How Sex Education propelled its unknown cast into Hollywood: Stars land HUGE ... trends now
Sex Education took fans by storm when it first debuted on Netflix back in 2019 and has become a smash hit with its raunchy scenes and topical storylines.
The fourth and final series finally debuted on the streaming platform on Thursday after a long wait, and fans have been avidly binge-watching the last instalment.
As well as heavyweight talent featuring on the show to attract fans, including Gillian Anderson and Alistair Petrie, it also launched the careers of a whole host of unknown stars.
While leading star Asa Butterfield had already carved out a successful career as a child actor years before securing his role as Otis Milburn, many of his co-stars had no major acting credits to their names.
Now-household names Ncuti Gatwa, Simone Ashley and Emma Mackey were all propelled to overnight fame on the show and have gone on to storm Hollywood, landing roles in huge hits including the likes of Barbie and Bridgerton.
As Sex Education comes to an explosive end with its fourth series, MailOnline takes a look at how the popular show helped its rising stars achieve massive global fame.
Fame: Sex Education took fans by storm when it first debuted on Netflix back in 2019, and its previously unknown stars have risen to fame, with Ncuti Gatwa becoming the new Doctor Who
Success: As well as heavyweight talent featuring on the show to attract fans, it also launched the careers of a host of young actors, with Simone Ashley joining the cast of Bridgerton
Talent: Leading star Asa Butterfield had already carved out a career as a child actor years before securing his role as Otis Milburn, with Gillian Anderson playing his on-screen mother
Ncuti Gatwa quickly became a fan favourite after his debut on Sex Education as Eric Effiong, the best friend of lead character Otis, played by Asa.
The Rwandan-Scottish actor, 30, achieved instant fame on the series and he has gone on to achieve huge success as he gears up to become the next Doctor Who.
However, Ncuti has spoken openly about his career struggles prior to landing the breakthrough role, previously revealing that he had been homeless for five months.
Back in 2020, he told how, after struggling to cope with the financial stress of London life as an aspiring actor, he didn't have a fixed address, and relied on friends to let him sleep on their sofas.
In an interview with The Big Issue, Ncuti shared that a friend had to lend him money to get to the audition for his Sex Education role, which earned him praise for his show-stealing portrayal of a gay black teen.
'I couldn't seem to handle it all financially. I was supposed to move into a new place and it fell through', he said.
'So for five months before Sex Education, I was couch-surfing among all my friends. I didn't have a home.
'I was homeless. The only thing stopping me from being on the streets was the fact I had friends.'
He went on to describe how envious he felt of the customers at his temporary job as a shop assistant, and simply wanted his 'own bed'.
Popular: Ncuti Gatwa quickly became a fan favourite after his debut on Sex Education as Eric Effiong, the best friend of lead character Otis, played by Asa
'I was looking at people, thinking, 'You are so lucky to be about to go home to your own bed.' Then I was going to work to sell £7,000 perfumes,' he added.
However, he then achieved massive overnight fame with his role in Sex Education and shared his delight earlier this year when he bought his first home in London.
His role on Sex Education has led to much bigger things for Ncuti, as he broke into Hollywood as part of the star-studded Barbie cast earlier this year.
He appeared in the hugely popular live-action film, which has raked in more than $1billion at the worldwide box office, as one of the many Ken dolls.
The film saw Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling star as the leading Barbie and Kens, while a whole host of other stars took on roles as different variations of the dolls.
And Ncuti starred as one of the many Kens alongside big names Simu Liu, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Scott Evans, while stars including Nicola Coughlan and Dua Lipa appeared as Barbie.
In another huge career step, Ncuti is also set to take to the screen next year as the next Doctor Who, joining an array of huge British stars to have taken on the role.
David Tennant will return to his role as The Doctor for three specials for the 60th anniversary, before Ncuti takes on the mantle with his companion Millie Gibson.
A trailer has already teased some of his first scenes, while official snaps have also shown him in character as the titular Time Lord.
He will be the 15th actor, and the first person of colour, to take on the full-time role of the Time Lord in the BBC series, marking a huge milestone in his blossoming career.
Big step: The Rwandan-Scottish actor, 30, achieved instant fame after the show aired and he has gone on to achieve huge success, and will soon take on the role of Doctor Who
Smash hit: Ncuti also appeared in the hugely popular live-action film, which has raked in more than $1billion at the worldwide box office , as one of the many Ken dolls
Simone Ashley rose to fame as Olivia Hanan in comedy-drama Sex Education, who was part of a Mean Girls-esque popular group of friends, dubbed The Untouchables.
The star, 28, featured in one of the main storylines in the first series and quickly became a staple part of the cast for its first three seasons.
However, she was absent from the fourth and final series after she made the decision to leave following her casting in huge romance hit Bridgerton.
She had previously appeared in a string of minor roles including in David Tennant and Olivia Coleman's hit show Broadchurch, and thriller series Guilt.
But she secured her big break in Sex Education, which was quickly followed by her sought-after casting as a leading star of Bridgerton's second series, while she is also set to return for its third instalment.
Simone portrayed Kate Sharma in the Regency romp and the second series followed her character's love story with Anthony Bridgerton, played by Jonathan Bailey.
The drama sees Anthony intending to marry Kate's younger sister Edwina (Charithra Chandran) but he quickly falls in love with Kate and the pair share stolen intimate moments before finally professing their feelings.
Amid the whirlwind success of her leading lady role, Simone confirmed that she would not be returning to Sex Education for its fourth series.
Speaking to This Morning's Vernon Kay and Josie Gibbons in 2022, Simone discussed her secret casting and why she had decided to leave Sex Education.
She said: 'It was all a whirlwind; it happened In two weeks. I sent in some self-tapes the first week and by the second I was meeting with Jonny [Jonathan Bailey] for a chemistry test.
'Everyone knew about the show and was talking about it and was wondering what would happen in season two, but I had to keep it quiet for a few days.'
She has achieved huge fame on Bridgerton after her breakthrough role in Sex Education, and told how it was strange to see her face on a billboard.
'The hotel I stayed in LA, I saw mine, Jonny and Carithra [Chandran's] face on a billboard out the window,' she confessed.
'It was so weird, in a nice way, I was really proud of everyone. It was a weird feeling, I guess. I'm just trying to live in the moment of it all and have fun with it.'
Casting: Simone Ashley rose to fame as Olivia Hanan in comedy-drama Sex Education, who was part of a Mean Girls-esque popular group of friends, dubbed The Untouchables
Raunchy: After her big break in Sex Education, she was cast as the leading star of Bridgerton's second series alongside Jonathan Bailey
Emma Mackey is best known for playing sassy teenager Maeve Wiley on Sex Education, who is leading character Otis' love interest.
She served as Otis' business partner as they ran a profitable sex therapy clinic giving teenagers' advice at their school, before she and Otis formed a romantic connection.
Emma, 27, soared to overnight fame after bagging her first big role on the show, and it was previously claimed 'everyone wants a piece of her' after her success.
A source told the Sun: 'Emma is one of the brightest stars to come out of Sex Education. The series was a breakthrough into the industry for her, and as Maeve she made waves.
'Emma's name has become hot property and everyone wants a piece of her.'
Before her breakthrough role, Emma had not been in any major acting projects and had recently applied for drama school after studying English Literature at Leeds University.
During her degree, she starred in amateur theatre productions, inspiring her to pursue acting as a career. A year after applying to drama schools, she landed an agent.
And just six months later, Emma - who grew up in northwest France - was amazingly cast in Sex Education after five rounds of auditions.
At the time, Emma was working as a translator and living with friends and family to save money.
'When I got off the phone I burst into tears and did a clichéd squeal,' she said. 'I called my mum and pretended to be very, very cool. Like, 'Yeah, got this role, it's no big thing'.'
Since rising to fame on Sex Education, Emma has gone on to bag herself a whole host of leading roles in high-profile movies.
Breakthrough role: Emma Mackey is best known for playing sassy teenager Maeve Wiley on Sex