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Skins (U.K.)

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Skins (U.K.) TV Poster Image
Unflinching British teen soap isn't for kids.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 40 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Although there's plenty of iffy behavior on display in every episode of this unflinchingly realistic series (much of it without serious consequence), it's clear that the characters care about each other and are close and loyal friends.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The teens on this show regularly engage in behavior that would horrify most parents -- from drinking and having sex to throwing raucous parties. That said, the characters are a realistic, diverse bunch.


Arguments sometimes break out among the teens, which result in the occasional punch, kick, or food fight.


Having sex and losing virginity are frequent topics of discussion. Various simulated sex acts are visible, though nudity is limited. Partial male and female nudity (buttocks and breasts are visible; painted images of female genitals are sometimes shown). Words like "p---y" and "dick" are used frequently. Tony calls Michelle "Nips" after seeing her breasts.


Lots of strong language, ranging from "t-ts" and "bitch" to "s--t" (unbleeped). The word "f--k" is muted out for U.S. broadcast.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent cigarette smoking (which is common on British television), drinking (the legal age is lower in Britain), and drug use -- including prescription pills and marijuana (referred to as "spliff" and "skunk").

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this British series focuses on the lives of a group of upper middle-class teens, the show's content is controversial and decidedly adult. Both teens and adults engage in various simulated sexual acts, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and deal and use prescription drugs and marijuana; most don't suffer too many consequences for their iffy behavior. Expect plenty of talk about sex and virginity, partial male and female nudity (some is blurred out), and lots of profanity (words like "t-ts" and "s--t" are audible, while "f--k" is muted). The series also touches on some serious subjects, like anorexia and peer pressure.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAmericanplaya217 May 5, 2012


There are some positive messages in the show and the show does contain some sex. The characters experince arguments and start fighting. There is frequent drug u... Continue reading
Adult Written byJmR x September 24, 2011


Im 16 and i used to watch skins when i was like 14? and now im like in the same situations as the skins characters,its pretty realistic but not for the parents... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byFancyReality June 13, 2011

Perhaps an Exact View into the Life of a Teen

I'm 14 and I first watched this show after all the hype over the US version. Needless to say, the original show is much better than the US version. As stat... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bylumosliz January 26, 2011

A great show for older teens.

For anyone under 15, this show really isn't something to watch, but for those of us who are old enough to understand the messages as well as relate, on som... Continue reading

What's the story?

SKINS is a controversial British dramedy about eight teen friends growing up in Bristol, England. Mike Bailey stars as Sid, a nerdy-but-fun guy who looks up to his rather arrogant friend Tony (Nicholas Hoult). He's dating the more experienced Michelle (April Pearson), who introduces them both to her troubled friend Cassie (Hannah Murray). The rest of the ensemble is rounded out by their friend Chris (Joe Dempsie), over-achiever Jal (Larissa Wilson), tap-dancing Maxxie (Mitch Hewer), and the semi-religious Anwar (Dev Patel); occasionally Abigail (Georgina Moffat) and Sid's rebellious younger sister Effy (Kaya Scodelario) join the fray as well. Together the teens are forging through their final years of adolescence, having all kinds of (mis)adventures along the way.

Is it any good?

Skins is an unflinching look at the complicated world of an upper-middle class British teenager's life. Each episode focuses on a single character and explores some of the issues that teens face as they approach adulthood -- like coping with intense peer pressure and dealing with feelings of inadequacy, abandonment, and betrayal. But in order to appreciate these themes, viewers must be able to look beyond the risky behavior that some of the young characters engage in. From sex to drug use, these activities are presented as both expected and accepted parts of their daily lives -- and most of them have few consequences. As a result, it's sometimes hard to tell whether the teens' actions complement the deeper and more meaningful storylines or are included gratuitously to entice would-be audiences. It also leaves you wondering whether you should be rooting for them or wishing that they'd get caught and ultimately learn some important lessons about growing up


Obviously, the show's mature content rules it out for kids and makes it pretty iffy even for teens. But for mature viewers, the series does offer well-written, often funny entertainment. Though not always likable, the characters are well developed and emotionally genuine. The storylines also cleverly blend the lives of various adult characters into the ongoing teen narratives, which often makes what some of these teens are going through more poignant, funny, and/or disturbing. And throughout it all, the teens characters remain close and loyal. If you're comfortable with (or can look beyond) the stronger content, this British import's focus on friendship certainly has something to say.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether it's OK to show teen sex, drinking, and drug use on television. Do shows like this present a realistic view of teen life, or is anything exaggerated for entertainment? What would the real-life consequences of the characters' behavior be?

  • Aside from the accent, what sets British series apart from their American counterparts? Why is some content (swearing, nudity, smoking) more accepted in other countries?

TV details

For kids who love quirky characters

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