Wanderlust creator didn't expect controversy over sex scenes: "It was on Gogglebox!"

Wanderlust writer Nick Payne has revealed how he dealt with the audience reaction and controversy surrounding his BBC One drama.

The award-winning playwright is the guest on the latest episode of The Two Shot Podcast and spoke to host Craig Parkinson about how he deals with reviews – positive and negative.

Wanderlust, starring Toni Collette and Steven Mackintosh, caused a stir after just its first episode left some viewers “uncomfortable” over its sex scenes – though Payne has already insisted that it isn’t a “raunchy shagfest”, while Collette has stated that the show is “not gratuitous”.

Payne told host Parkinson: “Wanderlust does seem to have divided people in a way that I hadn’t anticipated. I didn’t think there was anything at all controversial or racy or whatever about it.

“I honestly thought it was a warm [show] – a little bit weird, I get that, and a bit awkward, there’s no doubt about it.”

He’s happy, though, with how the series “is stimulating conversation” – whether it be on Twitter or a certain popular Channel 4 series.

“It was on Gogglebox!” Payne said. “They showed a bit from the second episode where Alan – Steven Mackintosh – and Claire – Zawe Ashton – have sex in her flat, and it’s like a but clumsy…

“Once he’s finished, he removes the condom… and says, ‘Where should I put this?’, and she makes a joke. And, obviously, that’s the bit they showed!”

“It was just so interesting – people were horrified! They cut to the Gogglebox-ers all watching… they all kind of gasp or cover their eyes! I bet if you showed them a clip of lots of people being shot in some action film, they wouldn’t cover their eyes.”

Despite the mixed reaction (“There were a lot of poo emojis after the first episode!”), Payne also revealed that he frequently checks Twitter, and Googles himself, to assess the audience’s response to Wanderlust.

“I’m really curious,” he admitted. “My brain is still slightly on Wanderlust even though, really, I should be moving and doing other things. I can’t quite let it go, I really want to know what people think.”

Nick Payne’s full interview is available now as episode 58 of The Two Shot Podcast. Wanderlust ends tonight (October 9) at 9pm on BBC One.

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