E4’s boundary-pushing series Skins first burst onto our screens 10 years ago today in 2007. In its time on TV the teen drama dealt with sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, as well as suicide, eating disorders, teenage pregnancy, bullying, homelessness… The list literally goes on and on. But it’s kick-started the careers of plenty of British actors and actresses too.
So, with a whole decade passing since we first met the original generation of Bristolian sixth-formers, here’s what some of them are up to now…
Before Skins, Nicholas Hoult was pretty much purely known for his 2002 portrayal of Marcus Brewer in About A Boy. Well, that and some eye-catching eyebrows.
But Hoult is probably Skins’ biggest success story (though Jack O’Connell, Dev Patel and Kaya Scodelario are hot on his tail). Since leaving arrogant Tony Stonem behind in 2008, the 27-year-old Berkshire-born lad has abandoned the small screen for Hollywood roles in X-Men: First Class, Days of Future Past and Apocalypse, Jack the Giant Slayer, Warm Bodies and Oscar-winning action flick Mad Max: Fury Road among others.
Did we mention that he’s also dated Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence? Now if that isn’t success, we don’t know what is.
Another Skins graduate to have made it on the silver screen. When Patel said goodbye to half-hearted Muslim Anwar at the end of Skins series two, the 26-year-old quickly made a name for himself in Oscar-winning flick Slumdog Millionaire. (He also bagged co-star Freida Pinto as his GF for a while… These Skins lads are certainly a success with the ladies.)
Patel went on to star in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel alongside Judy Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy, and as journalist Neal Sampat in HBO’s hit series The Newsroom. Later he starred in Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi thriller Chappie, and this week has made headlines for gaining a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Oscars for his role in critically-acclaimed film Lion – the first Skins Oscar nom!
29-year-old Joe Dempsie played promiscuous, drug-addicted extrovert Chris Miles in the first generation of Skins, leaving in 2008 after his character died.
He’s since appeared in fan favourites Doctor Who and Merlin as well as New Worlds, The Fades, Murder: Joint Enterprise and Accused, but is best known nowadays for his role in hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones. Dempsie played Gendry, the illegitimate son of King Robert I and one of the many potential heirs to the coveted Iron Throne until he left in series three – but rumour has it he’ll be back for the next run of episodes.
More recently, he’s also appeared in BBC thriller One of Us and Channel 4’s This is England ’90.
Another Skins star who appears in HBO’s George R. R. Martin adaptation Game of Thrones – it’s an epidemic!
Hannah Murray played ethereal and lovable Cassie (a character she reprised in the Skins series seven miniseries) for the first two series of Skins, as the teen dealt with depression and an eating disorder. Her character in Game of Thrones is a troubled one too – she plays Gilly, the daughter and wife of wildling Craster and the love interest for Sam Tarly (John Bradley).
Murray is also set to make a splash on the big screen, with main roles in films The Chosen and an Untitled Detroit Project coming up.
Kaya first appeared in Skins as Tony Stonem’s wayward sister Effy, before taking on a leading role in series three and four. And leaving the teen drama certainly didn’t spell the end for Kaya. She’s since starred as Cathy in Wuthering Heights, acted alongside Dakota Fanning and Jeremy Irvine in Now Is Good, appeared in Southcliffe and taken a leading role in Emanuel and the Truth about Fishes alongside Jessica Biel.
More recently she’s filmed for The Maze Runner franchise (with the third film in the trilogy due out soon), the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean sequel and action-adventure fantasy movie The King’s Daughter. Phew!
So far, Skins is looking like a starmaking factory – but not everyone from the e4 series has kept pursuing acting on the large and small screen. Mike Bailey, who played lead character Sid in the first two series, appeared in a few roles after leaving Skins (most prominently Channel 4 drama 1066), but now tells us he’s more or less given up the career to instead become a drama teacher in London.
Co-star April Pearson (who played Michelle) has also taken the drama teaching career path, so clearly all those classroom scenes rubbed off on them.
Turn the page to see what the later generations of Skins are up to now…
Ellie is an entertainment, TV and film journalist writing news and (hopefully incredibly witty) comment for RadioTimes.com. She loves light-hearted dramas and glossy US series - and is more than a little bit obsessed with Downton Abbey. Foodie, sun-seeker and aspiring novelist in her own time. Likes the fact that her name rhymes with telly.