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Sex Box

Mon Oct 7, 10-11pm, C4

Everyone knows that C4’s factual department love a gimmick, particularly a gimmick that’s likely to grab a few headlines; you only have to remember Keith Allen’s tedious televised ecstasy adventure to realise that.

So the signs weren’t necessarily good for this ‘TV first’ in which three couples have sex in a studio-bound box before emerging to discuss their experiences with Mariella Frostrup and a panel of sexperts. Initially, ‘Sex Box’ is peculiar and inadvertently hilarious. ‘They’re free to leave the Sex Box at any time,’ booms Frostrup, prompting the thought that the volunteers should consider themselves lucky not to have been imprisoned; pounding, licking and sucking away for as long as it took them to reach a contractually compulsory mutual climax.

But actually, once it calms down and gets over itself, ‘Sex Box’ is way better than it has any right to be. The three couples (one straight and young, one gay, one straight and slightly more mature) are sweet and open, and the advice and discussions are sincere and potentially useful – and not just for the couples involved. A surprisingly earnest, likeable and good-hearted affair.