As the high school comedy returns for a third series, its Bafta-winning star talks about stage fright, embarrassing scenes, and the torment that lay behind her desire to please people

In June, Aimee Lou Wood, 26, won a Bafta for best female performance in a comedy programme for her role as another Aimee (a teenager) in the hit Netflix show Sex Education, about a set of sexually active high school students, now returning for a third series. Even before the Bafta, Wood was always being stopped in the street. Fans wanted to talk to her, about Sex Education, about everything, because they related to her so strongly. Wood is naturally so friendly, she’d engage in conversation and make herself late. Then she starred opposite Bill Nighy in the forthcoming Oliver Hermanus film, Living: “Obviously, every single person recognises Bill Nighy, and he handles it with such grace,” Wood says, when we meet to talk in a north London photo studio. “With people in the street, I was like [she mock hyperventilates]: ‘Did I say the right thing? Was I nice enough?’ Now I’m learning to be: ‘Thank you so much!’ and carry on walking.”

It’s easy to see why fans relate to Wood: never mind the dazzling prettiness, she’s sparky, warm and expressive. She comes from a working-class family in Stockport, Greater Manchester, and although, following her parents’ divorce, her mother’s new partner paid for her to attend a private secondary school, she kept her rich Mancunian tones: “I sound like my mum and I like that. I like that I sound like where I’m from.”

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