by Stephen Tall on April 19, 2011
Perhaps it qualifies for a confession, but I’m not at all embarrassed by it: I love E4’s Skins. Actually let me qualify that: I loved the first two series (fresh ‘n’ funny), was disappointed by the following two (far-fetched ‘n’ farcical), and am now back fully on-board for series five, with creators Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain remembering to ensure the characters are warm, likeable, believable, flawed and… cool.
This is not a novelisation of the latest series, but a self-contained prequel, offering bite-sized chapters that take us further into the back-history of the seven individuals (minus Matty, who is largely absent) who later form a misfitted but tight-knit friendship group.
As with the series, Franky is the most interesting character — damaged, fragile but steely — though Mini’s suppressed sapphic feelings (for Liv), and Nick’s expressed uber-macho dickheadedness are explored in greater depth. And who can’t love Rich and Alo’s weird-but-it-works bromance? Even the too-romantic character of Grace has the space to become real.
Of course you can’t have everything. There’s no Chris Addison, nor is there a repeat of perhaps Skins’ finest moment to date: the sublimely OTT cameo of Will Young as a camply prim Michael Jackson-worshipping educational counsellor, T. Love.
But apart from that: enjoy.