Skins (U.K.)



Unflinching British teen soap isn't for kids.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

What parents need to know

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

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.

Not applicable
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").

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Cast:Hannah Murray, Mike Bailey, Nicholas Hoult
Network:BBC America
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:DVD

This review of Skins (U.K.) was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

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 some level, to the characters and situations, it's great. I love this show and I believe it's something that teens should watch, as long as they don't take it to heart that they have to party and do illegal things to be cool or anything because that's definitely not the message. Sure there's a lot of swearing (come on, they're British) and sex and drugs but that's what makes the show so great: it's really realistic and original and not all fake (cough, Disney channel, cough). It deals with some real life situations that, though they may not be common, have pretty universal themes... and it offers solutions to these problems that should be taken with a grain of salt. Often, the characters make bad and frankly stupid choices, but it makes viewers realise what should've been done or at least think of alternative actions. Oh, and I think that for all its entertainment (I mean, it's better to watch other teens screw up their lives than to live those problems), the show might actually be beneficial. At least, for me it helped me understand myself better... Effy's depression and breakdown in the fourth series made me realise that I was severely depressed (and in denial) and was literally the reason I sought out help on my own. So for parents who won't let their teens (especially those at least 15) watch Skins, I highly suggest reconsidering your policy if you want to be open-minded towards your sons/daughters... and for my peers, if you saw the American version and then learnt about this one, I definitely say watch it because it's way better, and if you're just iffy about the show, I also say to watch it (unless you have moral issues with what you've seen/read) because you might learn a bit more about life.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
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 stated in its article UK skins has a lot of partying and sex BUT there is a really believable story behind all of it. The story of friendship is great because they help each other out no matter what. I like how it shows the true face of anorexia. My friend struggled w/ it and still does and she was bullied for it. I'm not sure but after watching Skins, I feel a "normal" person could empathize w/ an anorexic person. I think that side of Skins is very educational. I'm not sure what it's like on BBC America but if you watch the uncensored version on YouTube you see everything. Although the only time I saw fully nude bodies was the bedsheet on Tony's blanket and a scene where a female teacher was getting out of the faculty showers. By US standards; it's too raunchy to be fully shown on TV but many of my friends have watched it uncensored without feeling uncomfortable. I think it depends on your comfort level though. Perhaps it could help other kids my age feel that nudity is OK instead of "weird." Also, the language isn't anything worse than what I hear in school. Unlike Jersey Shore or reality TV shows kids my age watch; I believe what attracts others like me to watch skins is its authenticity. It's very real.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byajw1234 March 19, 2011

Mature teens only..

For Mature views, who are less likely to be influenced by the content.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Special Needs Guide