Lily and Ola’s glorious WLW representation will be sorely missed by LGBTQI viewers

BY KATIE KIRKPATRICK, IMAGE BY SAM TAYLOR/NETFLIX

Following the recent news that Patricia Allison, who plays Ola, will not appear in the upcoming fourth season of Sex Education, Tanya Reynolds has now confirmed that she and her character Lily will also be departing.

Speaking to Digital Spy, Tanya said “I absolutely will miss [her]. I love, love Lily with my whole entire being and I had the best time on those three seasons, and I will miss it for sure. I will miss Lily, and I will miss the gang. But it just kind of feels very right. It feels like time.” 

Lily was introduced to viewers as a quirky girl, desperate to lose her virginity, before beginning a romantic relationship with Ola in season two. Ever the eccentric, she is absorbed by all things sci-fi and alien. The character also struggles with vaginismus, a storyline that resonated with many viewers. The most recent series saw her forced to conform under cruel new headmistress Hope (Jemima Kirke), but she finished the series returning to her former creative self. 

This new announcement will come as a blow to LGBTQI fans of Sex Education, with the sapphic relationship between Ola and Lily making them one of the show’s most popular and long-lasting couples. The pair play the only major WLW characters on the show, and so their departure has left many disappointed.

Tanya’s recent projects include HBO comedy-horror series The Baby, she’ll also star in I Hate You, a new Channel 4 sitcom about two chaotic best friends, expected to air next month. 

The future of Sex Education is looking increasingly unknown: alongside Tanya and Patricia, Bridgerton star Simone Ashley confirmed earlier this year that she won’t appear in the fourth season. Ncuti Gatwa, who plays a leading role as flamboyant Eric, will soon take over as Doctor Who, making his continuing involvement in Sex Education seem uncertain. Emma Mackey, playing the central role of the edgy but clever Maeve, is currently filming Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, in which Ncuti will also appear, meaning we cannot be sure that she will return either – her character departed for the US at the end of the latest season.

No other cast members have yet confirmed whether they will or will not appear in season four, but we can likely expect to see the return of awkward lead Otis (Asa Butterfield) and his sex therapist mother Jean (Gillian Anderson). We will also likely welcome back sporty Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling) and reformed bully Adam (Connor Swindells).

Who knows what we can expect from Sex Education now? Many think this fourth season may be the show’s last, with sources saying it will “feature a mix of old and new faces” and take place at a new school, after Moordale closed down at the end of the last season. Perhaps the show will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Skins and Glee in bringing in a new “generation” of characters. Whatever happens, we can expect a lot of change.

DIVA magazine celebrates 28 years in print in 2022. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable. 

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