1883 Magazine
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As one of the most talked about series to hit TV screens in recent years, the freshest batch of Skins actors sure had a lot to live up to. But having won over the loyal fanbase with their debut season last year and now about to embark on their latest line of crazy adventures; 1883’s Ceri Davis is assured the best is yet to come.

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It’s a cool November day in East London and operation Skins shoot is about to commence. Arriving in dribs and drabs, some come in pairs, others one by one. They greet each other with such casual force it’s like siblings hanging out, and quite comfortably at that. Once the team of six (Dakota Blue Richards, Jessica Sula, Freya Mavor, Will Merrick, Sam Jackson and Sean Teale) are all in, they instantly they tuck into the brownies, flapjacks and croissants provided; there’s a bit of banter, but then we get going.

Straight off the mark, they quite clearly stress that there is no competition within the group regarding the likes of storylines. In fact, the characters are altogether supportive and do their utter-most to help one another out in sincere situations. According to Sean (Nick), the problems that they’re given are truly intense. They’re mature issues that no teenager should have to go through, so as a strong group of mates they’ve, "got each others’ backs." Already that paints a more mature picture than any other series to date. The more we talked the more we ate, the more we ate the more we talked. It was a win/win situation.

To understand properly how they all got here, I took the time to sit with them individually and explore how they all came about. All but one attended the open auditions, which indeed were ’open’ to the public. (The audition process was basically a long queue of hopefuls with up to a 5-6 hour wait for their two-minute-moment.) The one member that missed the open auditions and begged her way into a sneak audition was Dakota (Franky). Her audition process went smoothly, exclaiming that she only had to attend three auditions, which were, "fairly straight forward, did a little bit of group work, nothing too drastic." Us, jealous? Never! The others however had to power through a tiring process which included nine separate auditions, epic group work followed by the highly anticipated announcement of the final cast.

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For Sam (Alex), the newest addition to the line-up, he initially didn’t make the cut. Or so it seemed. Back at the auditions last year, he got down to the last two but was then told he hadn’t gotten the part. It was only later there was he to receive the all-confusing phone call that confirmed he had actually bagged the part. Emotions everywhere, auditions complete and at last the whole cast were...cast! Insert character names: Franky, Grace, Minnie, Alo, Nick and Alex.

Before Skins, for some of them, this was the first time they’d even given acting a go, let alone acting on screen to thousands of crazy fans who take the show very seriously. It’s been said (and known) that teenagers often take part in hard-core parties inspired by certain episodes which shows them partaking in, well, hard-core parties that go long into the a.m. and contain sex, drug and alcohol abuse and anything revolving around naked bodies having frolicking fun that most grandparents would frown upon, (unless your Grandpa is anything like the one from Little Miss Sunshine, then you’ll be sorted but in reality, they don’t really exist).

A mutual discussion arises as they chat about various stories that have escalated and reached the news, papers and even Facebook. (Groups have been made under titles such as, “Skins Party”- members of the public attempting to re-create ’awesome’ events which should live up to the famous five letter word.) "Skins is as if it’s like something gone wrong, which is fine because it’s not real. But real parties gone wrong, that’s just bad," says Freya (Minnie) with a serious head on. "The programme really shouldn’t influence the real world but it does."

Obviously, it’s not just Skins that’s to blame for activities-gone-wild. There are plenty of worldwide teen dramas that include all sorts of goings on, one example being The O.C. The programme is a more glamorous looking version of our chosen topic, with slightly older actors playing the teenagers, but to be fair the stories are sometimes spot on. Will (Alo), a fan of the programme himself, mentioned how it was cool to watch the popular show because it gave a good understanding of what teenagers really think about: Members of the opposite sex, drink and drugs. Generally getting up to mischief at all times.

When I ask them why viewers should tune into the new series, exact storylines are very hush, hush- that is with the exception of the explosive opening episode that sees the gang indulge in a hedonistic holiday over in Morocco. "The parties are messier, the sex is crazier and the violence is full on," the group yell from all angles of the room. As audience members, what more could we ask for?

 Obviously there’s pressure on the six to exceed dedicated fans expectations and get them tuning into each new episode. However, having firmly established themselves with the last series, but they’re mainly past that. These days, they just want to do a good job and hope the show does well as a whole. They all have their end goals that for some are to be happy in life while others hope for a successful future career. But for one, that one being Will, he would like to earn enough to ensure he is able to purchase a kebab at the end of a night out. Nice. They’re all in it for various reasons, it’s cool, it’s hip and everyone I know who’s watched it would definitely love to be in it. Even if it’s just to be in the background, dancing away with the fairies-that’d make their life, I’m sure. But in all seriousness, when asked to sum up the new series, Will is confident to say; "It’s last year on crack!" Confidence gone a bit too far perhaps, he corrects himself and says, "Ok, it’s last year…. But on a really strong espresso."

The new series of Skins starts January 23rd on E4/Channel 4

Words By Ceri Davies

Photography By Daniel Nadel

Fashion By Lindsay Robertson & Charlotte Dennis

Hair By Craig Marsden @ Carol Hayes Management

Make-Up By Megumi Matsuno & Harriet Hadfield both @ Carol Hayes Management

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