Wednesday, 27 June 2007


So. We've started filming Series 2! Peeking through a doorway the other day I got my first glimpse at the rushes for day one. Looking good!

Last Thursday was the read through of episodes 1 and 2. It went really well, and what was really nice was seeing all the cast and crew back together in one room. Also exciting was the appearance of some new faces...I can't say too much, but if you look closely at the picture (try and look past Bailey's gurning mug) you might just spot the previously unseen protagonist of ep 2. Shh. Keep it quiet.

We've got a new production base, which is situated in a huge warehouse in Fishponds. A change this year (and sorry if I'm spoiling the magic, I'll try not to do that too much) is our use of sets for interior locations, hence the size of our base. I'll try and get pictures for you soon.

It was our weekly writers meeting today, which is always fun, bashing ideas around, arguing about swear words, drinking massive amounts of diet coke and a lot, and I mean a lot of laughing. Partly this is down to the presence of our two comedians in residence, Robin Ince and Josie Long. Here is a picture of them:
(also pictured on the left is Matt Simpson, aka Fat Segal, who among his other rich achievements composed the Skins theme tune). Robin and Josie are both favorite comedians of mine, who I feel really lucky to work with. I'm passionate about comedy (since you ask; Big Train, Bill Hicks, Chris Morris, Peter Cook) but sometimes I feel that stand up comedy in particular gets a bit stuck in a groove with constant discussion about sex and drugs (I'm looking at you, Brand). Not so with Robin and Josie's acts; go to a show by them and you'll see references to philosophy, Richard Dawkins, gluten free biscuits and arable farming. So it's great to have them writing for us, cos they bring a great sense of humor and originality to our writers group and the show in general. I urge you to go and see both of them whenever you can. Both gig a lot so it's not hard to see them live. Robin will be supporting Ricky Gervais in his upcoming London gigs.

Got to get back to Final Draft now but I'll update again later in the week. I might try and do an interview with someone for you.


Tuesday, 5 June 2007


Writing a script is hard. I sort of stumbled into it. Me and my Dad, Bryan, had cooked up this idea for a show about teenagers, and he'd got all these cool people in to write it. I never thought I would be more involved than sitting in on the writers meeting and making the occasional uninformed comment, and even THAT I saw as for my amusement rather than for the benefit of the show. But as time went on, I found that I had something of a knack for suggesting ideas for the main characters (I'd been fiddling with them since I was 15), and that let to me being more involved...and THAT led to me eventually being offered a script.

All I'd written before was angsty adolescent short stories, and a pile of essays for university. What on earth did I know about writing a script? Granted, I'd been reading my Dad's work for years, but I was to quickly find that experience and execution are two different things. I found myself facing the biggest challenge of my professional life (which is not too hard, when all you've done before is stack shelves in shops and hoiked sacks of powdered milk around warehouses).

So I looked at what I had to my advantage. Firstly, I'd been given the episode that based around the character Sid. It's no secret that when I made this character up, I based him on myself...the neurosis, the awkwardness, this is all pretty much me when I was 17 (and not too far away from the way I am now). So I could draw upon my own experiences and emotions around certain events. Sometimes I knew exactly what Sid would say in a given situation, or what he would do when faced with conflicting choices. So I had that.

But that wasn't nearly enough. Firstly, though Sid is nominally based on me, he is NOT me. He is quite different in many ways. So I couldn't fall back on the 'what would I do' stratagem too often. I still had to be creative, and imaginative.

Also, script writing, especially for telly, requires a certain amount of technique. I had assumed, to some degree, that it just involved writing down what people say in certain situations in a manner that reflects real life. Not true. Unless you're Lars Von Trier, and specialize in that sort of awkward realism, any attempt to simply quote from your own daily discourse to seem real will often end up seeming, well, unreal. Transcribing what should seem like reality to the script, and then to the screen is a process of mediation and editing, not quotation. It's a skill you have to learn.

Well, I didn't have very long to learn that skill - the skill that makes a writer a writer, rather than a reporter of real events. But I had a lot of help, especially from Bryan, my Dad and Chloe, our wonderful script editor. The script editor is, at least on our show, a far more important figure than their rather modest title might suggest. She is essentially only second to the show runner in terms of shaping story, continuity and the scripts themselves.

So you've gotta write a lot of drafts. That's a given. And slowly, but surely, I began to learn, through a process of trial and error, what worked and what didn't, with the help of Bryan and Chloe. And my script began to take shape. One day, I finished it, and I'm very proud with what I achieved, and very grateful for all the help I got with it, from Bryan, from Chloe, from Charlie and George (our executive producers) and from the writers' meetings.

Friday, 1 June 2007


Hi! I'm the co-creator of Skins and one of the writers, Jamie. I've started this blog to record the process of the writing and production of series 2. Hopefully, in the future, this page will feature contributions from many different members of the Skins team, from cast to crew, from writers to directors. But for now, it's just little old me, slogging away in North London at my script.

To bring you up to date, the Skins team is currently slogging away at getting series 2 of Skins written and produced. We start filming in a couple of weeks, and we have a lovely new director, hailing from the world of documentaries, named Aisha (I hope I've spelled that right). She is lovely, very talented, and we look forward to seeing her work on episodes one and two.

Writers this year include Jack Thorne, who is writing episodes 2 and 10, and the man responsible for the excellent Chris and Effy episodes last series. Ben Schiffer, who co-wrote the hilarious episode 6 last year with Simon Amstell is also writing for us. Bryan Elsley, the executive producer, will be writing three (I think) episodes this year, including the first one. The brilliant Sally Tatchell writing episode 4. And me, writing episode 6.

It's too soon to officially announce, but we've got some great (very) young talent, and hopefully some familiar faces writing episodes this year!

We've had some great new additions to our famous writers group; backing up the old hats of Daniel, Peter and Athia are new faces Lucy, Max, Georgia and Daisy. Plus the comedian and all round bag of lovely Josie Long, plus the fantastic and very talented Robin Ince.

The writing team took a trip down to Bristol a few weeks ago to see some of the cast and discuss the show with them - it was great to see them all, April, Mike, Larissa, Hannah. All in good form, all totally lovely, and all eager to get started on the next series, busting with ideas, too!

There is all sorts going on round the office at the moment. I can't give too much away, but we are currently working with some very exciting people to produce the opening scene of episode 1. It'll all start with a bang, I promise you!

We are also in the middle of auditions for a new character, which is very exciting, and have seen some of the hottest young talents in the country for it. The public auditions for you out there are in the works, and will be coming soon...!

So stay tuned for more news, and check this page for regular updates from the world of Skins!