Sex Education’s most important character will return for season 4

Ncuti Gatwa and Asa Butterfield in Sex Education
(Image credit: Netflix)

Great news, Sex Education fans: Ncuti Gatwa will reprise his role as Eric Effiong in the hit Netflix show’s upcoming fourth season. 

As first reported by Variety, some shrewd scheduling has ensured that Gatwa – who was recently cast as the next Doctor Who – is able to return to the hormone-laden halls of Moordale for Sex Education season 4, which recently began shooting.

The news follows a worrying bout of departures from the Netflix series, with Rakhee Thakrar (Miss Sands), Simone Ashley (Olivia), Tanya Reynolds (Lily) and Patricia Allison (Ola) among those who have confirmed that they won't be reprising their respective roles in the show’s forthcoming season.  

Gatwa’s Eric, though, will be returning for more high school hijinks, which should buoy the spirits of Sex Education fans worried that the show may have lost its sparkle. 

Best friend to series lead Otis (Asa Butterfield) and love interest to Connor Swindells’ Adam, Eric has developed into arguably the series’ most important character, regularly driving the narrative forward while delivering emotion and humor in equal measure.

Ncuti Gatwa in Sex Education

Ncuti Gatwa plays Eric Effiong in Sex Education (Image credit: Netflix)

Spoilers for Sex Education seasons 1-3 follow.

Eric’s involvement seems crucial to the plot of Sex Education season 4, too. He and Adam decided to go their separate ways at the end of the series’ third season, with the former’s kissing another man in Nigeria serving as the nail in the coffin for a relationship which always seemed oddly balanced, given Adam’s ongoing journey to understanding his own sexuality. 

But we also saw Adam growing closer to Eric’s ex, Rahim, in season 3’s later episodes, hinting at a potential romance between the pair that once seemed impossible. Naturally, both plot threads involve Eric, and it’s hard to see how Sex Education’s producers would have tackled said threads had Gatwa been unable to participate in new episodes.

There’s been no official word just yet on when Sex Education season 4 will arrive on Netflix, though we do know (thanks to a recent production listing) that filming kicked off on July 4, 2022. As such, we don't expect the show's fourth season to arrive any time this year. Our best guess for the new run's release is the first half of 2023, especially since Sex Education’s first and second seasons were both launched in January. 

We'll share more details about season 4 as and when we get them – our dedicated hub contains everything we know right now. For more Netflix TV content, check out our roundup of the best Netflix movies, as well as our breakdown of Stranger Things season 4 and its failure to snatch Squid Game’s viewership crown.  

Axel Metz
Senior Staff Writer

Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.