DS caught up with actress Larissa Wilson to find out what's in store for Jal this week and as the series progresses, as well as getting her take on the Skins phenomenon.
How would you describe Skins?
"I would describe the show as racy, slightly comical... but realistic!"
The massive promo before the show started - how did that feel?
"Erm, it being my first thing I've ever done, I was nervous. It was a mixture of emotions. I was nervous, I was excited, I was scared. Throughout the promo and everything... even now, I still get the same feelings of being nervous and excited at the same time."
So tell me a bit about your character..
"Her name is Jal. She's very talented and very musical. She plays the clarinet, which she enters a competition for in my episode. Jal's quite different from the rest. She's quite mature, being a female in her family is hard for her and she feels like she's had to mature. It's hard for her to talk. She has a very good relationship with her friends but doesn't always feel that she can talk with them... her way of expressing herself is done through the clarinet. And the clarinet is a close love of hers, and which you'll see is a big part of her life as well."
And her closest friend is Michelle - what's that dynamic like?
"Michelle being her best friend is quite funny, because they're so different as well. That makes the relationship sometimes hard, because they've different ways of thinking. [Michelle's] boyfriend Tony isn't genuine for her... Jal wants the best for her friend but Michelle can't always see that. Jal knows Tony and knows what he's about, that he can be a right pig sometimes, so as much as she's friends with Tony, she doesn't like the way he carries on towards her friend."
What is the story in Jal's episode?
"In Jal's episode, you really see her relationship with her family. She's got two brothers, their friend and her father, who she lives with. There are a lot of differences. Jal's really vulnerable... you see that at home, she's stressed and upset. You see what she's thinking. As we see in other episodes, Jal's not really central... she keeps herself to herself. Something happens in ep 3 and she really does value her brothers, who she thought were idiots, deep down. It's her transformation as well - she gets a makeover from Michelle! She expresses herself in a way she hasn't before. She's not very confident and she doesn't care what she looks like - she'll wake up in the morning and shove on anything. So her image is created in ep 3. It's a transformation of Jal."
How did it feel for you as an actor to be totally in the spotlight like that?
"To have a whole episode focusing on me, it was mad. I was so nervous when we came up to filming it because obviously, I've never had that kind of attention before. I was very, very nervous but it was amazing, a great opportunity, and I'd love to do something like that again. But hard work. It was a time when you really had to know and understand your character... it was very important that you portray the character to its best and put it across for the audience to watch."
What sort of reaction have you had to the show so gar?
"My family and friends all loved it. It was slightly comical as well, which is always important. You're gonna get mixed reactions from people - people have been shocked, which we knew to expect."
Obviously there was a big online campaign behind the show. Have you checked out what people have been saying online?
"I've been on the Skins website. You see a lot of people, their comments and they leave messages on your pictures, saying what they think of you. It's mad to think you're just a normal teenager who goes to college every day and then suddenly people know who you are. It's completely bizarre, I still haven't got to grips with it. I find myself getting embarrassed!"
Did you have any racy scenes in the show? What was that aspect of it like?
"No I didn't, thank God! I couldn't tell you what it was like, because I haven't done it, but watching it on TV would be a bit like 'woah!' Thankfully with Jal, there's no time for her to be doing anything else other than practising for her competition!"
How close do you think Skins comes to portraying a realistic teen experience?
"I think it's quite close. I know a lot of people probably watched ep 1 but it's important that each episode is watched. It's a lot of different personalities on each show, and that alone makes it wild. People will find that Jal is quite boring but I think that my character reveals a typical insecurity of that age. I know part of it is exaggerated - I don't know that many people drive a car into a river on a regular basis!"
How did the cast get along over the six months of filming?
"We all became such close friends. We all got on really well and all got to really love each other - we all became like a little family! It's so funny because I think if I met these people in every day life, they wouldn't be the people I'd pick to be my friends. But because we're all different - like our characters - we all just got on really well."
Have you heard any rumblings of a second series yet? Would you be game for it?
"I haven't heard anything but yeah, definitely. It would be really good as well to see the changes in the characters. I'd love to do it! And who knows, Jal might decide to play the piano next series..."
Skins airs Thursdays at 10pm on E4.