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'People blur the lines' – Emily Beecham on past difficulties performing a sex scene

Filming sex scenes is uncomfortable for women as some actors “blur the lines” and take method acting too far, the star of the BBC’s new drama has said.

mily Beecham, who plays Fanny Logan in The Pursuit of Love, which debuted last night, said it made her feel unsafe earlier in her career.

“I was very young and I was doing an awful lot of sex scenes. So I did feel quite defensive after a while – a bit unsafe,” she told Sunday Times magazine. “I’ve had friends who have had actors press their erections up against them, and you’ve just got to ignore it. People do blur the lines and they do suddenly try to ‘go method’ with you.”

The English-American actress stars alongside Lily James and Dominic West in the three-part drama adapted from Nancy Mitford’s 1945 novel centred on sisterhood and sexual awakening.

The drama fills the void of the Sunday night slot left by Line of Duty.

Manchester-born Beecham, who received the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her turn in Little Joe, praised the innovations of intimacy coordinators who choreograph sex scenes and ensure consent during filming, saying they had improved the on-set experience for performers.

Intimacy co-ordinators have become more prevalent following the MeToo movement, including on the set of the new James Bond film No Time To Die. The change has been welcomed by stars including Ruth Wilson and Rege-Jean Page.

Ms Beecham has also welcomed the rise of more female writers and directors in a film industry that almost forced her to quit early in her career. She said she grew tired of crews fixating on her looks, recalling one moment when filmmakers asked: “Why does Emily look so ugly in this tape? She looks pretty in her showreel.”

In her role as Fanny Logan, she serves as the narrator of Mitford’s novel, which offered a semi-autobiographical account of her eccentric aristocratic sisters and sold 200,000 copies on its release.

The BBC adaptation was three years in the making and centres on the urge for freedom and sexual awakening sought by Linda Radlett, played by Ms James, whose efforts are frustrated by her father, played by Mr West.

Mr West made headlines last year after being photographed in Rome with his younger co-star in an incident which was said to have left his wife Catherine FitzGerald “heartbroken”, and which prompted a public display of unity by the couple.

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