Channel 4 has commissioned a 1x60 Factual drama that captures what it feels like for young people in an environment where sexual expectations are distorted by the instant access to porn and where the lines of consent are minimised.
Made by Firebird Pictures and executive produced by Bafta-winner Aysha Rafaele (The Left Behind, Murdered by my Father), this powerful film is set in a fictional private school: for years it was a single sex school but has recently added female students to its Sixth Form. Archie (played by newcomer Tom Victor) is the embodiment of the school – rich, privileged and an academic high achiever.
The rules of Archie’s social media and online existence are set by a ‘lad’ culture he doesn’t really feel he belongs to. Porn culture dominates how the boys talk about and describe imagined, exaggerated encounters with girls – most of them have probably never even had sex yet in real life.
Natalie (Lashay Anderson) has won herself a scholarship to attend the school – she is working class, clever - from the opposite background to Archie’s – but they nevertheless instantly bond. Natalie is the outsider that Archie feels himself in part to be. Then one night at a party it all comes to a head, boundaries are crossed, trust is broken, and nothing will ever be the same between them. But how will the school deal with the accusation Natalie makes against ‘one of their own’?
From first time writer and exciting new voice Emma Dennis-Edwards and directed by up and coming filmmaker Nadira Amrani, this bold and provocative film is based on hundreds of testimonies of young people from both state and private school backgrounds, and stars a cast of young talented actors which also includes Rhea Norwood (Heartstoppers), Ty Tennant (House of Dragons), Denzel Baidoo (Screw) and Alex Heath (The Serpent Queen).
The film is commissioned by Rita Daniels from the Documentary department.
Aysha Rafaele, executive producer says: “School should be a safe, nurturing space – the statistics however suggest that too often it can be a very toxic environment...
"We hope our bold, authentic depiction of the teenage experience will resonate with many young people and will start a conversation about what kind of education a generation entirely permeated by a relentless online reality might actually need.”
Emma Dennis-Edwards, writer of Consent says: “Whilst researching Consent I was shocked but not entirely surprised about the culture of toxic masculinity and misogyny explored within the drama. Whilst social media has proved to be an amazing tool for young people to express themselves socially and politically it must also take some of the responsibility for the misogyny and sexual harassment that has become almost commonplace in our schools...
"I'm incredibly proud to have authored this single drama for Channel 4, a broadcaster well known for bold, boundary breaking, hard hitting Television, and telling this story and acting in it alongside some of Britain's finest upcoming talent has been a pleasure and privilege.”
Rita Daniels, Commissioning Editor says: “Consent is drama that speaks to young people about one of the most urgent issues in their lives, and is told with an energy and style that will cut through and trigger debate across age groups. Emma's fresh and original writing brings to life an environment where themes of misogyny and sexual harassment, class and race, come together to form a toxic culture that will resonant with many.”