Had a skinful?

John Barker shakes his head at the rapidly declining quality of fan favourite Skins.


It’s back, but where is the bang? As the episodes drift by, and they do merely drift, the dwindling audience are left clutching at straws in the hope of a little excitement. Each episode seems to confront me with the question of whether it is me getting old or is it the concept behind E4’s revolutionary has-been Skins.

The latest cast to take on the roles of the stereotypical teens have long been given their chance to prove themselves worthy of representatives of our culture. Replacing Effy (Kaya Scodalario) as queen bee is Mini (Fraya Mavor) who, despite attempts to characterise her as malicious and conniving in more recent episodes, remains timid and unconvincing, offering us a lacklustre portrayal.

With a weak casting of the leading lady there is little hope for the rest of the ensemble. Indeed the lack of support is clear and the rest of the cast seem to slip into the low energy of Miss Mavor. However, Laya Lewis who plays Mini’s best friend Liv is going from strength to strength as the series progresses.

Her onscreen presence emits confidence and maturity in handling the trials and tribulations of teenage life. Completing queen bee’s original trio is Grace (Jessica Sula). Of all the characters created by writers of series 5, Grace is perhaps the most endearing. Her innocence, positivity and simplicity of character offer a refreshing break in the often over-complicated storylines.

The character is well played by Sula and there is a sense that there is much potential for Grace to carry a most compelling storyline should she be presented with such an opportunity.

The main issues stem from the fact that the majority of the cast and their shenanigans are in no way memorable. Having experienced four series prior to this with two casts, the lines of comparison have been well and truly drawn.

Perhaps we have been spoilt up until now, perhaps it is simply that it is becoming more and more difficult for writers to come up with original ideas or perhaps it is merely a shift in its target audience which has left me so far unimpressed. It is quite understandable if the hit show has run its course and should this be the case then let it end now with its head held high as the groundbreaking drama that shook society. Either this or foster Grace’s infectious positive attitude and aim for higher standards.


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