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I TALK Skins (Series 7)

My love affair with Skins ended after series four, and I'm not entirely sure why.

Perhaps it was because I was 21 and had outgrown that 'Skins phase' of my life and was no longer interested in seeing another bunch of sixth formers getting up to all sorts.

However I kept hearing good things about the new and final series, and knowing that some of my favourite characters were back for one more go, curiosity got the better of me and I found myself watching the entire new series in just a couple of days and really enjoyed revisiting the lives of Effy, Cassie and Cook.

The series began with Skins Fire, two episodes that focussed on Effy Stonem, played by Kaya Scodelario. When we last saw Effy she had just left the psychiatric hospital after her suicide attempt and her life was beginning to get back to normal. Well... as normal as it can be for Effy.

Three years on, she is now living in London with Naomi (Lily Loveless) with nothing much really going on in her life. She's working as a dead-end receptionist for a leading London Hedge Fund, but wants a lot more from her life and her career.

When she starts sleeping with her boss, Jake played brilliantly by Kayvan Novak will she finally reach the heights she's been dreaming of for so long or will it all end very badly. I'm not going to spoil it for you in case you've not yet seen Effy's episode. But one thing's for sure. It's good to have Effy back on our screens.

As well as her job, Effy's two episodes also explore her relationship with Naomi, who early on gets diagnosed with cancer and seeing how they react to that news and whether or not they decide to tell Naomi's girlfriend Emily (Kathryn Prescott) is a really nice touch and although it was only two episodes you get a real sense for what their lives are like now.

That said, so much happened in those two episodes that it would have been nice to revisit their story one more time. But there's no point in dwelling on the "what they should have done"'s and instead talk about what was to come next.

And that was Skins Pure, two episodes which focussed on Cassie from the very first two series, played by Hannah Murray. When we last saw her at the end of series two Cassie was in New York and her boyfriend Sid had gone off to find her, and we end it as Sid peers through the restaurant window in which Cassie is working. Does she see him? Do they remain together?

Well, in this final series Cassie has returned from America, and she's single. But whilst we don't know the details of who her boyfriend was as there are no mentions of Sid in series seven, we can imagine that the "boy" she says she was travelling around America with was in fact Sid and that they did meet at the end of series two and five years on have gone their separate ways.

So what is Cassie up to then five years down the line? She's working in Pete's Café in London and living on her own in a less than desirable flat. When a colleague of hers starts taking photos of her without her knowing, Cassie reacts badly. Why is he doing that? Where are these photos going? But it doesn't take long for Cassie to forgive him but not all is as it seems and Cassie appears to be regretting the day she made the decision to live in London on her own.

Then we move onto the two final ever episodes of SkinsSkins Rise, which both told the story of Cook, played by Jack O'Connell, three years on.

So where has he ended up then? Well, Cook is now living in Manchester working as a drug dealer and running away from the events that happened at the end of series four.

In my opinion it was the best episode Skins have ever done and  that final scene will always stick in my mind. Cook finds out that his best mate Freddie has been killed and when confronted with his killer, John Foster, Cook decides to hurl towards John shouting "I'M COOK". Does he kill him? We don't know, or at least we didn't until now. If you haven't seen the episode yet, I won't spoil it for you, but he is running away from something. Could it be that?

And then as we reach the final ever episode Cook spends a lot of his time running away. He's in big trouble and he's taken two girls with him - the girl he's seeing and his drug dealer boss' girlfriend Charlie. How will his story end? Will it be a repeat of series four or will Cook finally be able to get his life together? I've seen it and it's a brilliant final episode. So make sure you tune in on Monday (5th August) to see how the story ends for Cook.

Sadly very few other familiar faces returned for the final series. Apart from Effy, Cassie, Cook and Naomi and Emily the rest of the cast were nowhere to be seen.

It would have been nice for Nicholas Hoult to make an appearance in Skins: Rise as Effy's older brother Tony, or JJ (Ollie Barbieri) to come back to visit his best mate Cook in Manchester or Sid having finally caught up with Cassie came back to London with her. That said, I very much enjoyed the final series of skins and after falling out of love with it the last time around, my love affair with Skins is now stronger than ever.

Sure, there are no more episodes left to enjoy but at least Skins has left on a high note and I have no doubts that Bryan Elsley, the creator of Skins will go on to make some more great drama, in fact we already saw how capable he is as a writer with Dates recently on Channel 4.

What Skins also did very well in, was introduce us to a lot of great new acting talent. Kaya Scodelario for example, since appearing in Skins has gone on to be Plan B's chosen girl for his music videos as well as securing roles in Shank, True Love and most recently Southcliffe alongside another Skins alumni Joe Dempsie who played Chris in Skins. Dev Patel, who played Anwar in Skins, went on to have a very successful actor, starring as the lead in Slumdog Millionaire, a film which took away the 'Best Picture' Academy Award at the 2009 Oscars.

Skins concludes Monday 5th August at 10pm on E4


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