The Third Series of Skins originally aired on E4 from January 22, 2009 to March 26, 2009.
In terms of the show's continuity, Series 3 begins place 3 to 4 months after the end of "Final Goodbyes" (episode 2.10) due to the beginning of a new academic school year.
Series 3 takes place during the character's first year of sixth form (equivalent to junior year of high school in North America, or Year 11 in Australia).
The third series features a brand new cast (bar the ones noted below), replacing the main cast from Series 1 and Series 2. Thus, the third series introduces nine major characters and one major supporting character.
Kaya Scodelario returns as Tony's younger sister Effy Stonem, who now that her brother has gone off to university, is the "new queen bee - attractive to all around her, utterly in control of herself and totally independent."
Relative newcomers (and real life twins) Megan Prescott and Kathryn Prescott were cast as identical twins Katie Fitch and Emily Fitch, respectively. Katie is described as someone who wants to "shed her identical twin skin, and establishing her individuality." while Emily is someone who "likes being a twin, but she's crippled by her own shyness and depends on Katie to be the dynamic one."
Actress Klariza Clayton was cast as the show's major supporting character, Freddie's sister Karen Mclair, whose "goal is to become a singer any way possible, even if it means exploiting her mother's death."
Series creators Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain served as show runners for the third series, however only Elsley served as an executive producer, along with Charles Pattinson and George Faber and John Griffin.
The third series was produced by Company Pictures.
The main staff writers for the third series were Bryan Elsley, Jaime Brittain, Ben Schiffer, Atiha Sen Gupta, Jack Thorne, Daniel Kaluuya, Georigia Lester, Lucy Kirkwood, and Malcolm Campbell.
Chris Clough and Anne Boyd served as producers for the third series.
The regular directors for the third series were Charles Martin and Simon Massey.
The third series' incidental music was composed by Fat Segal, who also composed the show's opening theme.
|#||Title||Featured Character(s)||UK Viewers||Original airdate||Total|
|1||"Everyone"||Everyone||1.139 million[A]||January 22 2009||20|
|It’s the first day of term at Roundview College and a new gang is forming. Best friends Freddie, JJ, and Cook are en-route to college. Their world collides with Effy’s, and Cook is intrigued – this trouble maker has met his match. However, both Freddie and JJ are equally smitten. Identical twin sisters, Katie and Emily, prepare for their first day; as per usual, Katie walks all over her sister Emily. Once at college, Effy and Katie clock one another immediately, whilst Effy’s best mate Pandora tells Effy she wants to lose her virginity "asap". At college, Cook tries to charm the girl sitting next to him but instead winds her up. Naomi doesn’t suffer fools gladly and grasses Cook up. Effy issues smitten Freddie, JJ and Cook with a challenge to be completed by the end of the day. The winner will get to ‘know her’ better. And so the first day at college begins...|
|2||"Cook"||James Cook||916,000[B]||January 29 2009||21|
|It’s Cook’s 17th birthday, and half the college have been invited to his uncle’s pub to witness a night Cook believes will go down in history. The girls get are about to leave when Freddie gets a phone call from his sister Karen. She’s at her best friend Kayleigh’s engagement party and they want to get the party started. The gang head off uninvited. Cook attracts the attention of Kayleigh’s dad, notorious local gangster Johnny White. The party is a timid affair, so - ignoring Freddie’s warnings about Johnny White - Cook decides to do as the Cookie monster does and up the tempo, and the evening takes a turn for the worst.
Note: This is Karen's first episode.
|3||"Thomas"||Thomas Tomone||1.125 million[A]||February 5 2009||22|
|Thomas arrives alone in the UK from the Congo. His family are due to join him in a few days, and he has to find somewhere for them to live. He finds an abandoned flat on an estate, but little does he know that local gangster Johnny White is his new landlord, and there’s no way Johnny’s going to let him live there for free. Thomas has to fend for himself, but a chance encounter at a bus stop, and a mutual love of donuts brings him together with Pandora and Effy. It’s fate for Pandora and Thomas, who hit it off immediately – she takes him to see her Aunt Elizabeth, who just might have the answer to Thomas’s insolvency, with a rather unconventional money-making scheme.
Note: This is Thomas's first episode.
|4||"Pandora"||Pandora Moon||1.130 million[A]||February 12 2009||23|
|With the first and only boy Pandora’s ever fancied having been deported, Pandora is desperate to have some fun and decides to throw a party. Unbeknown to Pandora, Katie has used some rather special ingredients in the chocolate brownies, which take the party to another level. Effy knows, but hasn’t warned Pandora or her Mum Angela who is munching happily on the choccie treats. Effy can only look on while her best friend’s Mum’s behavior gets increasingly bizarre. An angry Pandora grabs the fun where she can, and towards the end of the evening let’s her heart rule her head... but will she regret it the morning?|
|5||"Freddie"||Freddie Mclair||1.241 million[A]||February 19 2009||24|
|Freddie’s the black sheep of his family. His big sister Karen has ambitions - she’s reached the final of a TV talent show to find a new member of girl group Da Sexxbombz. Freddie despises her lust for celebrity but is emotionally blackmailed into upholding the story Karen and their Dad, Leo, are spinning. On top of this, living in the shadow of the increasingly reckless Cook is becoming too much to bear. When Effy turns up at his shed, Freddie doesn’t know what to do with himself; there’s a always been a connection between them. Freddie feels torn between his family, his friends, and his heart, and the isolation is overwhelming. Will Freddie start to put himself first, or will he retreat to his shed, and beloved skateboard, as he always has before?|
|6||"Naomi"||Naomi Campbell||957,000[B]||February 26 2009||25|
|Naomi thinks she has the world worked out, and puts people in their appropriate boxes. There's her hippy mum; the adoration from Emily; Cook's insulting misogyny; and her politics teacher, Kieran's, flattery. She thinks she has them all sussed, and that it's only her who can see the truth. However, the upcoming student elections leave her at a loss, and her insecurities get the better of her. The trust and confidence inspired by a friend encourages her to stand up to her arch rival, the antithesis of everything she stands for, as her and Cook go head to head; but Naomi learns that nothing is black and white anymore.|
|7||"JJ"||JJ Jones||1.322 million[A]||March 5 2009||26|
|JJ’s feeling lost and confused. The upset within the gang has taken its toll on him, and his fine balancing act has come unstuck. When he visits his psychiatric clinic, he just gets given more drugs. At home, his mother is worn out with it all, and away from the home, JJ can see his friends coming apart at the seams. With Effy at such a low ebb, and the chance discovery of Cook, Freddie and Pandora’s secrets, he feels the burden to be overwhelming. But an unlikely member of the gang - Emily - proves to be the true friend at his time of need.|
|8||"Effy"||Effy Stonem||1.260 million[A]||March 12 2009||27|
|Effy is at the lowest point, but this time there’s no older brother at home to notice; and home life has deteriorated so much that it’s even harder than ever for her to communicate. Katie, having usurped Effy as Queen Bee, takes every opportunity to rub in her superiority and highlight the fact that Freddie is her man, and Effy is to keep her hands off. She invites Effy to a party in the woods, but there are stipulations - Effy has to drive, and Cook is not welcome. As they all head off, the car strains with tension - as secrets and rivalries build. Their paranoid state increases when they have a frightening run in with some poachers. Freddie manages to lighten the mood, and as they arrive at the campsite, they recover themselves and start to have fun. Effy finds some magic mushrooms, and they experiment. Katie’s jealousy of Effy returns, as Effy becomes the centre of the action. The fun and excitement intensify, that is until it becomes clear someone has been tampering with their stuff. Hearing gun shots, they realise someone is charging towards them. The atmosphere darkens and any fun they were having disappears in an instant. Later, Effy gets the opportunity to follow her heart, but a decision she makes may be difficult to ever recover from.|
|9||"Katie and Emily"||Katie Fitch & Emily Fitch||1.277 million[A]||March 19 2009||28|
|Katie won’t leave the house. Fortunately, Emily is able to disguise herself as her sister, and sits an exam for her, facilitating the self-imposed house-arrest. Emily and Naomi get closer, but when Emily asks Naomi to accompany her to the college ball, she says no – breaking Emily’s fragile heart. Against her better judgement, and under duress, Emily agrees to partner Katie to the ball, and they plan their outfits together. Out shopping, though, Katie sees a way of regaining her hard-sought status at college. When Freddie inadvertently drops the bombshell about Emily and JJ, Katie hatches a plan – making her sister the ultimate victim. Katie’s scheming results in the mother of all show-downs. But she’s the one who has to face her fears and accept some hard truths – she’s not in control any more.|
|10||"Finale"||Effy, Freddie, JJ, & Cook||1.229 million[A]||March 26 2009||29|
|Cook and Effy are in self-imposed exile from the gang, having gone to stay with Cook’s father. Effy is running away from everything she’s ever known and Cook enables her escape. Problem is, Cook is slowly falling out of lust, and in love. Back in Bristol, JJ tries to snap Freddie out of his depressed stupour, down about the loss of both his best mate, and the girl he loves. Freddie and JJ force Effy to confront who she is and what she really wants. She has to make amends for the damage she’s caused. She also has to decide whether to follow her heart. Can the four friends find a way forward together?|
* B^ All ratings are official ratings taken from BARB's database, unless otherwise stated. Total viewers do not include E4+1 ratings, as they were not in the top 10 rated E4 +1 programmes for that week; thus there is no official ratings for viewers watching on E4+1. Viewers on E4+1 typically add 200,000-300,000 to the rating.
- Main article: Unseen Skins#Series 3
This is the only series where the character video diaries functionally replaced the Unseen Skins episodes. Instead, the Unseen Skins episodes served as flashbacks or sidestories of the characters that are not connected to any specific episode. During the course of Series 3, four "mini-sodes" were released on E4.com.
All the mini-sodes were eventually included as a special feature on the DVD released of Skins: Complete Third Series.
To advertise the third series of Skins, E4 created a trailer of featuring the new cast participating in a debauched night of heavy drinking and recreational drug use at a pub. Eventually, a large scale fight breaks out, causing the cast to escape from the police through the pub's roof, where they all jump off and escape into the night. The song used in the trailer is "Halfway Home" by TV on the Radio.
The Third Series received mixed reviews in the UK, with criticism especially placed on the entire cast change and how the loss of the "first generation" was heavily felt. Others criticized the excessive promotion of the new cast as a failed attempt at making them seem "edgier" then their predecessors.
The Independent gave the series a mixed review, stating that "As before, Skins is slickly made, but I remember the earlier series being more nuanced. What was striking about last week's opening episode was the absolute inadequacy of every single adult character, their complete subordination to comic business. Though the central characters were disappointingly two-dimensional, the adults were barely even points on a map; nobody over the age of 17 was granted anything approaching an inner life, a point of view, sympathy".
Reception in North America was also mixed, although reviews positively praised Kaya Scodelario's performance as Effy Stonem. Entertainment Weekly, although giving the third series a C, included Scodelario on their 2009 Summer Must List as their "Must Bad Girl" for her role as Effy.
Bulls-eye.com gave the series a positive review, giving it 4 out of 5 stars, remarking that "In any event, there’s one thing that I’m sure of in regard to “Skins”: It’s an immensely engaging series that never stops entertaining; it’s just a matter of whether or not you’ll find the material in direct conflict with your worldview. Plenty of people will judge it to be trash, and they might be right, but I’d encourage anyone willing to give it a chance to at least sit through the entire ten-episode season before making that call, because at the end of the day, it has far more heart than not".
Denofgeek.com gave the series a negative review, stating "Series 3 could be politely described as 'patchy' which is a nicer way of saying 'barely coherent sprawling mess'. Rebooting with an almost entirely new cast was a bold move, however, they turned out to be a poor replacement for the originals, with only Jack O'Connell as Cook being convincing. It's focus was so intent on setting up the dullest love polygon ever between three musketeers JJ, Cook and Freddie with the "like, totally deep" Effy at the centre. (It didn't help that Freddie and Effy had about as much charisma and chemistry between them as the average paving slab.) It had no time for silly things like rounding out the rest of the cast beyond cardboard cutout characterisation or believable storylines, such as Emily coming out as a lesbian, then sleeping with JJ because... well, there was five minutes left at the end of the episode, I guess. It was also indecisive in tone, shifting from serious drama to high comedy so quickly it gave viewers whiplash - the finale culminating in three friends turned rivals fighting for a girl's love by running through a small town with old ladies on their backs. It had become everything people who hated it said it was. At the end, it even seemed to recognize how lost it had become when Cook asked, 'So what do we do now?'"
Although reception of the series was mixed, the "Naomily" storyline received extremely positive reception in both the UK and North America, along with proving popular with lesbian viewers; a poll conducted by American gay women's' media website AfterEllen.com ranked Naomi and Emily as the top two fictional lesbian and bisexual characters.
Sarah Warn, editor-in chief of lesbian-based website AfterEllen.com wrote that the relationship between Naomi and Emily "was one of the best-developed and most honest depictions of a lesbian teenage relationship that I've ever seen on TV." The entertainment editor for eurOut.org, a website for European lesbians, thought that Naomi and Emily's storyline was "definitely one of the best portrayals of teenage lesbians I've ever seen", writing that "when the focus is more on cute girls falling for each other, this show isn't half bad". Another eurOut.org writer, Cate O'Neil, said that "Naomi" (episode 3.06) was "probably the best individual lesbian episode I have seen on TV. Ever."
The third series aired in the United States on BBC America from August 6, 2009 to October 8, 2009.
In 2010, the Third Series ofSkins was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for "Outstanding Drama Series" during the 21st GLAAD Media Awards.
Home Media Release
- Main article: Skins: DVD Releases#Series 3