We don’t need so much sex on TV says Aneurin Barnard, star of raunchy drama The Scandalous Lady W

He features in many bedroom scenes with co-star Natalie Dormer in the BBC period drama but the Welsh actor says sex has become too much of a “selling factor” in TV

On Monday night Welsh actor Aneurin Barnard can be seen taking his clothes off and enjoying numerous passionate encounters between the sheets with Natalie Dormer.


But the man who plays the main love interest to Domer’s eponymous Lady Worsley in BBC2 period film The Scandalous Lady W says he isn’t a fan of too much sex on television.

In an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com, the actor says there is too much nookie on the box – and believes that audiences are not being well served by it.

“The trouble is that it has become a selling factor in television and it’s an unfortunate thing because I think the audiences don’t need it anymore, they don’t need it,” says the 27-year-old actor.

“I definitely think it’s been… abused would be too strong a word, but it’s definitely been over-manipulated. I don’t like that, not just as a male actor but I don’t like that as a man and a human being. If it helps the story, if it’s in need of the story then of course it should be used. But if it’s just to get a flash of some lady’s assets then that’s just for the sake of doing it and I feel like that’s abusing the system.”

Barnard himself takes part in a number of sex scenes in his role as George Bisset in Monday night’s drama. But he insists that these have been tastefully handled.

He laughs that his naked scenes “did not make the [finished] cut” and adds: “It’s not full frontal, just a bit of backside, and I’ve done that before with the BBC.

“The whole thing [The Scandalous Lady W] is about sex in one essence but it’s also about so much more than sex. It’s about what comes from sex, actually. It’s what the effects of being close to someone can do, or how it’s abused, or how it’s manipulated and how cruel it can actually become and how vulnerable you can become.

“The audience now is so intelligent, it’s not like making drama in the 60s anymore or the 70s because the audience’s knowledge of storytelling, what they need to see, what they need to imagine is so clear and so educated and I just feel sometimes, especially with nudity and some of those moments, is that what you don’t show is actually more effective, just the hints. And that can be down to a very good director of photography as well, how and the way they light it.”

Barnard, who played Cilla Black’s husband Bobby in the ITV biopic Cilla, has been very busy of late.

He has recently finished the upcoming six-part epic BBC adaptation of Leo Tostoy’s War and Peace in which he plays Boris Drubetskoy, suitor to Natasha Rostova (played by Downton Abbey’s Lily James).

And he will be seen later this year in Thirteen, a new five-part BBC drama about a young (fictional) woman called Ivy Moxham (Jodie Comer) who is released from a cellar after 13 years in captivity. He plays Tim Hobson, Ivy’s boyfriend and one of the people helping her rehabilitate herself as she re-enters society.

But he also has ambitions of making it in the US.

I definitely want to be involved in big productions, I want to be involved in some of the big American stuff – especially American television – because I think all the writers and directors are sitting there at the moment.

“I just want to be good at what I do really, and of course I want to work with the best and unfortunately some of the bigger directors don’t normally do some of the smaller projects. But I’ve got a lot of love for the smaller projects because I like to see things being made and it’s very sad when you read so many scripts and some of them never get made, some of them are fantastic. Then you read bigger jobs and the scripts are not so very good and they do get made. So for me it’s just working with good people and people who are going to test me.”

The Scandalous Lady W is on BBC2 on Monday 17th August at 9pm


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Natalie Dormer gets scandalous


Natalie Dormer sizzles as a woman ahead of her time in The Scandalous Lady W