This mother and son claim they are the real-life Otis and Jean Milburn from Netflix’s Sex Education – after they launched an X-rated podcast discussing the ‘birds and the bees’.
Diggory Waite, from Islington, London, was stunned when he first watched season one of the raunchy Netflix teenage comedy where Otis (Asa Butterfield), who grew up with his sex therapist mum Jean (Gillian Anderson) dispenses sex advice for cash at school, using what he learned from his mother’s profession.
Diggory has grown up talking about sex openly with his mother Cate Campbell, just like the geeky character in the hit series, even getting a name for himself among his friends, who came to him with their dating woes.
When he started a new job as a podcast producer last year, Diggory decided to use his unique upbringing to pitch a podcast idea called The Real Sex Education, which has now already in its third season.
Now Diggory and Cate hope their unflappable approach to ‘the birds and the bees’ will prove talking about sex never has to be ‘scary or weird’ – even if it’s with your own parents.
Diggory Waite, 25 and his mother Cate Campbell, from Islington, London, pictured. claim they are the real life Sex Education and launched a X-rated podcast where they openly discuss sex and answers people questions
In the Netflix hit show, Asa Butterfield plays Otis, a teenager who dispenses sexual advice in school. Gillian Anderson, left, plays his mother Jean Milburn, who is a sexual therapist
Diggory said: ‘The TV show came out and mum and I saw striking similarities. Obviously, Otis is a weird name, Diggory is a weird name. [We’re] both white boys who can’t get laid themselves but help their friends to.
‘At school, I was constantly telling people this, that and the other. I kept going home to mum and saying ‘mum, [this person] has had this happen]’. It was just like the show.
‘They’d ask me these questions and I answered. That was back then. The TV show has done well but I didn’t really watch it because it was like watching my own life. I already know what it’s like – I’m already living it.
‘I’ve watched a few episodes, it’s great, but I’d think I’ve literally lived this before, what am I doing here?’
Diggory started a new role and moved back in with his mum during lockdown, at which time he suggested The Real Sex Education.
Diggory said: ‘When lockdown happened, I’d just joined a new company that was setting up a new podcast department. They said ‘to kick us off, do you want to pitch us some of your podcast ideas?’
‘I went to go live with my mum again for a bit. Every day we’d go on our hourly scheduled walks. She’s a sex therapist, I’m interested in sex and relationships and we talked about it the whole way round.
‘People probably thought ‘what the hell is going on there’ when they heard snippets of our conversation. I thought I’d pitch something because I’d just joined this new company. I knew there was legs to it – I know people find it interesting, I find it interesting.
Diggory said he immediately saw similarities between the Netflix show and his own life. He said his friends thought his mother was ‘cool’ when he was a teen
‘Mum’s advice was so helpful to me and my friends. Now, we’re on season three. We want to show it doesn’t have to be scary or weird to talk to anyone about sex and when we do, we can learn a lot more than we did from school.’
Just like in the series, Diggory claims his mates thought his mum’s job was ‘cool’ and had heaps of questions for him as they navigated their own relationships.
He even claims on one occasion his friend thought it was ‘mental’ that they talked about sex over dinner, as his own family wouldn’t even discuss it at all.
Diggory said: ‘At school, I never got bullied. People thought it was cool. When kids would come round my house, they couldn’t believe that we were talking about sex at the table.
‘My friend was like ‘this is mental’. Sex wouldn’t be uttered about in his house – especially not at the table.
In the show, Jean Milburn is a sex therapist who is particularly interested in Otis’s sexua; development and love life (pictured in series 3)
‘Mum was very open whenever sex came up, it wasn’t something she shied away from and I really benefited as a result.
‘Everyone loves it. Some people didn’t really understand what a sex therapist was, I don’t think they still do to be honest.
‘Some of my friends, even to this day, have questions. They’ll ask me and I’ll tell them stuff. It’s quite helpful.’
While in Sex Education, Jean Milburn’s home is littered with erotic art and literature, Diggory claims his home was pretty normal – apart from his mum’s phallic diagrams on her computer screensaver.
Diggory said: ‘Our house is normal and ordinary. However, mum does sex therapy and teaches it, so she’s got lots of diagrams and pictures on her computer.
‘When I was a kid, I’d walk past the study. The screensaver would be on and there’d be pictures. Pictures of us on holiday, pictures of mum’s mum when she was younger, then just a penis. Just a cross section of a penis with everything labelled.
Growing up, Diggory, left, discussed sex openly at home and would advice his friends on their sex life
‘There’s no ornaments and in case she was being very secretive, not a string of men either, which I know Gillian Anderson has in the series.’
Now the pair have aired 21 episodes with the likes of The Chase’s Paul Sinha and YouTuber Hannah Witton as guests on the podcast.
Diggory said: ‘It’s funny because everyone we speak to has said their sex education was s***.
‘It’s not great. What you need is two things – the actual science stuff and also the stuff that’s real life.
‘What would be useful is for you to tell me is how to put a condom on or about consent.
In the show, Jean’s advice on Otis’ sex life is often unwelcomed. But Diggory said he’s benefitted from his mother’s opinion in real life (pictured: Gilliam Anderson as Jean in the show)
Pictured: Otis and Jean in the latest series of Sex Education. Diggory said the show reflected what happened in real life when it came to sexual education in school
‘On the podcast, people often reference ‘the chat’. It’s often this big event and it’s better that than people being like ‘don’t talk about it at all’, however my mum’s approach was that it was a series of chats and an open dialogue that never ends.
‘Imagine you sit down with your son or daughter, you give them chat and as you walk away think ‘I forgot to mention that’, but think ‘oh well, we’ve had the chat now – I can’t go back’.
‘It’s strikingly similar to the TV show in that we had sex education, learned about fallopian tubes and so much about reproduction – all things that for the most part I’ve not thought about again – yet while that was all going on, my mates would come up to me and say ‘I’ve got this going down – what does your mum think?’
‘A lot of people say ‘well do you talk to your mum about your sex life?’ Absolutely not – that’s too personal. You can talk about sex in general terms.
‘There won’t be any personal stories on the podcast, though one or two sometimes creep between the cracks.’
Cate, who has worked as a sex therapist for 15 years, claims when Diggory first came to her with the idea for the podcast, she was eager to give it a go – looking forward to covering important issues often left off the curriculum.
Cate Campbell, from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, said: ‘It wasn’t a huge surprise when Diggory came to me with this idea.
‘When the Netflix series came out, we said ‘oh god, it’s us’ straight away. It’s not that we’re the same, we’re very different, but Diggory was giving out information to people [when younger] and always coming along and asking me advice.
‘When he went to work at his new job, he said ‘could we do this?’ I said ‘of course we could’. Before I knew it it was happening – and it was fun.
‘When we first started we were just thinking it was about opening up the subject and genuinely giving more information than most of the people we were talking to had in school.
‘In the time I’ve been working as a sex therapist, about 15 years, sex education has changed massively.
‘We got such a great response that we started to hone the topics, so we were covering things that kept coming up in conversations, like polyamory and next week, we’re talking about pegging.
‘Sex addiction was a big one, and asexuality. It’s been really fascinating and there’s lots to learn.
‘I can talk about what happens in sex therapy and Diggory can be curious from a lay point of view, but of course he’s now acquired an awful lot of information and knows quite a lot. I think he’d make a very good sex therapist now.
‘He’s coming at it from a much greater position of knowledge so he’s changed.’
Sex Education has been a hit on Netflix since it premiered in 2019
Aside from speaking to the comedians, Cate and Diggory have also spoken with illustrator Flo Perry, about her book ‘How To Have Feminist Sex’, while covering tougher topics like FGM.
Cate said: ‘When we tell people about the podcast, on the whole people are really interested.
‘It’s been interesting for me because I’ve been able to talk to some people I’ve always wanted to talk to.
‘We started off by talking to celebrities mainly, which was very funny as some of them were comedians.
‘Then we started introducing other people who just really wanted to talk to, like we talked to a guy about chemsex, which is something a lot of people don’t know about but is really important.
‘We did a really, really tough episode on female genital mutilation, which is something a lot of people don’t understand.
‘We feel we are really giving sex education that people might not have had, for the first time.’