Skins cast slam show for rating bikini bodies and telling the women to skip food
Female members of the cast of Skins have accused the show of critiquing their bodies pressuring them to be slimmer.
April Pearson, 32, and Laya Lewis, 29, were both teenagers when they worked on the cult Channel 4 series.
They spoke out on a podcast and accused people behind the scenes on the show of lining up female cast members in bikinis and ordering them to skip meals to lose weight.
The allegations also came at different time periods during Skins production with April playing Michelle Richardson in the first two seasons of the show between 2007 and 2008, and Laya playing Olivia Malone in seasons five and six in 2011 and 2012.
On the Are You Michelle From Skins podcast, Laya said "I definitely felt a lot of pressure to be smaller or slimmer. From the actual creators or people behind the scenes.
"There was one point where we were told to skip breakfast, and for dinner, we should just have a jacket potato."
She added: "Before series six, we all had a meeting and we were told to basically skip meals; I was the main one speaking up and I remember saying: 'We all look the same, pretty much, as we did last year'.
"And I remember so-and-so, I'm not going to name names, looking at me and going: 'Do you Laya? Do you all look the same as you did last year?'"
Laya went on to recall the alleged casting session where the cast, aged between 16 and 18, had to stand before an unnamed male show creator while wearing nothing but a bikini or swimwear.
The actress stated how bad she felt during the swimwear audition but says now she is older, the feeling is “worse” on reflection.
Fellow Skins star April backed up Laya’s claims in the podcast and added: "At the time you're young and you don't know any better.
"You don't really know what to say, to speak out, is this okay… And as with a lot of victims of trauma, you look back at it and think: 'Yeah, that was f***ed up."
Skins was known for its raunchy take on teenage sexuality and drug-taking, and helped launch the careers of Hollywood stars Nicholas Hoult, Dev Patel and Kaya Scodelario.
The two former Skin stars also discussed the sex scenes with April feeling she was “mentally” too young for the scenes despite being legal age.
April explained that there is a "difference between being officially old enough and mentally old enough” and feels she was not protected.
She added: "The preparation for what we were going to do. Nowadays you have an intimacy coordinator as a standard for nude, intimate scenes and that just simply wasn't a thing."
Speaking to The Mirror, a Channel 4 spokesperson said: "It is very concerning to hear of the comments made.
"We now have a confidential ‘Speak Up’ facility available and widely publicised on our production call sheets for current productions, however, we take all allegations of inappropriate behaviour very seriously and encourage anyone with concerns to come forward."
The Sun reported that a spokesperson for Bryan Elsley, who created the show with his son, Jamie Brittain, said: “We’re deeply and unambiguously sorry that any cast member was made to feel uncomfortable or inadequately respected in their work during their time on Skins.
“We're committed to continually evolving safe, trustworthy and enjoyable working conditions for everyone who works in the TV industry.”
Skins production company Company Pictures have also been asked for comment.
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