Five reasons why Toni Collette's new X-rated BBC drama 'Wanderlust' is a must watch

Toni Collette and Steven Mackintosh in BBC’s ‘Wanderlust’ (BBC Pictures)
Toni Collette and Steven Mackintosh in BBC’s ‘Wanderlust’ (BBC Pictures)

Wanderlust is an upcoming BBC and Netflix co-production from the creators of Dr Foster that aims to break multiple taboos – from blasting obscenities to masturbation scenes, and the exploration of open relationships.

Here’s why we think Wanderlust is an absolute must watch…

It boasts a stellar cast

‘Wanderlust’ stars Toni Collette, Steven Mackintosh, writer Nick Payne and director Luke Snellin. (REX/Shutterstock)
‘Wanderlust’ stars Toni Collette, Steven Mackintosh, writer Nick Payne and director Luke Snellin. (REX/Shutterstock)

Wanderlust is a star-studded affair. The lead is Oscar-nominated Australian actress Toni Collette, followed by Steven Mackintosh (Underworld: Evolution, Luther), Zawe Ashton (Fresh Meat, Dreams of a Life) and William Ash (Waterloo Road, The Tunnel).

Set in modern day Manchester, Collette plays Joy, a therapist who despite running a thriving at-home couples therapy practice, is struggling to find passion and indeed an active sex life with her husband Alan – played by Mackintosh.

“I think all of the characters are so real and complex and warm and likeable even when they’re messing things up, maybe even more so. I loved playing a therapist, someone we associate as having things all tied up but she’s all over the shop,” Collette said at a recent Wanderlust Q&A session.

It’s the raunchiest drama BBC has ever aired

Toni Collette as Wanderlust's therapist Joy (BBC Pictures)
Toni Collette as Wanderlust’s therapist Joy (BBC Pictures)

Wanderlust may focus on a middle class, middle-aged couple’s relationship, but it certainly doesn’t shy away from some incredibly explicit sex scenes and raunchy conversations. In fact, the show is being billed by the BBC as the raunchiest and most sexual show it has ever aired post-watershed.

Collette revealed she was initially nervous about filming the series steamy sex scenes, but quickly embraced the challenge: “You can’t half-heartedly act that, you have to make it feel real. You can tell when you’re watching something if it’s not energetically right.

“I had no reservations, sex is a part of life and it’s a very lifelike show. It’s just nice for it to be out in the open. I was nervous at first but by the end of it I had no concerns,” she said.

It’s ridiculously funny

Steven Mackintosh plays Joy's husband Alan in Wanderlust (PA Images)
Steven Mackintosh plays Joy’s husband Alan in Wanderlust (PA Images)

Sex in all its awkward, unintentionally hilarious glory is thoroughly explored in Wanderlust. Expect caught-in-the-act masturbation scenes, bizarre therapy room romps and painfully cringeworthy attempts to spice stalled sexual relationships up.

Luther star Steven Mackintosh said the funny, awkward sex scenes adds a realness to the story that he hopes audiences will resonate with: “I think with sex on TV, when I watch something, sometimes I’m taken out of the story and I feel like I’m suddenly watching two actors in an explicit scene rather than characters.

I feel with this, it’s so intrinsically part of it and the way Nick [Wanderlust screenwriter Nick Payne] writes the awkwardness, the fumbling, the moments in between, that’s what takes the curse out of all of that. It’s really rooted in these people trying to figure things out, and that feels completely real for me,” he said.

It’s surprisingly honest

Toni Collette on The Graham Norton Show (PA Images)
Toni Collette on The Graham Norton Show (PA Images)

Wanderlust doesn’t include perfectly lit sex scenes and we doubt there’ll be a picture-perfect happy ending. Brutally raw and honest, this series takes a hard look at modern relationships, and the sexual taboos that can both break and make them.

“It’s real people grappling with real stuff, it’s not heightened in any way. That’s what I can relate to and I hope it’s what everybody else can relate to,” Mackintosh added.

It embraces rarely addressed taboos

Wanderlust explores a multitude of rarely explored on television sexual taboos – including open relationships. Luke Snellin, one of the series directors, said at the Q&A session that he hopes the exploration of these taboo subjects will challenge BBC audiences.

“The most interesting part of it is it being on BBC One. The audience that BBC One brings is the perfect audience to be challenged,” he said.

Wanderlust airs on BBC One this September.

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