8 massive careers launched by Skins | Virgin Media
What's next for your favourite superhero shows?

8 massive careers launched by Skins



Ensemble TV shows can often be something of a breeding ground for future stars. This was especially true of E4's Skins, which took the original step of changing its entire young cast every two seasons, ensuring a healthy turnover of fresh, up-and-coming talent.

As the complete box set of Skins series 1-7 comes to On Demand (find it in On Demand > TV > By Channel> All 4), we've rounded up eight stars whose careers were all launched by E4's flagship drama.

Jack O'Connell (James Cook)

Then: Jack O'Connell appeared in series 3 and 4 of Skins playing swaggering, sexually promiscuous James Cook, whose violent behaviour and devil-may-care attitude were effectively a cover for his real emotions. Series highlights included: starting a fire at college in a rule-breaking challenge set by Effy (Kaya Scodelario) and solving his best friend's murder in the series 4 finale, leading to a cliff-hanging confrontation with the killer, the outcome of which was only revealed in the series 7 two-parter.

Now: Since leaving the show, O'Connell's star has gone pretty much meteoric, moving from colourful co-star roles in the likes of Tower Block to critically acclaimed leads in the likes of soldier-on-the-run thriller '71 and prison drama Starred Up. He was also snapped up by director Angelina Jolie for the lead role in Unbroken and recently appeared opposite George Clooney and Julia Roberts in Money Monster.

Nicholas Hoult (Tony Stonem)

Then: Hoult had had some early success as the lead of About a Boy opposite Hugh Grant, but his teen career was well and truly launched by the first season of Skins, in which he played handsome, academically gifted Tony Stonem. In the first series, Tony was extremely manipulative, playing a series of cruel tricks on his friends, while also showing polysexual tendencies in his attempt to seduce gay friend Maxxie (Mitch Hewer). However, a cliff-hanging accident in the series 1 finale left Tony dealing with the effects of a subdural hematoma throughout series 2.

Now: Hoult's post-Skins career highlights have included the lead role in romantic zombie comedy (or rom-zom-com) Warm Bodies, the recurring role of Beast in the three most recent X-Men movies and a terrific, film-stealing turn as bald-headed War Boy Nux in George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road.

Dev Patel (Anwar Kharral)

Then: Patel appeared in the first two seasons of Skins playing half-hearted Muslim Anwar Kharral, who prays five times a day, but also indulges in the usual teen shenanigans all his friends get up to, including drinking, drug-taking and pre-marital sex. Most of Anwar's episodes focused on his relationship with gay best friend Maxxie, culminating in Maxxie coming out to Anwar's parents at his 17th birthday party in series 1.

Now: Patel's post-Skins career got off to a stratospheric start with the lead role in Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning smash hit Slumdog Millionaire. Since then he's appeared in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (and its sequel) and Neil Blomkamp's robo-thriller C.H.A.P.P.I.E. as well as landing a regular slot on Aaron Sorkin's HBO series The Newsroom. His most recent performance was as Indian mathematician Ramanujan opposite Jeremy Irons in The Man Who Knew Infinity.

Kaya Scodelario (Effy Stonem)

Then: As the little sister of Nicholas Hoult's Tony, Kaya Scodelario's Effy Stonem was the only character to appear in four seasons of Skins, though she's a mostly enigmatic presence in the first seven episodes and has no dialogue. In series 3, Effy is effectively the female lead and becomes the centre of a love triangle with Cook (Jack O'Connell) and Freddie (Luke Pasqualino) before suffering a mental breakdown and attempting suicide.

Now: Since leaving Skins, Scodelario has carved out a wide-ranging career that takes in low-budget Brit flicks (Twenty8K), American indie movies (Emmanuel and the Truth About Fishes), acclaimed arthouse productions (Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights) and big budget blockbusters (the Maze Runner franchise). If anything, her profile is set to increase still further with her upcoming lead role in the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Freya Mavor (Mini McGuinness)

Then: Scottish actress Freya Mavor played Mini McGuinness in the fifth and sixth series of Skins. Initially presented as a manipulative Mean Girls type, Mini finds her position threatened by the arrival of new girl Franky (Dakota Blue Richards) and is antagonistic towards her, though the pair eventually form a supportive friendship. In her second series, Mini's storyline revolves around a surprise pregnancy and her secret relationship with Alo “Farmboy” Creevey (Will Merrick).

Now: So far, Mavor has carved something of a niche for herself in TV period dramas, appearing in both BBC One's The White Queen and Channel 4's historical mini-series New Worlds. However, her big screen star is rising too, with roles in Not Another Happy Ending (opposite Doctor Who's Karen Gillan) and a part in Scottish musical Sunshine On Leith. Fun Freya Mavor fact: her grandfather's middle name is Bingo.

Hannah Murray (Cassie Ainsworth)

Then: Playing spacey, eccentric Cassie Ainsworth, Hannah Murray was part of the original “first generation” of Skins. Throughout the first series she develops an attraction to Sid (Mike Bailey) and deals with a range of mental issues, including anorexia nervosa and suicidal depression. In the second series, her relationship with Sid hits a rocky patch, which sends her spiralling into promiscuous behaviour and she's also traumatised by the tragic death of her best friend Chris (Joe Dempsie).

ins, Murray has maintained a solid TV presence with her role as young mother Gilly on Game of Thrones. On the big screen she has appeared in British thriller Chatroom and had a measure of success with indie musical drama God Help the Girl. She will soon be seen as the lead character in Danish drama Bridgend, based on the spate of teen suicides in the titular South Wales town.

Joe Dempsie (Chris Miles)

Then: Dempsie played likeable, goofy-grinned hedonist Chris Miles in the first two series of Skins. His various plots included having a relationship with his teacher (Siwan Morris) and being made homeless (and having to walk to school naked) after being deserted by his mother. In the second season, Chris begins to get his life together and strikes up a relationship with Jal (Larissa Wilson), but dies, tragically as the result of a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a hereditary condition that also killed his brother.

Now: Like Hannah Murray, Joe Dempsie found post-Skins TV fame with his role as illegitimate heir Gendry on Game of Thrones. His big screen appearances have included small parts in The Damned United (opposite Michael Sheen) and British thriller Blitz (opposite Jason Statham), as well as a larger role as a soldier in Monsters: Dark Continent.

Daniel Kaluuya (Posh Kenneth)

Then: Kaluuya appeared in the first two series of Skins, playing recurring bit-part character Posh Kenneth, who affected outrageous street speak around his friends but whose actual accent was extremely posh-sounding. He had no storylines of his own, but his deadpan delivery of his unexpectedly posh lines allowed for several great comic relief moments. In addition to acting, Kaluuya was also a staff writer on the show for the episodes “Jal” and “Thomas”.

Now: Having made a notable impact in Skins, Kaluuya cemented his growing cult status with the role of Michael “Tea Leaf” Fry in TV's Psychoville. His star has continued to rise, with roles in low budget British thriller Chatroom and the Johnny English sequel, opposite Rowan Atkinson. Hollywood has clearly taken notice too: Kaluuya's most recent appearance was opposite Emily Blunt in drug cop thriller Sicario.

Find the complete box set of Skins series 1-7 in On Demand > TV > By Channel > All 4

Recommended for you