Sugar Rush

Kim Daniels, played by Olivia Hallinan (above), has a complicated life. Her father Nathan (Richard Lumsden), repressed and undersexed but sympathetic and caring, is estranged from her oversexed, selfish mother Stella (Sara Stewart); they have got back together ‘for the sake of the kids’ but are not having nearly as much sex as Stella wants. When the family moves to Brighton, Kim finds herself having unexpected feelings about her best friend Maria Sweet, nicknamed Sugar (Lenora Crichlow). That’s the world of Sugar Rush, a light drama of teenage lesbian sex and delinquency, loosely based on Julie Burchill’s 2004 teen novel of the same title, that ran for two series in 2005-6.

Series 1 ended with Sugar in jail, leaving Kim alone and sexually frustrated in the first episode of Series 2, shown on June 15, 2006. She gets picked up at a dyke club by an older woman, Anna (Anna Wilson Jones), who introduces her to some unconventional sexual experiences, ranging from an unexpected place to take cocaine to something we’ll enjoy seeing.

Only after the first night does Anna discover that Kim is still at school, when Kim inadvertently blurts out that she has forgotten her homework. Anna’s immediate response is to take her home. But not, as it first appears, because she is ending the relationship. Home is where Kim’s school uniform is. Once Kim has changed, she finds herself in detention.

‘I’m going to make sure you won’t forget your essay next time,’ says Anna, and beckons a crooked finger; the lascivious set of her mouth belies the sternness of her tone. For a naughty girl in detention is only a whisker away from another kind of lesson…

Meanwhile, Kim’s parents are on their way home from a shopping trip, arguing about their non-existent sex life. ‘I want sex,’ demands Stella loudly in the street. ‘Define sex,’ challenges Nathan as they prepare to go in through the front door. And so they walk in on their daughter, dressed as a schoolgirl, being spanked across a ‘teacher’s’ knee and called a ‘naughty, naughty little girl’.

The scene went through many takes because the director, Harry Bradbeer, had to keep asking for the spanking to be harder. He also tried to persuade Olivia Hallinan that she should have padding in her panties, but she was adamant: ‘I don’t need padding’.

Kim is mortified to be caught by her parents in a sexual game.

But Stella finds the situation as much useful as embarrassing: she turns to her husband and says, ‘That, Nathan – that’s sex!’

Then we cut to an awkward family dinner where they are all thinking about the spanking, including a flashback using a different take.

After the episode’s first edit in post-production, they decided that there needed to be more reaction: the spanking had to be a more pivotal element of the story. So they reshot most of the second half of the episode to create that effect.

This included new scenes in which both parents try to reconcile themselves to Kim’s sexuality. First she finds Stella in her bedroom to offer advice (though the main maternal motive seems to be vibrator theft), and later there’s an awkward, touching scene in which Nathan shows his acceptance by washing her school uniform, in case she needs it for future spanking sessions. Stella ends up purloining it and presents herself to Nathan as a naughty schoolgirl confessing that she forgot to do her homework.

She bends over and tells him, ‘You’re not going to spank me, are you?’

(On the DVD commentary, the director remarks, ‘I must say that Sara has an excellent bottom.’)

In jail, Sugar is intensely jealous when she hears about the incident, points out that Kim is just being used and bitches when Kim insists that she plans to see Anna again: ‘What’s she going to do with you next time, Kimmy, give you the cane?’ But it turns out that Sugar is right: Kim gets swiftly and brutally dumped by Anna, and at her next visit reassures Sugar that she will always be her girl. ‘Unless you find someone else to spank you in detention, you filthy cow,’ jokes Sugar. And on the outside, Kim does indeed start a new relationship with sex shop proprietress Saint (Sarah-Jane Potts).

This includes a moment of jealousy when Saint goes off on her own for a business weekend at a sex fair,

and Kim anxiously imagines what she may be getting up to with the Mistress of Pain (Lucy Hunter James):

(Sarah-Jane Potts did get genuinely whacked on the bottom making the scene, which wasn’t the plan!)

That was the end of Kim Daniels’ spanking experiences, but there was a brief postscript for Olivia Hallinan after she went on to play Laura Timmins, the central character in the BBC’s bucolic small-town period drama Lark Rise to Candleford (2008-11).

In the Christmas special shown on December 21, 2008, Laura is working at the post office, and comes under pressure from her neighbor, Mrs Arless (Dawn French), to disclose information about an official letter. Laura pleads the regulations, and Mrs Arless tells her:

‘Laura Timmins, I have spanked your arse many a time and it ain’t too late now. Don’t give me all your hoity-toity Candleford regulations.’

Postmistress Dorcas Lane (Julia Sawaha) comes to her aid:

‘Mrs Arless, it won’t be necessary for you to spank Laura. The regulations, as I’m sure you now by now, are not Candleford’s but the post office’s, and I am therefore the one responsible for imposing them. I do hope you won’t threaten to punish me so enthusiastically.’

Needless to say, neither Laura nor Dorcas gets spanked, so no Christmas present for us, alas!

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