Published on November 20, 2013 | by Holly Gilbert


Masters of Sex

Masters of Sex poster

Masters of Sex stars Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan [©SHOWTIME]


If you haven’t been watching Masters of Sex on Channel 4 for the past six weeks, what have you been up to at 10pm on a Tuesday night?

This show is based on the life and work of Dr William Masters who set about collating physiological data on human sexuality in late 1950s America.

The pioneering work he started with the help of his research assistant Virginia Johnson was truly revolutionary at the time.

The first season so far has already seen Masters’ research come into question by disapproving university bigwigs, as well as a healthy dosage of whorehouses, self-stimulation with a glass vibrator called Ulysses and a devastating miscarriage.

At the helm of the cast, British actor Michael Sheen as William Masters is a cold, clinical straight-laced academic who is desperate to unlock the secret to human sexuality, totally unchartered territory at the time.

Sheen’s masterful performance is flawless, and he really comes into his own and relishes the complexities of Masters’ character.

Masters’ unyielding determination put on the study is matched by his secretary Virgina Johnson; played by Lizzy Caplan (Janice in Mean Girls).

Caplan oozes a self-assured sex appeal driven by a woman who knows what she wants.

She wants to be recognised for her academic prowess despite a lack of form medical training, and the chemistry between these two characters is tangible from the off set.

Throw in a few wired up doctors and nurses having sex in front of them and the tension becomes palpable!

Master of Sex is sublimely written, with all of the constraints of 1950s America neatly attempting to anchor the call for sexual revolution to the ground.

Yet amongst all of the cordiality you might expect, the sexual undercurrent is rife and strong.

With twists and turns that look into the complexities of 1950’s marriages, the illegality of gay sex as well as the difficulties faced by most people in a time where sex education was non-existent, let alone the idea that sex could be pleasurable.

This sexy drama has all the makings of a great show, excellent writing, 1950s costumes, a stellar cast and, as you would expect, a lot of sex.

There is no doubt that this series will come to an extraordinary climax.

Masters of Sex appears at 10pm, Tuesday nights on Channel 4.

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