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Sheridan Smith to star in new Channel 4 drama Adult Material

The new four-part drama written by Lucy Kirkwood will explore sex, power and consent through the lens of porn in the UK today.

Set in modern Britain, Adult Material delves inside the porn industry from the perspective of a woman who has been working in it her entire adult life and has seen it grow from a seedy backroom enterprise to a legitimate and highly profitable arm of the telecommunications business.

That woman is Jolene Dollar, a mum-of-three who is also a leading British porn star for two decades. Maybe in porn years she’s getting on, but she's a hard worker and she loves what she does. 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.

Speaking about playing Jolene, Sheridan 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.”

One day on set, Jolene is introduced to aspiring dancer Amy, who at 19 is not much older than Jolene’s oldest daughter, Phoebe. Amy looks up to her and Jolene looks after her the way that she looks after every new girl on set. But she can’t protect Amy from her own choices, and soon her relationship with this unstable young woman will see Jolene’s own career and complicated home life start to unravel, as everything Jolene thought she knew about herself comes undone.

The drama will investigate the myriad of ways that sex, power and consent are intrinsically connected,  providing a unique perspective and compelling exploration of questions that have become particularly resonant around the world in recent months.

Adult Material will look at how sex and money go hand in hand. What we gain, and what we give up, when our sexuality is given to us, shrink wrapped by the internet. It asks questions about power, desire and consent not only in porn itself, but in the porn tinted wider world. Most of all, Adult Material is the story of one woman’s complex journey away from porn and towards sex.

Writer Lucy Kirkwood added “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.”

Adult Material will air in 2019 on Channel 4

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