The intimacy coordinator for the TV shows Heartstopper and Sex Education has responded to the criticism that has been aimed at the role, which is now more prevalent in the production of movies and television shows.
The role requires that people work with the directors, cast and crew of production to plan the scenes of intimacy and ensure that the well-being and comfort of the actors are upheld in the highest importance.
In recent years, there has been a call for more intimacy coordinators on set, including from actors Kate Winslet and Sharon Stone, while Sean Bean and Michael Caine suggest that they aren’t really necessary.
David Thackeray, Sex Education’s lead intimacy coordinator, has spoken on the matter with Radio Times, responding to Bean and Caine’s criticism: “I completely get where they’re coming from.”
Thackeray said, “It’s the typical thing, because when I trained as an intimacy coordinator, before it was established, the fear was that ‘is this going to really just be a bit of health and safety? Is it going to get in the way of acting, or directing? Is it going to get in the way of a process?’
He continued, “But once you’ve gone through it, once you’ve actually worked with an intimacy coordinator, and had a brilliant process where you can go, ‘Oh, I found so much more detail. I can still respect what your acting process is, I still respect your directing process, and I’m just gonna give you a couple of tools to be able to go, ‘Oh, that’s a lot easier, we’ll just do that’.”
The intimacy coordinator for Sex Education and Heartstopper concluded, “Or, ‘Wow, with having this open communication and consent, we can go even further’. And I won’t have to be thinking about my scene partner in a way that I’m really worried about, when you’ve got an intimacy coordinator there and you’ve had that dialogue and communication. So for me, I think, find out what it’s about, and hopefully you have a great process with a great intimacy coordinator, and hopefully you will change your mind.”