TV Review – Skins

Skins E4 ReviewFrom the makers of Shameless comes new British drama, Skins. From the makers of Shameless comes new British drama, Skins. From the makers of Shameless comes new British drama, Skins. Not quite sure if anyone got that. Did you know that from the makers of Shameless comes new British drama, Skins?

We realised this in the months leading up to Skins' launch on E4 back in January. Literally every time you put E4 on, this information was slapped at your face. So after its advertising hype, was Skins actually worth watching? After the first episode, we thought Skins was ridiculous and were tempted to write a scathing post warning you away. But in a rare moment of sympathy we thought that maybe judging something after one episode was a bit harsh. So we endured the entire series and, now its finished, have come up with the following conclusion – Skins is nothing more then trendy-looking shit staged in an unrealistically perfect world where the most unlikely of events happen to the most improbable bunch of kids. 

Remember how Skins is from the creators of Shameless? Well it goes without saying; the two couldn’t be any further apart when it comes to its style and content. Shameless is set in Manchester and Skins in Bristol. While it could have been nice for the writers to get away from the impression that the north is a dive and the south is full of posh southern wankers, nothing seems to have been done to try and stamp out this stereotype. Bristol seems to be this magic and glorious land where everything is perfect and vibrant. 

Over the nine weeks that Skins has been on our screens, we somehow get the feeling that the management of H&M and Topshop will be laughing all the way to the bank. All the characters seem to wear nothing but the clothes found in these shops. Expect sales of cheap-looking heart pendants for girls and contrasting stripy tops for blokes to rocket through the roof as all the trendy kids try to copy the non-imaginative style of the Skins characters. Speaking of the characters, there couldn’t really be a more bizarre mixture. It’s like a producer has rifled through country to find as many differing personalities as possible.

The mismatch of losers includes your typical gay character, Maxxie; Tony, the stud of the school who everyone wants to be, with passions include dipping into the world of manlove, being a general twat to everyone and cheating on his girlfriend Michelle. Michelle comes across as the diva of the group, often complaining when things go wrong and generally being a stupid cow when she realises looks don’t count for everything. Jal is a privileged and musically talented girl who often gets ignored because she’s dull & boring, and then there's Chris, the teacher shagger. So far so teen drama. But how could Skins go crazy and create some radical character development? Easy! Chuck in a drug-taking Muslim character called Anwar, instantly solving the problem of not having any ethnic minorities in the cast and meaning nobody can be accused of racism.

With all the wankers and dickheads, Skins had to have a character like Sid who actually has an ounce of intelligence and conscience when it comes to things like stealing cars, although this holds him back as no-one will help him pop his cherry. Finally, add to the pot the biggest cocktease in the show – Cassie who entertains us with her eating disorders and suicidal tendencies – and you have the makings of a complete randomly put-together show. 

Each Skins episode often features all of these goons at various points, but usually just one character is centralised and given their own storyline. Our personal favourite was when Tony tried to save his sister Effy after she took smack at a party and was left on the floor to die. Everyone knows rescue attempts go tits up, and this one was no exception. In the process of a rescue he was beaten up, taunted and then nearly forced to shag his own sister. Who says incest can’t be funny? Remember that book we reviewed once, Angels and Insects

Other rubbish plots included Cassie overdosing on drugs because Sid wouldn’t go out with her, and… actually they're all rubbish and would never happen in real life. When was the last time you knew someone whose mum buggered off and left them a grand to do whatever they wanted? Answers on a postcard please. The parties they all have on Skins seem to be better than any we’ve ever seen to. Obviously, the days have gone when having mates turning up to drink your parent’s alcohol supply has gone. According to Skins it seems to be acceptable to trash random people's houses, ponce around to rubbish nu-rave music, act like a twat after a single can of lager, cram as many drugs down your neck as possible and shag whatever’s moving. Maybe it’s a Bristol thing. 

Whatever the reason, people out there actually like Skins. Why we don’t know. As yet, the Daily Mail hasn’t launched a mass campaign trying to convince parents that Skins will rip all of our youth to shreds. Another series has sadly been commissioned and hecklerspray is more than happy to write an episode for the producers that bears even the slightest resemblance to what goes on in a normal group of kids' lives. You know, for a change. 


  1. annabelle says

    in my opinion, this review is NOT what the majority of people think. it is obviosly written by someone of an age that the programme is not aimed for, with opinions that all teenagers should be dressed ‘appropriately’. for your inormation, the characters are students, who usually cannot afford luxury clothes from expensive brands.
    and i think the episodes are genius and funny, not ‘rubbish’ as you say.

  2. samantha says

    I think this review is bullshit. The obviously bias reviewer has just watched one of the most orginal series I, in my short life, have watched, and can only say crap about it. As for the situations and main characters, what is normal? It wouldnt take long for me to go round my school and find people like these characters, just that they wouldnt have the whole briallant script writers there for them. The mindset and view is totally that from a teenage perspective and I think if you spent more time off your arse and away from that brand new computer screen your granny gave you as a graduation present from that online course you did last week, you might know this.

  3. says

    I know somebody like every member of Skin’s main cast, I know people who’ve od’d because they couldn’t get the love of their life, I know people who have even changed their names to suit the characters they most embody (, ten out of ten for guessing who >.>) so, this review is not in keeping with the general consencus, so – go and **** yourself – or live a little.

  4. Leiso says

    What a load of crap, skins is ace and I knew people like that when I lived in the U.K. Now Skins is shown in Australia and people love it.

  5. Scabby says

    I have to say I think its a pile of wank. I’m at the so called age range and I find the show shallow, bland and over exagerrated. Sure the characters are all people we can say we know to some extent, there all stereotypes! I agree I’ve never been to a party like the ones in this show but I guess thats just pandering to the demographic saying “look how cool we are at this party, don’t you wish you were here?”. Before people start calling me a geek, I have lived and I have been known to P.A.R.T. Y? Because I wanted too! But the main reason why its crap is cause the characters are fucking annoying, nobody would react the way they do, why should i sympathise with a prick who treats his friends like shit and cheats on his girlfriend? Even Sid the only half decent character is just a walking stereotype “Oh I’m so uncool cause I’m a virgin”.

    I could’ve ranted better closer to when I watched the series but I just thought I’d stick up for the reviewer. There’s plenty of better television out there people!

  6. Dan says

    I’m in the age range for this piece of shit program and I, funnily enough, think its a piece of shit.

    I love shameless, but this show is awful. Watched by the same trendy wankers who watch The mighty boosh.

  7. Lizzie says

    Wow. How odd.
    “Other rubbish plots included Cassie overdosing on drugs because Sid wouldn’t go out with her, and… actually they’re all rubbish and would never happen in real life.”

    Have you even BEEN to the real world? In my opinion Skins is a pretty accurate representation of a teenager’s life at college. Not doing coursework, facing depression, taking drugs, drinking, relationship problems, blah blah blah.
    I admit this probably doesnt happen everywhere, but major cities like Bristol (where its set) and where I live (Brighton) “skins plots” are actually regular occurances.

    Thanks for your OPINION but try not to stereotype Skins as some crap soap.

    Could you also give us all a good example of “Better television”? Apart from reality TV shows, crap sci-fis no one care about, random competitions trying to make people celebrities and all that jazz? Cheers x

  8. Lizzie says

    & last but not least: get a life n go to a real party?
    I’ve been to better one’s than the ones on skins.

  9. says

    1 – The Crystal Maze

    2 – Agreed

    3 – Ok, i’ll try, where can I get one? Get yourself over to Thailand and experience a full moon party. There better then the ones you’ll have on Brightons crap man made beach.

  10. Simon says

    Whilst it is true that every part of the show is probably exaggerated a little, this reviewer is either over 40 or has led the most boring teenage life imaginable.
    The characters are all pretty believable if a little stereotypical, the problem being (speaking as a 20 year old) that teenage stereotypes are generally fairly accurate.
    You’ve never been to a teenage party where everyone’s on drugs? Or the house gets smashed? Lame. And long live rave!

  11. Mimi says

    this review is a load of bullshit. the person that’s written it is obviously 40+ and hasn’t had a life. Ok, yeah, of course each characters’ storyline is exagerated a little for entertainment purposes (for those numpties out there that think that skins is completely unrealistic, the producers, directors and the cast have been asked on a number of occasions whether they think skins gives a good representation of british teenagers today, all of which have said that it has had to be exagerated for entertainment purposes, but other than that…it is pretty accurate!)
    personally i love skins, and i couldn’t imagine my life without it now.
    to a certain extent we all see some of the character’s qualities in our own group of friends.
    i love skins and think it has been written and acted wonderfully by the current producers/writers/cast and has had some amazing storylines. im gutted that they have chosen to get a new cast in for the 3rd series, because i couldnt imagine skins without the current gang.
    I think that whoever has written this review should take a look at the ratings of this show, and see how many countries it has been screened in (particualarly recently, it has been taken to America and is doing really well, it takes a lot of hard work to make it in America)
    And the music isn’t rubbish. it’s great.

  12. gee says

    WORST REVIEW EVER – Matthew Laidlow has no idea. Although slightly exaggerated (it is TV Matthew), most college do go through the things portrayed in Skins. Next time, the review should be done by someone within 15 years of the target audience. The only thing stereotypical here your view Matthew – guess it must be your age.

  13. Henry says

    Skins is the best thing on TV in an eternity, and if you don’t like it, fuck off and watch Midsomer Murders.

    Finally, the “ignorant youth” can watch something worth watching in that it’s close to actual realism (albeit slightly exaggerated.)

    Skins is, like, so safe, yeah? πŸ˜›

  14. Sammy says

    this review is such crap! i live in australia and everyone i know loves skins and watched it every week it was on sbs and ordered off the internet from the UK to have the DVD box set since it doesnt come out in aus for ages. I know so many people who resemble characters of skins or at least traits of the characters and i hardly find the show that unrealistic to trash it as much as you did in this interview! maybe if you were 10 years younger you would see teenage life isnt that far-off from the story line of skins!

  15. Laz says

    Skins is probably the most irritatingly unoriginal and pretentious programme I’ve made myself endure in a long time. I am 18, go to parties and cannot empathise with it. It seems to make out that teenagers, rather than being people like the rest of us (albeit with a few specific age-related concerns), are not in fact capable of competently interacting with the rest of the human race, and, least of all give a shit about anything other than the next A-Level result, driving test or party. And as to how accurately it represented teenagers culturally, to be honest I can’t comment, because so many of the young people I know started behaving and dressing like the characters in the programme. Although maybe it does bear some resemblance to reality: all my generation seem to care about is UCAS points, fringes and topshop. (oh and facebook/bebo/myspace) music is also increasingly shit and boring.

  16. tayla says

    this is the shittest thing i have ever read
    and so wrong!
    it is pretty clear that
    this person has not stepped
    out side the front door cause i live in AUSTRALIA
    no were near Bristol and this stories
    still happen here its ridicules how out of touch some people
    with the teenage community
    get over it,it happens, its happening every day
    “fuck it”

  17. says

    I’m so glad someone else thought the same thing about this show. It’s a total after school special with sex and drugs thrown in and it feels so haphazard. It tries waaaay too hard to be edgy and cool.

  18. says

    Hi Guys…

    I watched Skins regularly when it was on TV and pretty much everyone I know likes it too!

    I think it is NOT a lot of “crap” because it does actually show you things that happen.. Doesn’t anyone know someone who cheats on their gf??
    People who party and take drugs??

    If you dont you must lead an extremely sheltered life!!

    When I was at college that was pretty much my lifestyle.. partying all the time.. out with my mates and having a good time and it was good!!

    I Live in Scotland and am pretty sure this happens everywhere in the UK.. It wouldnt be normal if it didnt surely!

    Who cares about TopShop and fringes?? we can do wht we like =)

  19. skinspoo says

    skins is so shit
    the inbetweeners are soo much better more original and wayyyyyyyy funnier

  20. stacey says

    do you know who aaron johnson is?
    he plays one of the main characters in “angus thongs and perfect snogging”.

    he is very good looking and an incredile actor.
    i really think he should play the part that James O’Connell played in the last skins series, the main attraction of Skins for me. haha.

  21. Mira says

    cant wait untill season 4 :]
    and this is a load of crap
    its just like the average teens life
    we all deal with one of those problems at one point or another
    me and my friends went through a stage together where thats all we talked about lol.
    btw what was it rated??

  22. Viki says

    Aw man!! πŸ˜›

    gotta say, i agree on the most part with the reviewer. i am 17 and at college, and i know a few people on weed and parties with alchohol DO happen, but skins is the farthest, most over-exaggerated portrayal of teenage life i have ever seen on the tellybox!! πŸ˜›

    also, everyone who commented to stick up for the programme and said “this shit does happen” have made fools of yourselves, because it doesnt! XD not to this extent anyway πŸ˜›

    Skins is there for people to laugh at!its so over-blown and rediculous πŸ˜›

  23. lol says

    Viki, man. Get a life. Like, seriously. Just because you don’t see these thing happening it must mean they are actually not? Plz.

  24. Lindsey says

    I just watched the first episode…it is definitely entertaining.
    Also, I am an American and just had a few questions.
    1. When they say the characters are in college, is that like traditional American 4 year colleges that you go to after high school? I can never fully understand the UK school system haha..
    2. What channel is this on? Because it would never be allowed on basic American channels…especially with all the language.

    But I don’t think I find this show any more unbelievable then gossip girl or something..

  25. Lindsey says

    Well as i think of that…it is actually much worse than gossip girl in the language and nudity and all. Gossip girl has all that, it is just not graphic.

  26. Randy says

    It makes me sick how this type of lifestyle is advertised, we all seem to think ‘oh this is just your typical teenagers life at uni or college in some places in britain’ but what we are forgetting is that there are places in the world where people would kill to have the type of education these chumps get, but what do they care?
    I have been to harder parties before, I am latin american and we party like no others, but to be honest, this all seems so forced at aiming to be cool rather than a lifes lesson. I dont know, it just pisses me off so much, my friends watch it and think the same.
    Over exaggerated drool, with plenty of skinny pretty people.
    I would love to put all these so called ‘young students’ into the situations i have lived in the past, real situations, not some forced i want to be cool type of ****.
    That is all.

  27. NALTON says

    Who ever wrote this is a complete idiot… it sounds like a person who grew up in a sheltered home who does not ave a clue about the state of world teens.
    For one all the issues talk on SKINS are true. I grew up in an the suburbs of the Caribbean where i witnessed all of the issues that took place in SKINS. I felt relieved that someone out there understood us. I kno alot of people from the various schools on the island of… that have to deal with teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, alcohol abuse,criminal charges, self abuse( like an ex i had who use to cut herself, smoke like her life depended on it, drinks her self to sleep), and what we call bicycles; girls who have sex with anyone to get attention(AND people thats just the tip of the iceberg.
    So I get angry when sheltered people make judgments when they never been outside there front door.
    Alot of respect to the makers of SKINS.

  28. Maddy says

    I love Skins! It’s entertaining, and you fall in love with most of the characters (i have a personal crush on Sid =]).
    And also, these stories are a hell of alot more believable than Gossip Girl stories (no offense to and Gossip Girl lovers. i find it quite addictive myself.)
    These stories involve divorce, abuse, young love, overdosing, eating disorders, therapy/rehab, breaking the law, and so much more that ourselves and our friends and family experience evry day. it’s a messed up world, and Skins isn’t afraid to show it like it is.
    Skins is daring, and i love it for that.

  29. Danielle says

    I’m 16 and live in New Zealand, and I hate Skins it’s actually worse than that chauvinistic flavour of love show.
    I wish one of the characters would OD and die, it’s unrealistic how they take soooo many drugs and nothing bad ever happens. They would get chlamidiya or gonorrhea having sex with that many people.

    I tortured myself and watched a whole episode, as one of my friends for some strange reason thinks it’s awesome, and what happened? They took a bunch of drugs and some guy fucked his lesbian friend.

    Aimed at horny, immature dumb teenagers.
    What do people like about skins?
    The characters create their own problems.
    But when I’m honest with myself I see that these characters from Skins are just like the people at my school that like it; bland and really stupid. And I guess that’s why it bothers me so much, because the majority of New Zealanders are not intelligent and will not contribute much to society except, you know, they’ll work at fast food restaurants. But I’ll cook my own food mostly.
    So yeah stuff skins, and thankyou for this realistic review.

  30. bbbbbb says

    This show is totally insane! Yes, the characters and storylines are extremely exagerated, and everything that could go wrong does go wrong. Let’s be honest, there’s an episode told from one characters perspective in which he finds out that his girlfriend is cheating, someone in his family dies, and then he betrays his best friend. That’s just what happens to him, let alone the other characters in one episode. What about the car in the first episode? The bus in the last? There are drug overdoses, ideal love scenarios, tragedies, etc. Through the lens of sex, drugs, love, hangovers and other altered states the show moves at a rapid pace with the logic of a dream. It’s clear as day that the creators are jamming every possible idea they can come up with into the show, which results in an unreal world, a world of imagination. That’s interesting. IT IS A SOAP OPERA. IT IS CLASSIC MELODRAMA and there is nothing wrong with that.

  31. bbbbbb says

    it’s an oversimplification. something like what you’re doing.

    the characters are archetypes, but far too multilayered to be written off as stereotypes. they arise from root associations, common traits of many youths. out of those recognizable charaters comes a greater degree of depth as we see the world from different perspectives. with each episode the gaze is passed to a new character and we develope empathy.

  32. bob says

    who on here has, or knows anyone who has, been to brothel in england, found a local gangsta strapped to a bondage thing, took photos then beat the shit out of him? And thats only the 2nd one ive seen. Fuckin idiots who say ‘its just like real life’. You are all stupid cunts who tell yourselves ur lives are like this, when really you sit at home watchin this shite. Unfortunately i have to watch this shit cos im doing a project on how cynical it is in exploiting us young people, and you are all stupid enough to watch it.

  33. nio says

    Skins is the worst series i’ve ever seen.Every one there is mad and i dont like human that have no sense of what is going on.This series shouldn’t exist it makes other humans believe that teenagers are that way sorry but fuck this idiotic series.OK maybe true that they are humans like thembut i dont want to know any of them.

  34. alice says

    First off, the majority of you all seemingly need to learn how to spell. Secondly, have you ever heard of difference of opinion? Not everyone is going to like a certain tv show – for instance I hate the Mighty Boosh, I don’t expect everyone else to hate it just because I do. I stumbled across this hoping it would help me with an essay I have to do for A level media, it didn’t help in the slightest, it made me realise how ridiculous some people can be though! You can hardly sit and talk about how skins is not a representation of youth, if you can’t be classed as the youth yourself. (just like I could not sit here and talk about how the office isn’t a good representation of actual 9-5 work, I don’t work in an office, I’m a student therefore I have no room to talk really) I know people who smoke cannabis, and I know a lot of people who drink every weekend and sleep with someone different, I’ve known people with eating disorders and people who have to live coping with a death in the family (weirdly these are just a few topics highlighted in skins!) Unfortunately for the people adamant it doesn’t, skins DOES highlight certain aspects of the ‘youth culture’ in the UK and quite frankly, if you don’t realise this, you’re simply ignorant. There’s not much you can do about it by slating the show.

  35. Ed says

    I think its cute that you think that this guy is really old, yet his grandma is still alive to buy him stuff. Do people in Bristol really get $1000 presents for passing a class?

  36. Think you know? says

    First of all, like Alice, I was also looking to find some information to write a communications essay for A2. Many of you have said that Skins series 1 and now 2 are very unrealistic and OTT….well I’m very sorry to say that you have obviously lived very sheltered lives indeed. I myself could be the story of Skins on the whole, give or take a few details but could easily find someone to fill in the blanks! People today have no idea the kind of pressures, insecurities and down right arrogance that teenagers have to deal with on a daily basis.’Yeh get over a it few essays here, death of a family member there…big deal’. Try throwing into all the fun and games of drinking and partying…sexual abuse, drug taking, college pressures, parental pressures, peer pressures, the self doubt and self harm caused by that. Skins is the real world people…it’s only some of you that have been lucky enough to avoid it!

    Thanks Skins for finally having the balls to show people.

  37. 5K11V5 says

    Skins is completely like real life.

    Why, only the other month I was introduced to a friend’s girlfriend and the minute his back was turned we’d dropped eleven e’s each and were f*cking on his parents’ rooftop. After that we stole their credit cards, set fire to their house, and went to Thailand for a bit. It was sooo cool.

    When I got back I was bored of this bitch so I dumped her, and then she killed herself. I started stripping for money, but then I thought I’d try having sex with men, you know, just to be extra cool, so I got a boyfriend but then felt I needed a girlfriend also, you know? So I had, like, eight grams of heroin while I thought about it.

    I went back home and my parents tried to ground me, so I slapped my mum round the face and headbutted my dad. They’ll think twice now. Anyway, they apologised, gave me fifty grand and let me use their Alpen retreat whenever I wanted. So I became a ski-instructer and had, like, eight girls (all super hot) at the same time while downing absinth and doing about eighty lines of coke.

    It was boring when I returned to Bristol (oh yah, I live there cos it’s cool), so I threw a party while my parents were away. They came back while the party was in full swing and my mum ended up being taken from behind by my best mate. Oh well. These things happen I guess.

  38. Anon says

    You very comment reveals the flaw in your reasoning, ‘watched by trendy wankers’ trendy its self is a term related to the popular culture, and btw mighty boosh is ace because its different the dour predictable bullshit someone like you is sure to watch

  39. Pantera says

    Skins is a great example of why I hate teen dramas (for the record, I’m an 18yo American and I watched the first episode of season 3).
    It depicts unrealistic people things doing unrealistic things. Giving your ridiculous, stereotyped, cardboard characters a single realistic thing, like having a girl be a lesbian, does not make the show realistic. Teenagers watch these shows because they wish their lives were like that. I don’t know anybody who’s had an amazingly good looking girl give them a checklist and if they check everything off, she has sex with them (and she goes through with it). Has this happened to anybody?
    I wouldn’t mind this so much if the show recognized its ridiculousness and didn’t make pretensions of seriousness.

    (Although I will admit, buried deep within my mind is the horrifying thought “what if this realistic? What if teenagers do act like this? Fuck, I’m a boring person. I really missed out”)

  40. marie says

    i don’t get why everybody’s only talking about whether or not the show is realistic, as if the only way a tv show can be good is if it’s realistic. it’s not supposed to be reality tv, it’s supposed to be entertaining and it is! maybe all the stuff on the show “doesn’t happen in real life” – but you could say that about almost every single tv show or movie ever made. however, i think skins shows a really exaggerated version of something slightly realistic, and i also happen to think that the show is awesome!
    oh, and i think this review is crap by the way.

  41. john marks says

    I hope you all know that this “reality” TV show, is in reality scripted, anytime any character does anything, it’s scripted period. So quit your bitchin’ and realizes that this twisted unrealistic abortion, is a product of a bunch of TV show maker’s imaginations. “Skins” isn’t real, grow up. Nice article by the by, keep up the good work!

  42. Aubrey Lam says

    I think SKINS is retarded & lame. It’s only a show to encourage younger kids to start doing drugs because they probably think the show and what their doing is cool. i don’t think so, i am a 19 year old girl, i party but i never in my life done drugs. i don’t even plan to. I don’t have sex with strangers either. Why would anyone want to ruin their life so young. Think about your body. This show is ridiculous, and i don’t reccommend anyone to watch it. I cannot even believe they let it even play to the public. But yet, every one wants to stops kids from texting and driving, drinking and driving and the use of drugs, well watching this show, you know its never going to happen. This is my opinion.