‘Skins’: Series 4 Episode 1 review

Kids lie all the time, don’t they? And one of the best lies put around in recent years is that Skins is a teen drama. It isn’t, of course: it’s far better than that.

And quite a bit more grown-up than many an adult drama out there at the moment.

‘Everything’s going to change’, chirps a guest starring Chris Addisson, reminding us that this isn’t the cast we came in with and that a second cull will take place at the end of this series.

From the opening sequence, the fourth year of pretty kids in not so pretty situations hits the ground – hard – and doesn’t let up. Despite some pretty significant events happening on the sidelines, this week’s episode concentrates on Thomas, with Merveille Lukeba providing a performance that’s gentle and strong in equal measure: so much so that if you discovered that the rest of the series were to be about him, that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

That said, there’s no bad thing here: a quick, dry wit, some lovely camera work and the obligatory too-cool-for-college soundtrack. A programme that respects its characters (a depressingly rare trait in drama today), Skins also has a healthy amount of respect for its audience, peppering its scripts with subtlety and grace (yes, subtlety in a programme littered with sex and violence, and in which it seems impossible for a character to walk down a corridor without a young couple making out somewhere in the background).

Let the show continue to be sold as a teen drama: people will get to claim it as their own little secret. On the basis of this series opener, if you meet anyone who disapproves of Skins, they’re just jealous that they’re not having as frequent and as energetic sex as the cast. Roll up…

Airs at 10pm on Thursday 28th January 2010 on E4.