10 Years After "Skins" Debuted On Television, We Rewatched The Very First Episode
"I don’t want to watch 16-year-olds touching each other’s genitals."
Unbelievably, today marks 10 years since Skins debuted, so five of us decided to rewatch the very first episode and talk about it.
How many series did you all watch?
Jamie Jones: Two and a half. I gave the third series a chance.
Marie Le Conte: I tried as well. I watched two series and then I was like NOPE because it started with people who were the same ages as Series 1. I was like, hang on, these people are too young.
Ellie Bate: Four, maybe five.
Scott Bryan: I remember watching it when I was 17 and having the most FOMO in my life, as everyone here was having lots of sex and parties and I was alone in Dorset with inadequate Wi-Fi and no mobile phone signal.
Becky Barnicoat: I didn't. I didn't not want to watch it - it just passed me by.
EB: I would like to point out that as it came out 10 years ago, I was 12 years old when I watched this episode.
MLC: I'm so scared of how young they are going to look.
It starts. The first thing we see is Tony Stonem (Nicholas Hoult) getting out of bed.
MLC: I used to think he was really hot at the time.
EB: Everybody fancied him!
MLC: And here he just looks like a teenage boy.
EB: I used to fancy Maxxie (Mitch Hewer).
MLC: Oh my god, same. SO HOT.
Tony then checks out a naked woman getting dressed over the road as his sister (Kaya Scodelario), who's outside, tries to grab his attention and sneak into the family home.
SB: When I was originally watching this I had no idea why Effy was out of the house. I thought she was like, just out seeing a mate that morning or something. I had no idea that she had just had an all-nighter.
MLC: That neighbour. She's a grown woman, isn't she?! He's 16.
EB: It's just so ridiculous!
BB: It is ridiculous.
Tony pulls a prank on his dad Jim (Harry Enfield), leading to Jim telling him:
SB: That's literally the most 2007 reference I've ever heard.
BB: You could totally bring that back now.
Tony then rings or leaves answerphone messages for every single main character, such as Jal (Larissa Wilson) and Maxxie (Mitch Hewer).
EB: It's such a 2007 thing that all of the introduction to all of the characters is via a Motorola Razr phone.
BB: I can't remember the last time I got an answerphone message from a friend.
SB: I remember watching this thinking that Bristol was the coolest place.
BB: It is quite cool.
SB: Is it not that cool?
MLC: I've never been.
BB: My grandma lives there.
Tony then goes to a café to meet up with Sid (Mike Bailey), who is smoking a cigarette. They talk about a plan for Sid to lose his virginity that night.
MLC: Oh my god, it was 2007. The year smoking inside was abolished!
MLC: It's totally fine to be a virgin at 16.
[There are lots of murmurs of agreement in the room.]
JJ: Oh my god, my favourite character in the history of TV is coming up.
EB: Oh my god, MAD TWATTER.
[Ellie hits the table in excitement.]
Sid is given instructions to meet the drug dealer Mad Twatter (Stephen Walters). Michelle (April Pearson) then turns up. Tony and Michelle make out and this happens.
MLC: I don't want to watch 16-year-olds touching each other's genitals.
BB: We did wear vests like that. RIP.
Sid checks out photos of Michelle on his phone on his way to the drug dealer's. Meanwhile, Tony auditions for a choir, getting a lot of praise from a teacher.
MLC: He's got a lot of photos of Michelle on his phone.
SB: Who does that? Also well done for having such good phone resolution.
BB: That's true. You could not take a photo that good on a phone in 2007.
EB: Why do all of the fucking teachers fancy their students?
MLC: They are ALL adult women. He's...young.
We hear the sound of Tony receiving a text (the alert tone a Nokia phone would make). BuzzFeed UK's Becky Barnicoat assumes the sound is our fire alarm.
BB: What was that noise?
JJ: It was a text.
BB: How is it much louder than the rest of the show?
SB: Did you think a fire alarm went off?
BB: I thought it was something in the room.
Sid turns up at Mad Twatter's house. Meanwhile, Tony meets up with his mates at the park, including Chris (Joe Dempsie), Anwar (Dev Patel), Jal, and Maxxie.
BB: Is this the drug dealer's house?
BB: They're quite advanced aren't they, for that age?
EB: They are. If someone had said to me at sixteen, "go and get some drugs", I would be like, what? Like, I don’t have any idea. I still don’t have any idea.
Chris appears on the screen.
BB: [whispering] Is that actor famous?
SB: Oh, he's Gendry [from Game of Thrones]! Titting hell! I just clocked!
JJ: Oh my god, Cassie coming up as well. Gilly!
Mad Twatter comes on screen for the first time. BuzzFeed UK's Becky sees a similarity with one of the other stars.
BB: This is what Nicholas Hoult looks like now!
Mad Twatter then proceeds to clench Sid's testicles.
MLC: There's a lot of crotch-touching in this show.
We then see a new character, Angie (Siwan Morris) crying while giving a lesson after recently breaking up with her boyfriend. Chris helps her.
EB: Oh, we have another teacher who fancies a student.
MLC: Oh pull yourself together. Take the day off.
EB: She looks so much like Katy Perry it is ridiculous.
JJ: Tony has not aged well either. He’s wearing a V-neck jumper with a contrasting T-shirt. Horrible.
BB: With the classic satchel.
EB: I knew so many teenage boys who had that bag.
JJ: Oh, I used it.
Sid and Tony turn up outside a party after Sid buys three ounces of weed. There they meet Cassie (Hannah Murray).
SB: Is this a weekday?
EB: It's kind of fucked up that, like, all girls my age wanted to be Cassie, who was clearly experiencing serious mental health issues.
They enter the party, where they meet Abby (Georgina Moffat) serving posh rum punch. Meanwhile, a terrible DJ starts the music.
MLC: No 16-year-old would organise a party and then make punch. That is not a teenage thing. Even I don't do it now and I'm 25.
The DJ introduces himself to the room.
SB: That guy was me when I was 16.
Chris, Maxxie, and Anwar turn up and accidentally trash the living room.
EB: The most ridiculous thing about this show was that everyone is like, oh my god this was like SO real. I mean, nobody fucking ever goes to parties like that or acted like that.
Then a random European woman proceeds to take her top off.
SB: Oooh errr. That's a bit stereotypical.
MLC: [who is French and sarcastically] As a European I can confirm that's what we do.
Sid and Cassie talk outside about love and feelings (Cassie then passes out).
BB: [whispers] Are they going to fall in love?
SB: Do they fall in love?
MLC: I actually can't remember.
EB: Yeah, because at the end of the second series, she runs off to New York and then the last shot of the series is Sid in New York, looking for her.
MLC: This show is not that explicit. I thought that there was a lot more sex and drugs.
EB: There's more to come.
BB: Weed was a bit of a disappointment.
SB: In Series 2 they jacked it up with the whole drugs thing.
EB: And then by the end of Series 4 people were murdering each other.
Then Anwar starts peeing against a tree.
EB: He's just got nominated for an Oscar!
And then, due to an accident, the car carrying the characters crashes into the river.
BB: There's a very high chance they would die from that.
JJ: Genuine chance there is.
MLC: If you're meant to be that drunk and stoned I'm not sure you can survive a car going into the water. They should all be dead.
And then everyone goes home from the party, drenched.
What did you make of the episode?
MLC: It wasn't as shocking as I remember. I genuinely thought it was all going to be about pills and fucking and it wasn't. It was weed and making out.
BB: I would watch more of it.
MLC: I think I may rewatch the first series actually.
Is there anything that was badly handled?
EB: Cassie's entire storyline is terrible. I think it’s fine to portray a young girl with an eating disorder, but it's romanticising eating disorders. I went to an all girls’ school, and Cassie was the one that everybody aspired to be, which is terrible. And too many teachers fancying their students.
MLC: I mean it’s technically legal, the age of consent, but it is dodgy.
BB: Also having one foreign person who is a big weird freak.
SB: It was a little bit like, here is a foreigner. Let's laugh at her.
BB: It was also a show about strong male leads, and some girls that follow them around.
MLC: Cassie is seen through the lens of Sid starting to fancy her and then fancying her.
Do you think Skins has aged in 10 years?
SB: I thought it was surprising that it hasn't aged as much as I thought it would.
EB: The clothes.
JJ: And the mobile phones.
EB: That's pretty much it. It never was realistic to begin with, so I feel that aspect of it can't really age. I mean it was probably realistic for a very small percentage of people, but probably not for 16. And not for me.
MLC: Genuinely, if that show came out today, I don’t think people would be as shocked. I remember that when it came out, everyone was like [shocked face] , especially parents. If it was today it would be like "meh", especially based on that episode.
BB: I don’t know. I still think people would be prudish about teenagers having sex.
SB: The weird thing I got was that I used to be really jealous of these people and all of the shows and parties and the weed and all of that stuff, and maybe it is a maturity thing about me getting older, but I was like "Why did I get so obsessed about it?" I just don't know.
JJ: I'm still jealous of them.
JJ: I would love to go to a party and crash a car into a river.