“Great LezBritian” is a fortnightly stroll through the very best of British lesbo-centric entertainment and culture. Plus there will be some jolly good interviews with the top ladies who are waving the flag for gay UK.
The next series of Skins is back on UK screens on January 23 courtesy of Channel E4. Two of the key Characters, Franky Fitzgerald, played by Dakota Blue Richards and Mini McGuinness, played by Freya Mavor spoke to us a couple of weeks ago amidst a frantic last week of filming. Speculation is rife about what will happen to their characters in series six, and indeed whether the “Minky” boat will sail or sink. Both actresses gave their perspective on all things Skins, how their characters change and how they define the relationship between their characters.
AfterEllen.com: How has your day been, Freya?
Freya Mavor: I am having a day when I am eating food like there is no tomorrow so you’ve caught me when I’m in a post-lunch mood.
AE: How do you feel about finishing filming Skins 6 so soon?
FM: The whole process has been amazing, particularly in that you have the experience of being a character in a TV show and then you get to do it all over again. I think all of the actors have improved and have really come into their own in this series.
AE: After you finished Series 5, how quickly were you told about what would be happening to Mini in series 6?
FM: A lot of what is decided is open to change and throughout the filming process little bits are tweaked. But about two months before we start filming we’re all brought in and told the general story arc and then you have to get your head around that and get into character.
AE: In series 5 I think it would be fair to say that the perception of Mini as a character changed a lot from beginning to end. What did you think of her development?
FM: It’s funny because I never went up for the part of Mini, I went for Liv and Grace and it wasn’t until the final day that I was reading for Mini, got the part and went straight into filming a few days later. So I didn’t have time to process much about the character and I didn’t really have any prep as to why she was so malicious and nasty, but it was great as well because she’s so different to me so is very fun to play.
AE: Because of that, did you create your own backstory for Mini?
FM: I was given hints about what her family life was like and with any character you have to fill in the gaps otherwise they lack credibility. I am at the point now where I understand Mini; I know why she’s being a bitch without resenting her actions.
AE: Did you watch Skins before appearing in the series?
FM: I’ve watched all of it, so from when I was quite young, which is weird. I’ve been a massive fan because it was the first of its kind to deal with issues on such a gritty level. It was a massive shock when it came out and I suppose it still is.
AE: The difference with this series seems to be that the characters don’t seem as defined as the last generation of Skins, they seem a lot more carefree maybe?
FM: I think that was a deliberate move by the writers because Skins before did become quite sinister and quite intense. Particularly in Series 4 when there was a lot of hard issues being thrown into the mix. I think that they wanted to bring back a more child-like, adolescence feel to it. So it has more of a first time feel and a sense of discovery with characters – dealing with first loves and confusion over their sexuality for instance.
AE: What did you think of “Naomily” from the previous generation?
FM: I thought it was a fantastic storyline and obviously it was so successful with the audience. I think it was really perfect for that time because it showed true lesbian romance that hadn’t really been portrayed in such a meaningful way. Essentially it was just a love story about two people falling in love but the fact it was two girls just made it really and they were certainly the couple of that generation.
AE: Mini and Franky have now been defined, as “Minky” but their relationship is very different than “Naomily”’s because it’s more ambiguous and not everyone is rooting for them it seems.
FM: With the whole “Minky” storyline it is more infatuation than actual lust. They are both intrigued by one another because they see a lot of their own traits within each other, but at the same time they express themselves in completely polar-opposite ways. In the next series they are a lot more merged and you can see the influence they’ve had on each other. Franky especially – and I think a lot of people will be quite shocked – she is not the androgynous, outsider she was. She is a lot more feminine and sexy and this is due to the impact they have had on each other both mentally and physically.
AE: How much of Franky’s new feminine ways do you think is down to Mini’s influence?
FM: Certainly in part, but I think Franky has come into her own. She brings everyone together in Series 5 really and in Series 6 she has a stable group of friends that allows her to explore and experiment. Mini still has her bitchy, hard front but it has been stripped back because of Franky’s influence.
AE: Because of the influence they have over one another do you think they would work as a couple?
FM: Personally, I don’t because they need each other as a rock and they seek guidance from one another more than anything. Their friendship is explored massively in this series and there’s an episode that purely focuses around their relationship. In series 6 they both go through such crazy storylines that at points show that their relationship is too intense and poisonous to be anything more.
AE: Is what happens to “Minky” what you would have liked to happen?
FM: I am really proud of it. I think it’s a really interesting portrayal of an unconventional friendship. The effort by everyone in making this and the whole series has been immense and I think everyone feels really proud of what we’ve done with Series 6.
AE: We previously interviewed Kat Prescott and Lily Loveless and they told me that they were besieged with fan mail and people telling them their roles in Skins had helped them come out – have you had anything like that?
FM: I think because the story of Franky and Mini is not a love story in terms of a relationship it’s much more subtle and hidden than that so the impact hasn’t been the same. I haven’t had people telling me that I’ve helped them come out, but we’ve had people come up to us routing for the relationship to happen. And there’s been a lot of activity on the Internet by fans whom are on the “Minky” boat, shall we say.
AE: Where are you going to leave Mini when series 6 finishes?
FM: I don’t know it’s hard not to feel nostalgic and disappointed that there is no kind of end and you have to let your character go. It’s hard to think they are just fictional when I have been that character for such a long time.
AE: After you’ve finished filming what is next for you?
FM: I’m having a break for a few weeks because it’s been non-stop for six months. I think I might go to Paris for a few months, I’ve always wanted to go and I have a friend who has a one bedroom flat there so although it’ll be tight it’ll also be an experience.
Next page: Sarah and Lee talk to Dakota Blue Richards