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Sheridan Smith’s Adult Material is set to become your new TV obsession

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Kayleigh Dray
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Sheridan Smith’s Adult Material is about to become your new TV obsession

Get ready to go behind the scenes of the porn industry…

Be still our beating hearts: Sheridan Smith has teamed up with award-winning writer Lucy Kirkwood to create our new TV obsession.

Adult Material, which is set in modern Britain, sees Smith take on the role of Jolene Dollar, mum of three and leading British porn star for two decades. Over the years, she has seen the industry grow from a seedy backroom enterprise to a legitimate and highly profitable arm of the telecommunications business – and she well and truly loves her job. After all, porn is one of the only industries in the world where women don’t just get paid equal to men… they get paid more.

One day, though, Jolene is introduced to Amy. At just 19 years old, the aspiring dancer is not much older than Jolene’s oldest daughter, and the seasoned porn star feels obliged to take the new girl under her wing. She looks out for her on set, does her best to make sure she’s being treated properly, and that she stays happy and healthy.

The one thing Jolene can’t protect Amy from, however, is her own choices. And it isn’t long before her relationship with this unstable young woman causes her own world to fall apart, as all of the cracks and complications in her career and complicated home life are exposed.

But, if everything Jolene thought she knew about herself is a lie, can she ever hope to find happiness again?

As Channel 4 points out, the porn industry is worth almost $100 billion worldwide each year. Adult Material aims to take a long hard look at the reality of life on the factory floor in 2018, and answer some seriously big questions. What’s it like to see the cost of your product fall as demand rises? How has porn’s influence on mainstream culture affected our ideas of consent? What do we gain, and what do we give up, when our sexuality is given to us, shrink wrapped by the internet? And what does it feel like when your body is on everyone’s computer but you still can’t get on the P.T.A?

Speaking about the project, Smith says: “Adult Material tackles some really important topics, topics that I’m sure will resonate with people up and down the UK. I think its taboo-busting drama which not only confronts these questions head on but is also a brilliantly brave and unabashed story told with real heart.

“Thanks to broadcasters such as Channel 4 and Lucy’s thought-provoking and insightful writing, Adult Material gives Jolene the platform and voice she deserves and it feels like the perfect time to tell her story. I’ve played some truly fascinating women in my career, from all walks of life, and I can’t wait to step into Jolene’s shoes.” 

Kirkwood adds: “I am delighted that Channel 4 has given Jolene a home, it feels like exactly the right place and the right time to look at the way that economics colours every aspect of female experience. I am also over the moon to be working with Sheridan again, she is an actor of genius and I know that in her brilliant hands Jolene will be warm, funny, complicated and truthful.”

The drama will go into production in 2019 and will be distributed by Endemol Shine International.

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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