Skins stars didn't feel protected in sex scenes

·3-min read
Photo credit: E4
Photo credit: E4

Skins was known for its many sex scenes and, while it may have broken ground on what we saw on TV, multiple cast members have said that they felt uncomfortable looking back at their time on the E4 show.

April Pearson, who played Michelle in the first generation, has been hosting an Instagram Live show-turned-podcast called Are You Michelle from Skins?. In the latest episode she interviewed Laya Lewis, who played Liv in the third generation.

The actors talked about how, because the show didn't have intimacy coaches like shows and projects do now, there were uncomfortable moments involving the sex scenes and being told to 'skip meals'.

Photo credit: All4
Photo credit: All4

Related: The origin of Skins, in the words of those who made it

"There's a difference between being officially old enough and mentally old enough," April said (from 24 minutes in the podcast). "I was having this conversation with my husband and I was saying I do feel like I was too young, I feel like I wasn't protected."

"I turned 18 right at the beginning of filming, so I just had so many more sex scenes than everyone else," Laya explained. "My first day was a sex scene.

"I do think fair enough, we are actors and we are acting, but I think if you want to pluck children out of the street, which is essentially what they were doing to have this authentic on-screen thing going on, there needs to be a bit of help or talk through things, I don't know. It was just a bit much to be like, bang, day one, here you are."

Photo credit: Ian West/PA Wire - Channel 4
Photo credit: Ian West/PA Wire - Channel 4

Related: Whatever happened to the Skins movie?

Referring to a specific incident at the beginning of filming for the sixth series in Morocco (from 47 minutes in the podcast), she alleged that: "I definitely felt a lot of pressure to be smaller or slimmer... From the actual creators or people behind the scenes. There was one point where we were told to skip breakfast, and for dinner we should just have a jacket potato.

"Series six we all had to have a meeting, and we were told to basically skip meals.

"There was also this moment where we each had to, when we were filming – because we had to go to Morocco in the first episode of season six – and we each had to, in a bikini or our swimwear, one-by-one stand in a room with just us and [a man] a lot older than we were then... And be told whether we looked good or not, good enough to film in Morocco."

"At the time you're young and you don't know any better," April added. "You don't really know what to say, to speak out, is this okay… And as with a lot of victims of trauma, you look back at it and think: 'Yeah, that was f***ed up.'

Photo credit: E4
Photo credit: E4

A Channel 4 spokesperson told Digital Spy: "It is very concerning to hear of the comments made. We now have a confidential ‘Speak Up’ facility available and widely publicised on our production call sheets for current productions, however, we take all allegations of inappropriate behaviour very seriously and encourage anyone with concerns to come forward."

A representative for Skins co-creator Bryan Elsley issued a statement to The Sun that reads: "We’re deeply and unambiguously sorry that any cast member was made to feel uncomfortable or inadequately respected in their work during their time on Skins.

"We’re committed to continually evolving safe, trustworthy and enjoyable working conditions for everyone who works in the TV industry."

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