After the show lost its sixth major advertiser just hours before last night's episode, Bryan Elsley—Skins' creator—has released a statement saying the U.S.'s focus on the salacious has "eclipsed" the good the show actually does for teens.
After staying silent through last week's controversy following the series' premiere on MTV—with the Parents Television Council all freaked out and sponsors jumping ship—Elsley, who created both the U.K. and U.S. versions of the show, has finally released a statement to MTV News, in which he essentially says that unlike Americans, viewers in the U.K. were able to comprehend that Skins is "a very serious attempt to get the roots of young people's lives."
Sometimes that truth can be a little painful to adults and parents…We proceed from the idea, not that teenagers are inherently likely to misbehave, but rather that they are intensely moral and disposed to make judgments on their own and others' behaviour. Sometimes, but not always, they get things wrong. In this teenagers are remarkably similar to adults…When viewers have taken the time to watch the show in a little more depth, they are less concerned about the behavior of the characters. Teenagers can be loyal, supportive, dedicated, focused, and capable of making informed value judgments about their lives. In the pilot episode of Skins, it's possibly easy to overlook the story wherein a young boy sets off to a party to sell drugs and have sex, but in fact, does neither of these things, because, he senses that he has been manipulated by friends and does not feel ready to have sex with someone he does not know properly.
Skins is a traditionally made television series which has won countless international awards and gained a worldwide audience for stories about the joy, misery and challenges of being a teenager. The show has been used in anti-drug campaigns, has drawn praise for its portrayal of mental health issues and explorations of bereavement, sexuality, bullying and gender stereotyping.
I have lost count of the letters we have been sent by viewers who tell us that they have been able to approach their parents or teachers with their difficulties after watching the show. It is something that we take a great deal of pride in and which can unfortunately be eclipsed by some of the negative attention.