The series follows the lives of a group of teenagers in Bristol Through their two years of sixth form, with each episode generally focussing on a particular character or subset of characters and the struggles they face in their lives. Its storylines have been considered controversial by some audiences and media outlets, due to the graphic content and narratives depicted. Skins explored issues like dysfunctional families, mental illness (such as depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder), adolescent sexuality, gender, substance abuse, death and bullying. Despite this, it enjoyed an enormous amount of success domestically and internationally, both with audiences and critics alike.
Over its six-year run, Skins proved to be atypical of ongoing drama series in that it replaced its primary cast every two years. Notable cast members included: Kaya Scodelario, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Dempsie, Hannah Murray, Mike Bailey, April Pearson, Lily Loveless, Will Merrick, Freya Mavor, Jack O'Connell, Laya Lewis, Dakota Blue Richards, Sean Teale, Ollie Barbieri, Kathryn Prescott, Larissa Wilson, Dev Patel, Luke Pasqualino, Giles Thomas, Mitch Hewer, Lisa Backwell, Alexander Arnold, Megan Prescott, Jessica Sula, Merveille Lukeba, Sebastian De Souza, Morwenna Banks and Daniel Kaluuya.