ABOUT THE SHOW
Skins was a British teen drama that followed the lives of a group of teenagers in Bristol, South West England.
Its controversial storylines have explored issues such as dysfunctional families, mental illness (such as eating disorders and bipolar disorder), adolescent sexuality, substance abuse, death and bullying. The premiered on E4 January 25, 2007. The show had a six-year run, with a specially-commissioned seventh and final series of the show broadcasted in 2013. The 7th season featured some of the cast from its 2007–10 run. The show's name comes from the rolling papers known as "skins".
Episode one, "Tony", is an ensemble piece that introduces the characters and the format. We meet the effortlessly attractive, popular and intelligent Tony as he arranges for his friends to attend a party held by upper-class girl Abigail Stock (Georgina Moffat). The second episode, "Cassie", focuses on Cassie's final visit to an eating disorder clinic under the supervision of Abigail's mother Dr Stock. In her day-to-day life, she hallucinates messages instructing her to eat which seem to come from Sid, for whom she develops feelings. Jal's episode follows her attempt to win BBC Young Musician of the Year, and her strained relationship with her famous musician father. When a drug dealer 'Mad Twatter' smashes her clarinet as pay back for Sid not giving him money for drugs he bought, Jal's father sees to it he will not bother the gang again. In "Chris", Chris' mother abandons him, leaving £1,000 in cash. He blows the money on a party, and is eventually helped into temporary student accommodation by his psychology teacher, Angie (Siwan Morris). Episode five, "Sid", shows Sid's struggle with his parents' breakup while Tony organises a scheme to set him up with Michelle. A heartbroken and fragile Cassie attempts suicide by drug overdose.
"Maxxie and Anwar" focuses on the conflict between Anwar's Muslim faith and Maxxie's homosexuality. On a school trip to Russia, which Cassie does not attend as she is still in hospital, Michelle sees Tony trying to seduce Maxxie, because he wants to 'try something new'. In "Michelle", Michelle faces up to Tony's manipulative and cheating ways. She begins to date Josh Stock (Abigail's brother, played by Ben Lloyd-Hughes) until Tony breaks them up by sending naked photos of Abigail from Josh's phone. In "Effy", Josh seeks revenge on Tony and his younger sister Effy, by drugging her and effectively taking her for ransom. In the finale episode, "Everyone", it is Anwar's birthday. Anwar and Maxxie are reconciled when Anwar's father welcomes Maxxie to the birthday party, accepting his homosexuality. Chris's relationship with Angie ends violently when her fiancé returns. Tony confesses to Michelle that he loves her and wants to change his manipulative ways (whilst on the phone), only to be hit by a bus, as Effy watches on from Sid's dad Mark's car. The characters begin to sing "Wild World" by Cat Stevens as Tony lies unconscious and Sid searches for Cassie.
The second season premiered on E4 on 11 February 2008. "Maxxie and Tony" starts the series, showcasing Tony's impairments following his accident and Maxxie's involvement to his recovery. The episode also reveals more about Maxxie's life; we learn of his ambitions to be a dancer, his surname, his difficulties with homophobic bullies, and encounter his parents (played by Bill Bailey and Fiona Allen). The second episode introduces a new character in Maxxie's stalker, young carer Lucy, also known as "Sketch". Sketch disrupts the school play organized by drama lecturer Bruce (Shane Richie) in order to steal a kiss from Maxxie. To spite Maxxie, Sketch begins a sexual relationship with Anwar. Episode three focuses on Sid's life, coping with Cassie's departure to Scotland, and he suspects her of cheating. When his Scottish relatives visit, Mark is driven to despair, drinking and smoking himself to death unintentionally. Sid reconnects with brain-damaged Tony when he is able to open up to him about the incident. For "Michelle", the group go on a camping trip to a beach. Maxxie discovers Sketch having sex with Anwar, and Sid sleeps with Michelle, starting a relationship; he comes home to find Cassie waiting for him. In "Chris", Chris agrees to start a job and Jal learns to start being more open to new things, and the two end up in a relationship. Chris cheats on her with Angie when Cassie tells him she's left, but they move back in together, and Jal discovers she is pregnant.
"Tony", directed by recurring actor Harry Enfield, sees Tony Stonem attend a university open day not long after taking an ecstasy tablet that awakens elements of his old personality. In a visual metaphor for Jungian psychology, a mysterious girl who is a projection of Tony's subconscious helps him conquer his mental impairments. His old self again, he confronts Michelle and Sid and tells them their relationship is "wrong". With the Stonem parents unable to run the house, Effy takes over in episode seven. She starts a new private school and befriends weird girl Pandora Moon (Lisa Backwell), and resolves to solve her brother's and his friends' relationship problems. Cassie is hurting and turning to promiscuity, but through Effy's machinations, she and Sid get back together, as do Tony and Michelle. Actor Daniel Kaluuya wrote "Jal", which sees her struggle with her pregnancy, while Chris is rushed to hospital with a blood clot in his brain. Meanwhile, Maxxie introduces his new boyfriend, James (Sean Verey). In "Cassie", Jal tells Chris she is having an abortion. Cassie feels without her eating disorder and other problems, she is disempowered; she is traumatised when Chris dies in her arms of a subarachnoid haemorrhage and flees to New York City. In the series finale, the gang get their A Level results, collectively mourn Chris and eventually part ways, with Sid following Cassie to New York, Anwar moving with Maxxie and James to London, and Sketch left behind. The series ends with Effy in Tony's bed, reveling in the art work of emotions she has created as she claims her top place in their social world, and also as series' lead in the upcoming series.
We are introduced to the new cast on their first day at Roundview College in the season premiere, "Everyone". JJ Jones, James Cook and Freddie McClair are best friends to begin with; twins Katie and Emily Fitch know Naomi Campbell from school but are distant with her because Katie is homophobic and suspects her of being a lesbian. The gang meet Effy, and sidekick Pandora; Katie wants to become Effy's best friend, and both Cook and Freddie are instantly smitten. Cook passes the test set by Effy and begins a casual sexual relationship with her. Episode two focuses on Cook who invites the whole group over, but their friendships are not very strong yet; chaos ensues, and Cook angers local gangster Johnny White (Mackenzie Crook). Thomas Tomone is only introduced in the third episode. He is an immigrant from the Congo, and develops a crush on Pandora. He endears himself to the group when he is able to get Johnny White off their backs by besting him in a pepper-eating competition. However, despairing at his decadent life in Bristol, Mrs. Tomone brings Thomas back to the Congo. In "Pandora", Pandora's innocent slumber party becomes an MDMA-fuelled rave after Katie spikes the brownies. Emily and Naomi kiss; Naomi denies being gay, but urges Emily to admit that she is, who also denies it. Pandora allows Cook to take her virginity, but regrets it when later Thomas returns from the Congo.
Freddie's episode shows his difficult relationship with his widower father (Simon Day) and his sister Karen (Klariza Clayton), who has ambitions to be a celebrity. His father converts Freddie's shed—his personal sanctuary—into a dance studio for Karen. He witnesses Effy's parents' breakup, discovers that Cook slept with his sister, gets punched in the face by his father, and when he goes to tell Effy how he feels about her discovers she is with Cook. In "Naomi", Naomi runs against Cook for student president on the basis that if he wins she will have to sleep with him; when he wins however, he does not force her to take it further than kissing. She and Emily begin a sexual relationship, but Naomi is unwilling to accept the reality of its romantic nature. In "JJ", Freddie and Cook's feud over Effy negatively affects JJ. At Emily's encouragement, he manages to confront them both about it, and later loses his virginity when Emily decides to have pity sex with him. Thomas discovers that Pandora has been cheating on him, and while high on JJ's medication, Cook reveals to Freddie that Effy loves Freddie and not him. In Effy's episode, she has nothing: her Queen Bee status has been usurped by Katie, sex with Cook means nothing, and her home life is a wreck. She finally feels something when she has sex with Freddie, but after being tormented by Katie, an intoxicated Effy hits her with a rock. Katie is recovering in "Katie and Emily" but her relationship with her sister is falling apart. However, at the college ball, Emily is able to assert herself and Naomi confesses she loves Emily back. Thomas and Pandora also reunite. The finale episode sees Cook and Effy hiding out with Cook's father (Matt King). JJ tracks them down however, and forces Effy to confess it is Freddie that she loves, but Cook is adamant he loves her too. Freddie closes the series, asking "What do we do now?".
Season four begins with the suicide of a girl named Sophia (Amberley Gridley) while she is high on MDMA at a club Thomas works at. A police inspector (Pauline Quirke) questions the entire gang, and Thomas is expelled by the new headmaster (Chris Addison) for his unseemly connection to the incident. Thomas gives into temptation and sleeps with another girl, resulting in the breakup of him and Pandora. In "Emily", Emily's mother (Ronni Ancona) warns her to take her relationship more slowly and cautiously. Emily discovers Naomi had slept with Sophia and is the one who sold her the MDMA, leaving their relationship fraught. In "Cook", Cook is in trouble for an assault and, to be a better influence on his younger brother, accepts a prison sentence for dealing the drugs that led to Sophia's death, covering for Naomi. When Katie loses her job and discovers she has premature menopause, she cannot confide in her mother at first because of the stress of their bankruptcy and homelessness; the Fitches are forced to move into Naomi's house.
Freddie worries over Effy's psychological state in his centric episode, as she is developing a psychotic depression that resembles what his mother had before she committed suicide. He is able to save Effy after an attempt on her life; she is hospitalised and he is left desolate. JJ's episode sees him fall in love with a single mother called Lara (Georgia Henshaw), through whom he finds a new-found confidence and begins to doubt whether he really needed to be so highly medicated his whole life. In the penultimate episode, Effy's psychiatric counsellor Dr. John Foster (Hugo Speer) uses unorthodox hypnotic methods to cure Effy's depression, making her forget and want to abandon her old friends. After an incident at the spot of Tony's accident where she nearly commits suicide again, her psychosis comes back and Freddie insists Dr Foster cease treating Effy. Later, Foster lures Freddie to discuss Effy, and brutally murders Freddie with a baseball bat. In the finale episode, everyone deals with Freddie's absence, thinking that he has left of his own volition. Naomi and Emily finally repair their damaged relationship, scorched by cheating, and Naomi confesses she loved Emily since they first met; Thomas and Pandora are thrown back together by chance when they both get into Harvard College; a mostly-recovered Effy holds Freddie's birthday party in his shed, knowing that he loved her and pining for his return. Cook, who is on the run from the police after breaking out of prison, uncovers Dr Foster's killing and after confronting him, furiously lunges at Foster. The series ends here in freeze-frame leaving both Cook's and John Foster's fates unknown.
The season begins by introducing unconventional newcomer Franky, to whom secretly insecure popular girl Mini takes a dislike; Mini ingratiates Franky into her group only to disown her. Franky is on the verge of breakdown, her adoptive father's air revolver in hand, when mysterious stranger Matty convinces her of her self-worth. Mini's sweet friend Grace establishes new friendships with Franky and the school's other outsiders, metalhead Rich and farmhand Alo. In episode two, "Rich", Grace finds herself drawn to Rich. She attempts to help him win over an elusive girl, and eventually he gets past his shyness to realise his attraction to her too. After Mini's fashion show in "Mini", the two agree to begin dating. Mini, however, feels pressured to have sex with boyfriend Nick, who does not know she is a virgin. Mini's cruelty to Grace and her new friends backfires when her fashion show goes completely awry. When she realises that her best friend Liv has slept with Nick, she forces herself to have sex with him, which is disappointing. She is devastated to see the parallel between her and her promiscuous mother (Clare Grogan) as they encounter one another on their walks of shame. The affair between Nick and Liv continues, though they both suspect Mini knows when she unifies the two groups of friends under Liv's roof for a party, in "Liv". Because she cannot handle the stress of her family life or Mini's scheme, Liv leaves the house. In town, she meets drifter Matty, and the pair embark on a drug-fuelled bender. Back at her house, she discovers that Matty is in fact Nick's brother, and Liv's affair with Nick comes out in the open. The brothers reconcile, however, and Matty comes home again.
In "Nick", Matty is re-enlisted at Roundview, but his relationship with Liv causes a new love triangle to form—between him, Liv and Franky. Having lost both Mini and Liv, and now living in Matty's shadow, Nick has a nervous breakdown and smashes up his house with a golf club. Through Matty, however, Nick comes to see his father Leon (Dorian Lough) and his parenting in a more negative light and the two brothers take a stand. In his episode, Alo's parents take him out of sixth form to work on the farm, and after he causes an explosion they sell all of his belongings. In protest, he throws a massive party and when he confronts his parents, his father suffers a heart attack. Rather than burden his friend Rich, who has just proudly had sex for the first time with Grace, he goes home and attempts to repair things with his parents. In "Grace", Grace introduces Rich to her parents; Rich is shocked to discover that her father is headmaster David Blood (Addison). Blood schemes to have Grace's grades slip on her drama assessment, a staging of Twelfth Night, so that he can justify removing her from Roundview. Grace sees her dilemma, as peacemaker, through Hamlet's sea of troubles soliloquy; she uses Twelfth Night to bring the love triangle between Matty, Liv and Franky to a head, and ultimately receives an A. After Blood still forces Grace to change schools, Rich is inspired by Romeo and Juliet and proposes to her. In the series finale, the two attempt to marry in secret with the gang as witnesses, though Alo's van breaks down. Mini begins to recognise her attraction to Franky, and becomes very protective of her. After an attempt at sex with Matty, Franky has a panic attack, charges through a forest, and accidentally falls over a ledge. After being rescued by Mini, Matty and Liv, Franky reveals more to her friends about her insecurities. Though Blood intervenes and Grace and Rich do not marry, they are happily allowed to continue dating and the gang, solidified as friends, party together at a local fête.
Season 6 starts with the gang on holiday in Morocco; Franky has lost her virginity to Matty but is already becoming bored, and is tempted by wealthy drug dealer Luke (played by Joe Cole). Mini also decides to take Alo's virginity and swears him to secrecy. Matty pursues Luke and Franky which quickly escalates into a car chase; his truck overturns, putting Grace in a critical condition, and he runs away to avoid being arrested for the possession of the marijuana and ketamine Luke placed inside his vehicle. Back in Bristol, Franky struggles to cope with her guilt and Rich is prevented by her father from seeing Grace in hospital, where she lies in a coma, in "Rich". When Mr Blood takes Grace for treatment in Switzerland, Rich squats in the Bloods' home for some time, convinced that Grace is still alive, but after a party at the house a mournful David Blood informs him that Grace has subsequently died. In "Alex", new kid Alex, who is a little strange, arrives while the gang are at odds still mourning Grace; Liv in particular develops feelings for him, only for him to disclose to her that he is in fact gay. Nevertheless, they form a close in bond, particularly as Mini remains distant from Liv. In her episode, Franky, overwhelmed with guilt, escapes to "bad boy" Luke for companionship and excitement. Her actions are negatively viewed, and she quickly becomes alienated. She turns against authoritative figures at school and at home, pushing her to get more involved in her violent and destructive relationship with Luke. During a full-blown fight at a bar, Nick saves Franky and quietly confesses he loves her. After Luke gets rough with her, Franky escapes to a park near home where her father meets her; he is there to fend Luke away when he returns in an attempt to win Franky back. Subsequently, in "Mini", Mini continues to distance herself from her friends after Grace's death, while continuing her "no-strings-attached" relationship with Alo, but is hit further by the revelation that she is pregnant with Alo's baby. To get away from it, she clings to her deadbeat dad, Gregory, who she is convinced has changed. Though he abandons her, with the support of Franky she is able to accept her pregnancy.
In "Nick", Nick struggles to find money to pay for Russian gangsters to smuggle Matty back into England, all the while struggling with his feelings for Franky. After emotionally pouring his heart out to her during an argument in a nightclub toilet, he subsequently blows the deal. But, to his happiness, Franky finally reciprocates his feelings, and they form a relationship. In "Alo", Alo is finally forced to grow up when, in his effort to put his failed relationship with Mini behind him, he has sex with a girl named Poppy Champion (Holly Earl) who he did not initially know to be underage. Poppy reports him to the police when he breaks up with her. Although charges are eventually dropped, he and Mini are forced further apart than ever before. "Liv" focuses on Liv's isolation. Since meeting Alex, she has been "dealing" with Grace's death by going out, partying, drinking, and staying at Alex's house instead of her own home. Alex leaves Bristol one weekend, and Liv finds that—aside from her sister Maude—she has truly drifted from her friends, and Mini in particular. Moreover, she begins to have intense pains and feels a large lump on her side, which she worries might be ovarian cancer. Ultimately however, the lump turns out to be a grief-induced hallucination; responding to this, Liv takes a step towards dealing with Grace's death by placing flowers next to her tombstone alongside Rich, Doug, and Maude. While Mini's mum tries to convince her to give her child for adoption once it is born, and Franky is conflicted after Matty returns to Bristol, in "Franky & Mini", both girls decide to leave everything behind and abscond. Soon, however, Mini wishes to return home, despite Franky's insistence. Alo learns of Mini's pregnancy and to her surprise—in the end—vows to take care of her no matter what. In the finale, Franky attempts to track down her mother, but instead finds her biological sister who declares their mother has died. At Alex's house party to celebrate leaving Bristol behind, she tells both Matty and Nick she loves them but cannot be with them. In the conclusion, Mini goes into labour, while Franky's sister takes her to see her mother—who is not dead after all. Nick and Matty bond once again, and the latter turns himself in to the police. In the final scene, playing in parallel, Alex leaves Bristol for Thailand; Alo and Liv are beside Mini as she gives birth; Franky lays eyes on her mother; and Rich, outside the room where Mini is giving birth, looks at the camera and says "bye."
The seventh season, titled Skins Redux, aired on 1 July 2013. It saw the return of former Skins stars Hannah Murray as Cassie, Jack O'Connell as Cook and Kaya Scodelario as Effy in three individual stories. Lily Loveless as Naomi and Kathryn Prescott as Emily also starred in guest roles. The three stories have their own titles: Skins Fire (Effy), Skins Pure (Cassie) and Skins Rise (Cook). The six-part series began filming on the 22 October 2012 and concluded at the end of January 2013.
Skins Fire depicts Effy as a 21-year-old hedge fund receptionist. She lives with Naomi, who is drifting through life with vague ambitions of being a stand-up comedian. Effy is much more serious and driven than in the past, and impresses her bosses enough to win a shot at being a stock trader. In her attempts to succeed in her career, she becomes embroiled in an insider trading scandal, as well as romantically involved with her boss (Kayvan Novak). In order to spare her lovelorn friend Dom (Craig Roberts) from jail time for his part in the crime, she makes a full confession to the Financial Services Authority of hers and Jake's activities. Meanwhile, Naomi reveals she is struggling with cancer, and pleas with Effy to not tell Emily, who is in New York on an internship. Dom and Effy support Naomi until it is clear her condition is terminal; Emily returns to London, hurt and betrayed, and comforts Naomi while Effy is prosecuted.
Skins Pure catches up with Cassie at 23, living a solitary existence in London and waitressing after breaking up with an ex-boyfriend in America. The new Cassie no longer does drugs, and has recovered from her eating disorder. After discovering someone has been secretly taking artistic photos of her and uploading them to the Internet, she tracks down her stalker, and discovering it to be the cook at her cafe, Jakob (Olly Alexander). After realising Jakob's attention gives her confidence, she allows him to continue photographing her on her terms, in an explicitly non-sexual friendship. While trying to support her depressed father and little brother after the death of her mother, her friendship with Jakob slowly comes apart as his jealousy grows irrational, particularly when Cassie models for a professional shoot. Ultimately, Cassie chooses to leave behind her friendship with Jakob and another man who had been pursuing her romantically (Daniel Ben Zenou) to focus on raising her little brother while her father recuperates in Italy.
Skins Rise follows Cook (now somewhere in his early 20s) who is on the run and living alone in Manchester. In an introductory voiceover, Cook explains his thoughts and alludes towards a murder he may have committed; it is implied but not outright stated that he is avoiding capture after killing John Foster a few years back. He is now a drug dealer and has a semi-serious relationship with a woman named Emma (Esther Smith), but becomes mesmerized by Charlie (Hannah Britland), the girlfriend of local druglord Louis (Liam Boyle) after he is asked to watch over her for a few days. After Louis brutally kills a man named Jason (Lucien Laviscount) for having an affair with Charlie, Cook flees Manchester, taking Emma with him. En route, Charlie calls Cook and begs him to take her with them. The three end up at Emma's family's old country home, in a remote part of the country. Not long after though, Louis arrives, explaining that he tracked their car. After Charlie refuses to go with him, the three leave the house and find Emma's parents' car abandoned, indicating they have been killed. The trio are stranded in the woods, where Louis catches up with and murders Emma. Seeing this, Cook decides he is done running, and confronts and beats Louis to a pulp. He declares "I'm Cook. You thought you could kill me? I'm fucking Cook." He helps Charlie escape and alerting the police, while a voiceover indicates he is pondering the significance of life and death.