Diarmaid Ferriter: Normal People sets the sexual bar too high

Today’s television sex is far too polished and sophisticated

Normal People author Sally Rooney. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Normal People author Sally Rooney. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

It is perhaps fitting that we are currently being subjected to an abundance of sex on screen as today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Oliver J Flanagan, the colourful and controversial Fine Gael TD who made the most famous pronouncement on sex in Ireland. Reacting to the Late Late Show’s perceived pushing of boundaries in 1966, he declared: “Sex never came to Ireland before Telefís Éireann went on the air.”

Flanagan was sort of correct. As pointed out by Ken Gray, the television critic of The Irish Times at that time, it was “not that there was no sex in Ireland before television, but that there might as well not have been because nobody talked about it publicly and intelligently”.

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