Ever since Sex Education launched on Netflix in 2019, sex therapist Dr Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson) has been a firm favourite character among viewers, thanks to her frank nature and effortless charm.
In addition to being extremely accomplished in her line of work, another aspect of Jean’s persona that her legion of fans absolutely adore is her trendy sense of style, something that they hope will continue when season three is released.
At the end of season two, Jean was shocked to find out that she’s expecting a baby after breaking up with Jakob Nyman (Mikael Persbrandt)… a piece of news that viewers are yet to see her share with her son Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield) on screen.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, costume designer Rosa Dias, who is nominated for a Bafta Television Craft Award for her work on Sex Education, explained that when designing Jean’s costumes for season three, she wanted to ensure she stayed true to herself during her pregnancy.
‘I didn’t want her to suddenly start wearing things that weren’t her. There’s this notion that when women fall pregnant, suddenly they just start wearing comfortable clothes and they lose their style and become sort of all mumsy,’ she said.
‘There’s a real thing about that in terms of when people get pregnant and then after they’ve had babies. And I’m like no, that doesn’t have to happen. It really doesn’t.’
Rosa passionately stressed her point, stating: ‘You can look just as brilliant and as fabulous. You just have to dress according to that.’
So when it came to Jean, who ‘needed to look pregnant and very pregnant at one point’, it was essential that she ‘still retain her style and her character, because the character’s very strong’.
Rosa said that while Jean’s costumes may have ‘moved very slightly’ in the new season, the sex therapist ‘still has her signature pieces’ such as her elegant blue jumpsuit.
‘I mean, she looked amazing as a pregnant woman,’ Rosa said.
‘We haven’t lost her character or gone sideways, because she’s still that kind of independent, feisty, complex woman.’
Lauren Evans, casting director for Sex Education, recalled how they came to the decision to offer Gillian the role in the dramedy after taking note of her previous work and footage from interviews.
‘We had many meetings and things and she was the one,’ Lauren said.
‘I think it was more with Gillian that we’d seen her play so many fantastic characters, but we did a bit more digging and we had a look at her interviews on YouTube and just saw this vivaciously funny, witty woman that was just brilliant and thought that she’d fit in with our show perfectly. It was quite an easy process.’
In season three, Gillian will be joined by several newcomers, including Jemima Kirke as Headmistress Hope, Jason Isaacs as Peter Groff, the brother of former headmaster Michael Groff (Alistair Petrie), and Dua Saleh as Cal, a non-binary student at the school.
Rosa expressed her excitement over being nominated for a Bafta Television Craft Award, saying that ‘it’s really nice that something that is not period costume has actually been recognised’.
‘I think that is the really great thing, because often productions that aren’t period based don’t get taken seriously in terms of awards and stuff,’ the costume designer said.
‘It’s very obvious when you look at period costume how much there is and how much knowledge there is to create it, but actually with contemporary stuff, or with our show which is sort of timeless, it’s just as equally as challenging, and often that gets completely ignored.’
The British Academy Television Craft Awards take place on Monday 24 May and will be broadcast from 19:00 BST on Bafta’s Youtube Channel.
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