Simone Ashley’s had a rockstar couple of years since Season 3 of Sex Education came out. The English actress gained global recognition in 2022 thanks to her role as Kate Sharma in Season 2 of the steamy period drama Bridgerton. She made waves again in Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid remake as Ariel’s sister Indira. Ashley’s on everybody’s mind (seriously, Kate Sharma’s eyebrow scrunch lives in my brain rent-free), but unfortunately, she won’t be on your screen for the last season of Sex Education.
Although the teaser confirms that a lot of familiar faces are back for their fourth and final year in Moordale, Ashley is noticeably missing. Her character, Olivia Hanan, is one of Moordale Secondary School’s three reigning “Untouchables” alongside Ruby and Anwar. This season, Moordale’s students are moving on to Cavendish Sixth Form College without Olivia. Spoiler warning: Spoilers for Season 4 of Sex Education follow.
Olivia is mentioned twice in Season 4. In the first episode, Aimee reveals that Olivia and Anwar now go to a school in Northbury called Taylor’s Secondary. Ruby tells Otis in Episode 3 that Anwar and Olivia are so popular at their new school that they don’t have time to see her anymore. My detective skills (AKA a quick Google search) discovered that there is no Taylor’s Secondary School IRL. Northbury isn’t even a real city in England according to Google Maps, but let’s suspend our disbelief for a second and focus on the real question: Why isn’t Simone Ashley in Season 4 of Sex Education?
Ashley confirmed back in April 2022 that she would not be returning to the show with a very simple explanation: “I’m a Bridgerton girl now.” She made the statement while the hype around Bridgerton Season 2 was burning hot, with critics and fans praising Ashley for her performance and her role as a figurehead for South Asian representation on screen.
Kate Sharma (or rather, Kate Bridgerton) stans will be happy to know that Ashley is coming back for Bridgerton Season 3! She told Teen Vogue in March 2022, “I’m so excited to step into Season 3 with Johnny [her co-star Jonathan Bailey] and to continue Kate and Anthony’s love story.”
Although I’m sad to miss out on “It’s my vagina”-level of iconic Olivia moments in the final season of Sex Education, I can’t wait to watch Ashley’s return to another Netflix show that opens a healthy dialogue about female sexual pleasure!