London Ink

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
London Ink TV Poster Image
British tattoo show edgier than U.S. counterparts.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series looks at how tattooing is both creative and entrepreneurial. The cast occasionally participates in childish pranks (like using fart sound effects and putting out fake dog poop). Some of the episodes deal with the artists' personal struggles and successes. Nicole is the only female artist on staff. The cast is Caucasian, but the clients are from various ethnic/racial backgrounds.


Dan has anger-management problems and is shown getting angry and kicking boxes. But he seeks counseling to handle it.


Strong sexual innuendo. Clients (and potential apprentices) are seen pulling up their skirts and pulling down their pants (their underwear stays on) to show off tattoos. One client wears a very skimpy thong as she's being inked on her buttocks.


Language includes "damn" and "hell." Words like "bulls--t" and "f--k" are mostly bleeped out, but sometimes curse words are faintly audible under a tattoo artist's breath.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Visible cigarette smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, like its U.S. counterparts, this British entry in the Ink TV franchise is pro-body art, minimizing the potential downside (no real blood is shown during the inking process, and tattoo-related risks aren't discussed). Some episodes deal with mature subject matter, including one tattoo artist's anger-management issues. Strong swear words ("f--k", "bulls--t") are bleeped out and the speaker's mouth blurred, but the cast members are sometimes heard cursing under their breath. There's also some fairly strong sexual innuendo, and both men and women receive and show off tattoos that are on their buttocks and inner thighs -- which results in them being pretty scantily clad at times. Overall, the tone is edgier here than in the show's American "cousins."

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What's the story?

Inspired by body art-centric American reality show Miami Ink, British series LONDON INK looks at the inner workings of a trendy London tattoo studio and the artists who work there. Narrated by British actor Max Beesley, London Ink centers on renowned tattoo artist Louis Malloy -- the man responsible for inking the now-famous guardian angel image on soccer superstar David Beckham's back. After relocating from Manchester to London, Malloy invited classic punk artist Phil Kyle, Japanese art master Nikole Lowo, and graffiti artist Dan Gold to join him in building the ultimate tattoo studio.

Is it any good?

Viewers watch as the staff designs and inks tattoos for clients ranging from Olympic athletes to fashion models. They also get to see the tattoo artist "family" teach and initiate apprentices who are trying to learn the business. Throughout it all, Malloy politely gives his opinions about the group's sometimes-questionable customer-service skills, their inking abilities, and their need to stay focused.

London Ink includes strong language (including cursing that isn't always bleeped out) and some notable sexual innuendo. Some clients also pull down their pants and lift their skirts to show off their latest tattoos (their underwear stays on). Some of the subject matter is kind of serious, too, including Gold's ongoing anger-management struggles and his desire to become a better father. This combination makes the show entertaining but a little on the edgy side for younger viewers.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the practice of tattooing. Are all tattooists really artists? What are parents' and kids' opinions on tattoos? If they differ, why? Why is getting a piece of body art a big decision? What are some of the health issues associated with getting them? What happens if you change your mind later?

TV details

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