Wanderlust: is BBC’s raunchy new show worth watching?

Comedy-drama starring Toni Collette set to raise eyebrows with multiple sex scenes

Wanderlust, BBC One drama
William Ash and Toni Collette in Wanderlust
(Image credit: BBC)

Eagerly anticipated new BBC One drama Wanderlust finally hits TV screens tonight - and the show is already causing controversy.

The six-part series stars Australian actress Toni Collette as relationship counsellor Joy, who makes a deal with her schoolteacher husband, Alan (Steven Mackintosh), to have sex with other people in a bid to regain their mojo.

The BBC describes the show, which kicks off at 9pm, as “a searingly insightful and funny exploration of relationships”. But according to the Daily Mail, the broadcaster is “braced for complaints” over what may be “the steamiest TV drama ever”.

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Socially conservative pressure group Mediawatch-UK has already voiced objections. A spokesperson said: “We fear Wanderlust is nothing more than soft porn dressed up as a mid-life crisis.”

The show “has romping and two scenes featuring masturbation in the first seven minutes” of the opening episode, and “sees Hollywood actress Collette orgasm on screen - multiple times”, says The Sun.

Collette says she was “proud” to be featured in the explicit sex scenes, adding: “Someone told me I was the first woman to have an orgasm on the BBC… and I’m happy to take the accolade.”

Wanderlust is a co-production between the BBC and Netflix, and is “loosely” based on writer Nick Payne’s 2010 Royal Court play of the same name. The show, filmed in Manchester last winter, co-stars Soldier, Soldier’s William Ash, Fresh Meat’s Zawe Ashton and Hotel Rwanda actor Sophie Okonedo.

“It’s about a married couple in their mid-40s who have hit a bump in their sex life, where they are struggling to get interested or excited and decide to do something about it,” Payne told the London Evening Standard.

Director Luke Snellin told the Daily Mirror that audiences would be “refreshed” by the “unique and different” drama.

“The audience that BBC One brings is the perfect audience to be challenged by the writing. Hopefully, there will be married couples watching this show and having conversations. It’s good, it’s healthy,” he said.

Piers Wenger, the BBC’s director of drama commissioning, added that “we’ve never seen anything like it before on BBC One”.

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