Sex Education season 4: Cast, release date and plot as Netflix show returns
Otis and co are heading back to class
Sex Education fans, it's almost time to return to school.
The long-awaited fourth season of Netflix's acclaimed comedy-drama is set to finally land on the streaming service this year.
The show has made stars of its ensemble cast, including Emma Mackey and Ncuti Gatwa, and won praise for tackling issues around sexuality and gender.
The new season will look a little different, though, after a cast shake-up and a change of location following a big twist in the season 3 finale.
Here's everything we know about the return of Sex Education. Beware: there are spoilers ahead if you haven't caught up on the show yet...
When will Sex Education season 4 be released?
Sex Education season 4 will arrive on Netflix later this year. A release date has yet to be officially confirmed.
The season was green-lit in September 2021, just days after season 3 arrived, so fans have been waiting a long time for new episodes.
What happened in Sex Education season 3?
The season 3 finale of Sex Education ended on several cliffhangers. The most dramatic was Moordale Secondary School, the show's setting, announcing it would close down and be sold to property developers.
Sardonic pupil Maeve (Emma Mackey) finally got together with awkward classmate Otis (Asa Butterfield) after a prolonged will-they-won't-they storyline. But she decided to follow her academic dreams by studying abroad in America, throwing their relationship into doubt.
Otis' mother Jean (Gillian Anderson) gave birth to a baby girl, Joy, two months prematurely. The results of a paternity test shocked her, suggesting her partner Jakob (Mikael Persbrandt) isn't the father – a cliffhanger which is likely to be resolved in season 4.
Three couples broke up: Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) and Adam (Connor Swindells), Aimee (Aimee Lou Wood) and Steve (Chris Jenks), and Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling) and Cal (Dua Saleh).
Another couple, Lily (Tanya Reynolds) and Ola (Patricia Allison), made amends after an argument. But Adam's mother Maureen (Samantha Spiro) chose not to reconcile with her estranged husband, and former Moordale headmaster, Michael (Alistair Petrie).
What will happen in season 4?
After the closure of Moordale, season 4 sees the characters move to the "high-tech and progressive" Cavendish Sixth Form College, where they struggle to fit in.
Otis tries to set up a new sex therapy clinic but faces competition from a rival student. Back home, he is adjusting to no longer being an only child, and trying to juggle his long-distance relationship with Maeve, who is being tutored by cult author Thomas Molloy (Dan Levy) at a top US university.
Fan favourite Aimee is feeling equally lost without Maeve – her closest friend – and getting used to single life after her break-up from Steve. She decides to try something new and express herself by studying art.
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Teasing the new episodes, Asa Butterfield told RadioTimes.com that the show has "evolved". He added: "But it's still got the core team involved and it's been fun – I mean we all know each other so well at this point, so it's a great time and it's a laugh."
Co-star Aimee Lou Wood told Digital Spy: "It really does feel different. We've got different directors, different writers, so it's very, very, very new which can also be exciting."
Who's in the season 4 cast?
The following cast members are returning to Sex Education for season 4:
Asa Butterfield (Otis)
Gillian Anderson (Jean)
Emma Mackey (Maeve)
Ncuti Gatwa (Eric)
Aimee Lou Wood (Aimee)
Connor Swindells (Adam)
Mimi Keene (Ruby)
Alistair Petrie (Michael)
Samantha Spiro (Maureen)
Kedar Williams-Stirling (Jackson)
Dua Saleh (Cal)
Chinenye Ezeudu (Viv)
George Robinson (Isaac)
They will be joined by these new additions to the cast:
Dan Levy (Mr Molloy)
Several cast members have exited the show, including Simone Ashley (Olivia), following her breakout role on Netflix's period drama Bridgerton. "I think my time on [Sex Education] has come to an end," she told Glamour last year. "It's very sad because I love them all so much."
Patricia Allison (Ola), Tanya Reynolds (Lily) and Rakhee Thakrar (Ms Sands) are also not returning. Last summer, The Hollywood Reporter said the departures were part of a "creative reset" ahead of the show's fourth outing.
Meanwhile, Gatwa and Mackey have already confirmed they won't be back if Sex Education is renewed for a fifth season.
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