It was the controversial show which shook up British TV thanks to its graphic depictions of teen life.
But ‘Skins’ also gave a whole raft of young, mostly-unknown British actors a shot at stardom. Here’s how some of our favourites got on.
As the charismatic, volatile Cook, Derby boy O’Connell was the breakout star of the second generation of ‘Skins’ performers, appearing first in series three. While a massive party boy, he was also a loyal friend, illustrated by the revelation of the crime he committed when he returned in the final series.
Now 24, O’Connell had appeared in films ‘Eden Lake’ and ‘Harry Brown’ before ‘Skins’, but 2014 has really been his breakout year, starring in the ‘300’ sequel, military drama ‘71’ as well as being chosen by Angelina Jolie to play the lead in her Oscar bait directorial effort ‘Unbroken’, in which he is a real-life American war hero.
Lots of people were surprised to see to weird kid from ‘About A Boy’ turn up as the lithe, sexy star of this new, edgy teen series. But Hoult showed off his skills as group leader Tony, who slept with everyone and didn’t meet a drug he wouldn’t try. The role revived the 25-year-old’s acting career too. He did blockbuster in ‘Clash Of The Titans’ and impressed in drama ‘A Single Man’, before scoring a franchise role as Hank McCoy – aka The Beast – in ‘X-Men: First Class’. He also landed in the gossip mags as Jennifer Lawrence’s boyfriend. 2015 will see him play a bald loony in the ‘Mad Max’ reboot and a despicable music exec in dark comedy ‘Kill Your Friends’.
As Michelle in the show’s original line-up, former head girl Pearson was Tony’s long-suffering girlfriend, who was also a dab hand at languages. Post-‘Skins’, Pearson has gone back to theatre – she joined a Bristol stage group at the age of three – as well as appearing in a couple of episodes of ‘Casualty’. She will be starring in ‘Age of Kill’ next year, alongside illustrious co-stars Martin Kemp and Donna Air.
Sid Jenkins is one of the most beloved in ‘Skins’, thanks to his nerdy hat, nerdy glasses and well, the fact he’s a nerd. Throughout the series, he gets more confident and cops off with several ladies, providing wish fulfilment for every person who ever felt uncomfortable in their own skin at school.
Bailey decided acting wasn’t for him after leaving at the end of series two. He worked briefly in the stockroom of Topman and All Saints before joining the world of media. Since 2013, he’s been a sales executive at HouseBeautiful magazine.
Former model Scodelario started the series as Tony’s 14-year-old little sister Effy, but by the time of the third series and the second generation of actors, she had become the star. In fact, she ended up being one of the most complex characters in the show – popular, but fragile and manipulative. Scodelario dated James O’Connell during filming and followed him to Hollywood, where she played a bit part in ‘Moon’, before being cast as Cathy in Andrea Arnold’s ‘Wuthering Heights’. She went back to British TV for crime drama ‘Southcliffe’ in 2013, before joining the ensemble of young adult dystopian franchise, ‘The Maze Runner’. The sequel is currently filming and is due out next year.
One of the best things about ‘Skins’ was it hired teen writers to help pen the show, ensuring it was as authentic as possible. The now 25-year-old Kaluuya joined as one of these staffers, but also appeared on-screen in the supporting role of Posh Kenneth. Since then, he’s released hit Internet parody songs like ‘Too Many Weave’, as well as appearing in ‘Johnny English Reborn’ and ‘Kick-Ass 2’. In 2015, he’ll be starring opposite Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro in Mexico-set US crime drama ‘Sicario’. That’s a long way from Bristol.
Dakota Blue Richards
Richards played Franky, who joined the cast as part of the third generation in series five. Franky was an insecure loner who tries to ingratiate herself with the popular crowd, but tended to fail. The 20-year-old actress’s career got off to a flying start by being cast at Lyra in the movie adaptation of Philip Pullman’s ‘The Golden Compass’ (although the film was a flop) and since ‘Skins’ has worked in a variety of low-budget British movies. She is starring alongside the legendary Eileen Atkins in ‘ChickLit’, which is scheduled to come out in 2015 and is a staunch supporter of charity Action For Children.
Patel played Anwar, one of the funniest characters on the show – a young Muslim constantly debating between his faith and his party-loving ways. ‘Skins’ was his first acting job, but it led to big things. In 2008, he starred in Oscar winner ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ (where he met his longtime, but now ex-girlfriend Freida Pinto) and he appeared in ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’. He has just finished playing a young online journalist in Aaron Sorkin’s TV drama ‘The Newsroom’ and next year sees him star with Hugh Jackman in ‘District 9’ director Neill Blomkamp’s innovative-looking sci-fi, ‘Chappie’.
Kathryn & Megan Prescott
London-born fraternal twins Kathyn and Megan headed back to education after they left at the end of series four, with the former taking up photography and the latter studying Television Production. But Kathryn seems to have embraced acting again, heading to Hollywood where she stars in MTV show ‘Finding Carter’ and appearing in several episodes of teen soap ‘Reign’. Her sister hasn’t had quite as much luck in front of the camera, appearing in a scary anthology series in 2013. But it looks like that production degree might be coming in handy – most recently she produced (as well as starring) in a horror short called ‘Turn Around When Possible’.
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