10 Actors Who Got Their Break on British Teen Series 'Skins': From Dev Patel to Joe Cole
When it aired from 2007 to 2013, British teen series Skins earned plenty of attention for its hard-hitting and condescension-free storylines exploring mental health, substance abuse, gender and sexuality, bullying, and even death. It also helped to launch the careers of an impressive array of young British actors who have gone on to earn Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations. Here's a reminder of 10 familiar faces who used this seminal show as a launchpad.
Early in his career, Cole made an impressive guest appearance in two episodes of Skins, portraying the wealthy and manipulative drug dealer Luke. He later earned a BAFTA nomination for his fantastic performance in standout Black Mirror episode "Hang the DJ," won a British Independent Film Award for his transformative role in the prison movie A Prayer Before Dawn, and appeared in the first four seasons of Peaky Blinders as John Shelby. He's now starring in AMC's Gangs of London as Sean Wallace, the plucky heir to his late father's criminal empire. You can catch the first episode this Sunday at 10pm EST – find out more here.
Five years after he starred opposite Hugh Grant in About a Boy, Hoult joined the cast of Skins. He was the show's original antihero, Tony Stonem, a popular and somewhat manipulative student who becomes more vulnerable after sustaining a serious brain injury. Since leaving Skins in 2007, he's built an impressive career with movie roles in Mad Max: Fury Road, the X-Men franchise, and The Favourite. This year, he earned a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in historical comedy-drama series The Great.
As Tony's little sister Effy, Scodelario is a peripheral presence in Skins' first two seasons, then firmly takes the lead in seasons three and four. If anything, she turns out to be even more confident and charismatic than her cocky older brother. Since her Skins stint ended in 2010, Scodelario has taken on high-profile roles in the Maze Runner movies, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and last year's ice-skating drama series Spinning Out.
Patel had no professional acting experience before Skins, but totally excelled as Anwar Kharral, a hard-partying student who supplies some of the first two seasons' funniest moments. Soon after Skins, he landed the lead in Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, and never looked back. He won a BAFTA Film Award for his poignant performance in 2017's Lion and recently earned a Golden Globe nomination for his lead role in Armando Iannucci's The Personal History of David Copperfield.
After appearing in Brit horror flick Eden Lake and acclaimed miniseries This Is England, O'Connell cemented his "one to watch" status with some ferocious work in seasons three and four of Skins. His character Cook is confident, impulsive, and sometimes violent, but also capable of being kindhearted and surprisingly sensitive. O'Connell has continued to impress since leaving the show, starring in Angelina Jolie's war movie Unbroken, hit Netflix miniseries Godless, and Jodie Foster's crime thriller Money Monster.
Murray made her professional acting debut in Skins' first two seasons, giving a moving performance as Cassie Ainsworth, a creative but brittle teenager who is battling an eating disorder. Post-Skins, she appeared as Gilly in all but one season of Game of Thrones, and also starred opposite Matt Smith in the 2018 serial killer biopic Charlie Says.
In addition to appearing in three episodes as "Posh Kenneth," a talented rapper and close friend of Patel's Anwar, Kaluuya wrote two episodes of Skins. He's called it "a blessing" to be part of the show, and his career has definitely gone from strength to strength ever since. After earning his first Oscar nomination for zeitgeist-grabbing 2018 horror movie Get Out, he is nominated again this year for his portrayal of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. Kaluuya was also seriously impressive in Steve McQueen’s heist thriller Widows and the brilliant road movie Queen & Slim.
Edwards appears in six episodes of Skins as Sketch, a troubled young woman who develops an obsessive crush on her gay classmate Maxxie (Mitch Hewer). She’s also known for her role as Esme Shelby in Peaky Blinders, starring in two seasons of hit BBC sitcom Detectorists, and for playing Jenny Jones in season two of BBC America’s Luther.
Pasqualino stars in seasons three and four of Skins as Freddie, the generally sensible, cannabis-loving bestie of O’Connell’s Cook; their friendship provides both hilarious and touching moments. His subsequent roles include d’Artaganan in BBC America’s The Musketeers, the original Snowpiercer movie with Chris Evans, and two seasons of the Guy Ritchie spin-off series Crackle.
Another O.G. Skins cast member, Dempsie gave an impressively layered performance as Chris Miles, a character whose hedonistic exterior definitely hides some hidden depths. Dempsie went on to appear in the popular Doctor Who episode "The Doctor's Daughter" before landing the role of Gendry in Game of Thrones. His other TV roles include This Is England '90, Southcliffe, and last year's Adult Materials.
Do you have a favorite actor from the Skins cast?