the BBC’s crown as the home of British-made entertainment.

The series was filmed in Penarth, South Wales, with a British cast and crew. But the first viewers of the show, which launched this weekend, were left baffled by the curious interpretation of the British education system.

“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 typical comment online.

The answer lies in Netflix’s ambitions to take on the BBC, which has sought to position itself as a broadcaster that invests in British ideas and talent while painting US rivals as tech companies that commission by algorithm.

Netflix wants to show a commitment to making shows in Britain while marketing them to a global audience more attuned to US high school movies than a wet weekend in South Wales.

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