Actor of the popular E4 show Skins have spoken out about how they felt vulnerable during s** scenes and how they were ordered to “skip meals” before shooting when they wore beachwear.
The highly praised program was a great success for the channel and aired from 2007 until 2013.
Daniel Kaluuya, Dev Patel, and Nicholas Hoult were among the cast members of the hit television series Skins, which sparked uproar in the media and a was phenomenon among its young audience. The trio went on to become household names.
Even a short-lived US version arose from it.
It turns out, however, that some of its female performers weren’t having a good time behind the scenes.
April Pearson, who played Michelle Richardson in the first series, and Laya Lewis, who played Liv Malone, have both spoken out about the treatment they received on set.
In the most recent episode of April’s podcast, Are You Michelle From Skins?, the duo discussed their memories of the show and spoke up about the way they were treated on set, including intimate scenes and being instructed to “skip meals” before shooting.
“At the time you’re young and you don’t know any better,” April remarked of the show’s s** scenes.
‘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.”
She went on: ‘There’s a difference between being officially old enough and mentally old enough. 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.’
Lewis said she had similar experiences on set. “I turned 18 right at the beginning of filming, so I just had so many more s** scenes than everyone else. My first day was a s** scene,” she said.
“I do think like, it’s fair enough, we’re actors, we’re acting. But I do think if you want to pluck children out of the street, which is essentially what they were doing in order to have this authentic on-screen thing going on, I think there needs to be just a bit more… [support].”
‘You could say, “Okay, we’ve seen the show, we knew what we were getting ourselves into”, but just 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.’
‘I was having this conversation with Jamie, my husband, and I was saying I do feel like I was too young, I feel like I wasn’t protected,’ April continued, explaining her partner made her see that the show reflected what teenagers get up to.
‘I’ve been on my high horse for a long time about being too young and perhaps it just meant that, for me, I was too young. You’re not the first person to have said that you carried some negativity from that experience. And we’re talking six, seven series of the same show, and everyone feeling the same.
‘So I think certainly the preparation for what we were going to do, the fact that nowadays you have an intimacy coordinator, that is a standard as part of shooting nude scenes, intimate scenes. That just simply wasn’t a thing.’
Laya interjected: ‘Something like that would have made so much difference. I don’t even know what their job entails, but I know it would have made a huge difference on set for us.’
Laya also reflected on how she felt ‘pressure’ to be slim while appearing as Liv, telling April that the female cast had to line up in bikinis ahead of season six shooting.
She said: ‘I definitely felt a lot of pressure to be smaller or slimmer. From the actual creators or people behind the scenes.
“Before series six, we all had a meeting and we were told to basically skip meals; I was the main one speaking up and I remember saying: ‘We all look the same, pretty much, as we did last year’.
“And I remember so-and-so, I’m not going to name names, looking at me and going: ‘Do you Laya? Do you all look the same as you did last year?’”
Lewis also claimed that actors, dressed in a bikini or swimwear, were asked “one-by-one” to “stand in a room with just us and the creator of the show, who was male and a lot older than we were and be told whether we looked good or not, good enough to film in Morocco”.
“He was male and a lot older than we were, we were between the ages of 16 and 18, and be told if we looked good enough to film in Morocco.
Comparing her time on the show to ‘trauma’, April added: ‘A conversation I’m having a lot with alumni is, at the time you’re young, you don’t know any better, you don’t really know what to say and speak out.
Skins was created by father and son Bryan Elsley, 60, and Jamie Brittain, 35.
A representative of Elsey issued a statement to The Sun in response to the comments, reading: “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.”
A Channel 4 spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘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.’