- Played by: Asa Butterfield
An awkward wallflower and son of Dr. Jean Milburn, Moordale's local sex and relationship therapist. Using his remarkable gift for psychotherapy, Otis befriends fellow outcast Maeve and starts an underground sex therapy clinic for the students at Moordale Secondary School.
- Adorkable: Being an unpopular teenage boy, awkwardness is a given. But his awkwardness also carries a definite charm that attracts both Ola and Maeve.
- Birds of a Feather: With Maeve; both are intelligent outcasts who share a similar sense of humor and academic interests.
- The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: A talented sexual psychotherapist, but struggles with his own debilitating sexual neuroses.
- Clueless Chick Magnet: An understated example, but throughout the series he catches the attention of Ola, Maeve and Lily.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Downplayed; a few characters comment on his pasty complexion. Aimee compares him to a Victorian ghost and Maeve's landlady mistook him for a sickly child.
- It's All About Me: Eric accuses Otis of this when they fight in Episode 5. From what we've seen, Eric isn't totally off the mark: previous episodes show that Otis has a tendency of disregarding Eric's interests and personal life when he becomes too focused on his own problems.
- Nice Guy: A total sweetheart, and one the main reasons he is such a good therapist. Otis is a good listener and possesses a tremendous amount of empathy towards his friends and the people he treats.
- Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: Is extremely uncomfortable when it comes to his own sexuality, which is ironic considering he is a budding sexual therapist. Otis has trouble masturbating and has panic attacks when he attempts to. He has a particularly bad one when he tries to have sex with Lily and is forced to call his mum for help. The majority of his phobia seems to stem from seeing his father cheating on his mother with a patient, and the fighting his parents went through after Jean found out.
- Parental Sexuality Squick: Not only does his mother talk about sex for a living, she's constantly having sex and has filmed at least one video on sexual technique which is readily available online. All of this is a lot for Otis.
- Safe Word: Sets one up during FOREPLAY with Lily, just after they kiss, which doesn't even end in sex.
- Shrinking Violet: At the start of the series. Otis hates parties, large crowds and was initially happy being the guy in the corner who nobody knows or talked to. He grows out of this mindset as the series goes on, coming to enjoy connecting with the other students and using his talents for something positive.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Not to the same extent as Eric but he does dress in drag to go with him to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
- Played by: Ncuti Gatwa
Otis's best friend, and one of the only two openly gay students at Moordale Secondary School.
- Abhorrent Admirer: To Anwar, the other openly gay student at school.
- Attention Whore: Otis accuses Eric of being this in Episode 5.
- Butt-Monkey: The whole school treats him like shit, which in the first few episodes is used for a couple laughs. A Deconstructed Trope in Episode 6, when this is shown to have created a lot of built-up anger and resentment that's brought to the surface after his falling out with Otis, where he ends up lashing out at Anwar as a result.
- Camp Gay: Out, loud and proud (emphasis on the loud, especially when it comes to his wardrobe). Eric definitely checks out the major hallmarks of this trope: effeminate, flamboyant, sassy, dresses in vibrant colors and genderfluid apparel (though this last example is only in private, initially). Additionally, the trope is discussed- while many people feel the "camp gay" trope is exaggerated, gay men who act like this in real life are being their truest selves. The depiction isn't making a joke of his sexuality, but rather makes a point about presentation, especially as it relates to being both black and gay.
- The Chew Toy: Constantly picked on by Adam, has the unfortunate nickname of "Tromboner", and isn't treated very seriously by much of the school. Played for Drama in Episode 5 and 6, where he is ditched by Otis on his birthday, attacked while dressed in drag and tries to 'toughen up' by yelling at his music teacher and punching Anwar, resulting in him being suspended.
- Dreadful Musician: His inability to play the French horn properly is a Running Gag.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: After the trauma avalance he's put through during the first season, it mostly ends on a high note for him. He is reconciled with Otis, his father and Adam and at least tolerated by Anwar, he's back in the band, he feels confident enough to bring drag elements into his school attire. The only minus point is that Adam is shipped off to a military school.
- Embarrassing Nickname: "Tromboner," after getting an erection while playing in front of the whole school. "It was a semi!" Also makes less sense considering he plays French Horn.
- Extraverted Nerd: More concerned with social status than Otis, is lot less popular than he thinks he is but that doesn't stop him from with being an outgoing social butterfly.
- Gay Best Friend: Also doubles as Otis's Black Best Friend. Eric is definitely a more layered version of the trope, and as the series goes on he gets his own storylines outside of being Otis's best friend, we get a more in-depth look at his home and personal life and even gets a love interest in Adam.
- Immigrant Parents: Eric comes from a strict and religious family from an unspecified African country. Eric's father is particularly concerned about blending in English society; he is thus worried (but ultimately supporting) of his son being so shamelessly himself.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The vivacious, extroverted Red to Otis's shyer, more low-key Blue.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Enjoys wearing make-up and feminine clothing, though at the beginning he only does this in private. He eventually is encouraged to be more open with it, when he starts sharing it with other people like Lily and eventually makes his a part of his regular wardrobe.
- Played by: Emma Mackey
A social outcast at Moordale Secondary with a reputation for being a slag and bad girl. In actuality, Maeve is a whip-smart girl who befriends Otis and has the idea to start a secret sexual therapy clinic.
- But We Used a Condom: unbuilt trope. This happens, but Maeve doesn't spend any time agonizing over it, simply getting an abortion. She never even tells the father.
- Deadpan Snarker: Throws around withering remarks at the rest of the student body, especially the Untouchables.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: In general has a guarded personality, but shows her nicer side with her friends - notably Aimee, Otis and Jackson. Maeve tends to throw emotional walls and usually doesn't let people get too close to her.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Called "Cock-Biter" around school, due to an incident where she attempted to give a classmate oral sex but accidentally bit his penis.
- Good Bad Girl: Under the punk rebel aesthetic and stony exterior, Maeve is emotionally insightful, nice and does remarkably well in her studies.
- Hidden Depths: Is academically gifted, which she struggles with being more open about, and reads feminist and philosophical literature.
- Malicious Slander: was the victim of in her youth. When she was 14, a classmate tried to kiss her. She declined. To cover, he invented the cock-biting story whole cloth. This, plus Gossip Evolution, is the entire source of her entire reputation.
- Meaningful Name: In the Irish epic Táin Bó Cúailnge, Queen Medbh (same pronunciation) is a powerful queen with a reputation as a man-eater, who insisted on having wealth equal to her husband's. More mundanely, "Wiley" hints at Maeve's intelligence and her willingness to play outside the rules.
- Parental Abandonment: Maeve's home life is extremely lonely. It is eventually revealed that her Missing Mom is a drug addict, her father is dead, and her brother — labeled "Idiot Brother" in her phone — is a criminal with no time to spare for her. She has serious abandonment issues as a result.
- Really Gets Around: It is "Common Knowledge" that Maeve will sleep with just about anything with a penis. This is definitively proven untrue. During her abortion, she only lists one current sexual partner (Jackson — the one who got her pregnant), and is not shown to have any others over the course of the season.
Dr. Jean Milburn
- Played by: Gillian Anderson
Otis's mother and renowned sex and relationship therapist.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Otis is deeply ashamed of his mother's profession and petrified of anyone finding out about it, and Jean is a lot more open-minded about sex than Otis would prefer her to be.
- My Beloved Smother: The main source of conflict between her and Otis. Jean has trouble respecting Otis's boundaries both by invading his room on a regular basis and constantly prying and getting him to discuss his sexual problems when he's clearly uncomfortable about it.
- Open-Minded Parent: Has no problem with letting Otis drink, do drugs or have sex, just as long as he remembers to buddy up (for the former two) and offers him condoms before leaving for a party.
- Parents as People: Jean tries to be a good mother to Otis, and struggles in creating a balance between wanting to help him and giving him space to grow up and let him deal with issues on his own. She also hides a lot of loneliness and fear of being left out of her son's life.
- Really Gets Around: As could be expected from a sexually-open attractive single woman, Jean has a series of one-night stands, which embarrasses her son.
- The Shrink: An interesting combination of the Awesome and Ineffective Shrink. There's no doubt she's talented in her vocation; she unknowingly gives Otis helpful advice and he channels her when counselling his own clients. But Jean also blurs the boundary between treating Otis as a patient (and later the unwitting subject of her new book) rather than as her son by prodding him to open up and discuss his problems even when he's unwilling.
- Single Mom Stripper: Is perceived as such by Adam, who thinks she's a prostitute at first.
- Stacy's Mom: Definitely has this vibe going on. Jean attracts quite a few younger men throughout the show. Adam, her son's classmate, points out that she's like a "sexy witch".
- The Stoic: In both her personal and professional life, Jean tries to keep herself emotionally distant and not let her feelings get the better of her. Though, this being a comedy there are moments when she's Not So Stoic (see Jean cursing her ex-husband when he sends numerous copies of his new book to spite her and getting stuck in a driveway after following Otis to a party).
- Played by: Connor Swindells
A known bully, slacker and stoner, as well as the headmaster's son.
- Bi the Way: Dated and has strong feelings for Aimee, but also hooks up with Eric when they have detention together and reciprocates his interest after they hook up.
- Biggus Dickus: The rumor is that Adam's penis is the size of two Coke cans stacked together (length and width). It actually is one of the major reasons he has trouble climaxing during sex, the pressure of which causes him to fret and second-guess himself. He ends up flashing the rest of the student body to put to rest the rumors about its size, exclaiming it is only actually above average in terms of national statistics.
- The Bully: Picks on numerous characters, especially Otis and Eric. He has a particular animosity with Eric and even vandalizes Eric's father's car with dog shit when Eric inadvertently causes Adam to lose his dog.
- Butt-Monkey: Nothing goes Adam's way, and if there's someone who's going to be the victim of physical comedy it's usually him. To be fair, a lot of this is self-inflicted due to his own recklessness and flagrant stupidity.
- Hidden Depths: Cares deeply both for Aimee and his dog Madam. He also struggles with his reputation being the headmaster's son, and to a lesser extent having a giant penis.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: More like a heart of rusted bronze, buried very, very deep down. He's most certainly an arsehole with redeeming moments that a sprinkled very few and far between.
- Loving Bully: After bullying Eric throughout season 1, they end up hooking up.
- Performance Anxiety: Has difficulty ejaculating when having sex with Aimee. This is caused by his fear of not living up to his reputation as the headmaster's son and worry he's not a good enough boyfriend for Aimee. This dysfunction actually ends up making him the first patient of Maeve and Otis's secret sex therapy clinic.
- Odd Friendship: With Otis's mum. They share a joint in one scene and later when Jean shows up at Aimee's party looking for Otis they have an in-depth conversation about Adam's love life.
- Pet the Dog: Literally; one of his few redeeming points is his affection towards his family dog Madam.
- The Slacker: Doesn't do well in school, and pays Maeve to write his papers.
- The Stoner: Often seen with or smoking a joint. Jean actually theorizes one of the reasons for his impotence is because of his heavy pot usage.
- Played by: Kedar Williams-Stirling
Moordale Secondary's Head Boy and the swim team's star athlete. He is secretly having sex with Maeve at the beginning of the series.
- The Ace: He's beloved, he's capable, he's friendly and above bullying others and although his reading feminist authors starts as a ploy to get closer to Maeve, he actually becomes interested in them. Later episodes reveal some shards of Broken Ace as well: His parents are close to divorcing, he feels enormous pressure by the school and one of his moms to succeed and he's just a little too eager to be corrupted by Maeve's brother.
- Becoming the Mask: A very mild example - he starts out reading feminist authors to become more attractive to Maeve, but then finds he really likes them.
- Big Man on Campus: He's the handsome, popular star athlete of Moordale. His introduction as Head Boy is met with cheers.
- Book Dumb: While his academic performances are not touched upon, he is significantly less cultured than Maeve, part of his scheme to woo her (inadvertently suggested by Otis) is to catch up on her favorite authors.
- Has Two Mommies: Raised by two lesbian parents.
- Hidden Depths: As a competitive swimmer in training, he is under a lot of pressure from one of his mom and his trainer. In reality, he resents the intensity of his training and wish he could have fun like a regular teenager.
- His attempts to woo Maeve result in developing some additional ones on-top; while implied to be a Ladykiller in Love, he quickly finds himself engrossed in the feminist reading he initially takes in just to impress Maeve and it seems to rub off on him, to the point he's the first male to stand up during the "that's my vagina" I Am Sparticus moment.
- Lovable Jock: Moordale's premier swimming champion, both popular and affable.
- Mixed Ancestry: Is bi-racial, having one Caucasian and one Afro-British parent.
- Nice Guy: Again, is nothing but friendly to everyone he interacts with. Even after breaking up with Maeve, he still goes out of his way to help her stay in school by threatening to quit the swim team if she is expelled.
Moordale Secondary School
- Played by: Aimee Lou Wood
A member of the Untouchables, the most popular clique in school, and secretly friends with Maeve.
- Extreme Doormat: A people-pleaser and tends to let others push her around, especially boyfriends and rest of the Untouchables. This becomes a problem in the bedroom with one of her boyfriends is put off by her faking enjoyment and putting his sexual needs above her own.
- Grew a Spine: By the end of the first season, she chooses Maeve over her popular "friends".
- Nice Girl: Significantly kinder than the rest of the Untouchables.
- Spoiled Sweet: She's from a wealthy family, kind, and a loyal friend to Maeve.
- Played by: Alistair Petrie
Headmaster of Moordale, and Adam's strict father.
- Jerkass: An unpleasant person, both as a teacher and parent. Most notable is his treatment of Adam and Maeve, the latter he assumes is part of a drug ring with her brother Sean and Otis and when she is caught it's obvious his mind is made up in his decision to expel her despite the pleas of Maeve and Mrs. Sands.
- Kick the Dog: Despite showing extreme favoritism towards Jackson and promising him not to expel Maeve if he wins his swimming competition, he responds that he "doesn't take bribes" when Jackson does win and tells him to forget her.
- Stern Teacher: Principal technically, but is an austere educator nonetheless. This bleeds into his personal life, especially when dealing with his delinquent son Adam.
- Played By: Tanya Reynolds
Student at Moordale who enjoys writing and drawing erotic manga and is fixated on her virginity.
- Do You Want to Copulate?: Said to Otis, Eric, and OctoBoy. Stems from her early-season desire to lose her virginity and her utilitarian view of sex.
- Ethical Slut: A very sweet kid who happens to be extremely horny and has a hobbyist's interest in sex through her manga.
- Idealized Sex: She writes fictional sex stories, but when the time comes with OctoBoy, she isn't able or ready to have sex.
- Interspecies Romance: The porn she writes about women and aliens.
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places: In a quite sweet example, she and Octoboy attempt to have sex in a blanket fort complete with fairy lights.
Anwar, Ruby, and Olivia
- Played By: Chaneil Kular (Anwar), Mimi Keene (Ruby), and Simone Ashley (Olivia)
The other members of the Untouchables, the most popular kids at Moordale.
- Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch: Olivia leaks Ruby's nudes in revenge for the latter's harsh treatment.
- Camp Gay: Downplayed with Anwar. He's very fashionable but otherwise has no real campy traits.
- The Dog Bites Back: Olivia cites Ruby's bitchy treatment of her as the reason for leaking a photo of her vagina and threatening to reveal her identity.
- Everyone Has Standards: Anwar may be a jerk, but he at least stands up to Adam's homophobic bullying of Eric.
- Girl Posse: A clique of popular, fashionable jerks with one gay man (Anwar) thrown in.
- Pet the Dog: Anwar in episode 6, after making a mean comment that sets off Eric when he was at the end of his rope, gets punched in the face. Rather than take offence at the assault, he recognises that Eric was having a bad day and he was just unfortunate enough to be the straw that broke the camels back with him. He accepts his apology and encourages him not to take it personally if he sees Anwar's mom giving him death glares around town (as Anwar used the assault to come out to his mom and claimed Eric was a homophobic gay-basher).
- With Friends Like These...: Towards Aimee. They constantly take advantage of her, using her house to throw parties and smoke weed in, and even use her mother's credit card to buy pizza.
- Played By: Mikael Persbrandt
A handyman who redoes the Milburns' bathroom. He and Jean develop a mutual attraction for each other.
- Hot Men at Work: Downplayed in that he doesn't get overtly fanservicey scenes while fixing the Milburns' plumbing, but she does develop an attraction for him while watching him work.
- Played By: Patricia Allison