Netflix's Sex Education: Asa Butterfield reveals why they don't wear school uniforms

23 January 2019, 17:44

Woodrow Whyte

By Woodrow Whyte

Asa Butterfield reveals in an interview with PopBuzz why the students don't wear school uniform on the show.

Netflix's Sex Education is all anyone is talking about right now. While a lot of people were asking where Sex Education was filmed, and what year is was supposed to be set in, a lot of people were also confused about why the teen cast weren't wearing school uniforms.

Let's clear up some basics before we begin. The show is set in the UK (filmed in Wales) and it is supposed to set in the present day. But some details still confused viewers. For example, the school looked quite American - with its locker-lined hallways, school banners, students that drive to school or the inclusion of things like theatre clubs and jazz bands.

Netflix Sex Education - no school uniforms
Netflix Sex Education - no school uniforms. Picture: Netflix

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Now that's not to say those things don't exist in UK schools, it's just that the school didn't necessarily look like what we usually think of when seeing UK schools on TV. Turns out this was quite deliberate, as the creator Laurie Nunn wanted to pay homage to John Hughes films of the 1980s and have a nostalgic backdrop. Ok. Fair enough. But, still, why don't they wear uniform? Some people on the internet were very pressed about it.

When we sat down with Asa Butterfield, who plays Otis, and asked him about Moordale High, the fictional school where the show is set, Asa revealed why the teens on the show don't wear uniforms and the reason is surprisingly simple but very important to the show's success.

"Moordale does have some special about it", Asa said. "When I got [the part] I asked Ben [Taylor - director] what's the uniform gonna be, because when you think of high school or British school shows you think of black and white uniforms and a bit grey and miserable".

"He said, 'There's no uniform. Everybody is just going to come with their own personality and their colour and everything is going to be quite vibrant.' I was like, that's cool, because that totally contradicts what you expect out of a British comedy drama set in school."

And when you think about it, what a difference it actually makes. It's impossible to imagine Eric without his colourful outfits or Maeve without her grungy, alternative aesthetic.

Asa also compared Moordale to his own experience at school. Asa, who has been acting in TV and films from a young age, said it was easy to slip in and out of his studies because his friends and the school were very accepting of his work.

"I found it relatively easy. The school was super supportive and all my friends they knew that I go away, I'm working, and then I'd come back to school - it worked out fine. I don't really have any other reference point because that was my life at the time.

"I know that for a lot of people it isn't that easy. Coming into school can be tricky and kids can be really bloody mean, so people get bullied. It happens. But I was really fortunate that people were very accepting of my "other" life."

Watch the full interview at the top of the page.

Aside from aiding the character development, there's also another obvious reason for the teens not wearing uniform: most students don't wear uniforms after the age 16. In Sex Education, all the characters are around 17/18 years old and are supposed to be in sixth form. So if it was IRL, then they wouldn't be wearing uniform anyway.