AE: How are things, Dakota?
Dakota Blue Richards: I’m all right. It’s our last week on set at the moment so things are pretty hectic.
AE: In Series 5 I think it would be fair to say that Franky is a very ambiguous character, how was the character defined to you when you first got the part?
DBR: They didn’t tell me a whole lot because they didn’t have a clear idea before she was cast. I knew she was going to be ambiguous, androgynous, have an unusual path and for it to be unclear as to what she wanted out of life.
AE: Were you told a lot about her backstory, some of it seems very dark?
DBR: Skins doesn’t like to do big backstories because they like to do things in the here and now. I knew that she had a lot of different people look after her and subsequently suffered when forming relationships but the writers go on develop it.
AE: In Series 5, did you know the whole story arc between her and Mini beforehand or was it a surprise?
DBR: It was a complete surprise. Skins develop things as they go along and it depends on how on how things are going on set. Originally Mini and Franky were going to be enemies and not make up. However because there was an interesting dynamic between the two characters they decided to play on that in a different way but it wasn’t ever on the cards initially.
AE: Franky has been defined, as a gender queer character would you agree with that?
DBR: One of the things that I was told very early on is that Franky doesn’t want to be a girl and that’s not to say that she wants to be a boy or that she wants to be anything at all actually. She just wants to be — and most people don’t understand that. Most people are threatened by it and that’s the position that Mini takes at the beginning.
As the series developed she came out of her shell a lot more and that’s definitely something that happens in this series. Right at the beginning of this series [Series 6] she (Franky) blossoms overnight and is very comfortable with herself — her body and herself — which is something that she wasn’t at all before. And I think that’s a consequence of having found love in some ways. Not necessarily love in a romantic sense, although that has been a part of it but she has a lot of people around her that want to show her love. In Series 6, Franky wants to be herself and although she has become more styled and girlie she isn’t defined by this, she is defined simply who she is.
AE: Speaking to Freya earlier, she spoke about how Franky and Mini had, had an influence on one another and one of these influences was her new feminine look – would you agree with this?
DBR: I think it’s interesting she said this but I wouldn’t necessarily agree. I think whatever Franky does comes from within and what Mini has done is made her comfortable being whoever she wants to be – whether it’s a girl, a boy or something in the middle.
AE: Does Franky feel like a different character to play in this series?
DBR: It’s been quite nice for me this series because the way that Franky’s clothing and her style has changed is a representation of her opening up and becoming more herself which is something she hadn’t allowed herself to do in Series 5. You can see in this series that her look changes with her mood. For instance, she dresses more feminine when she feels loved and dresses differently when she’s in a sexually dominant relationship.
AE: What can you me tell me about how Franky and Mini’s relationship develops in series 6?
DBR: Mini and Franky are very comfortable hating each other because they do actually understand each other and from that understanding comes a deep trust and a love. There are points in the series when they clash but that’s only because they care for each other so deeply. In episode 9 Mini is asked whether she is there to look after Franky or is Franky there to look after her? She replies, “neither, we are here to look after each other.” I think this sums up what their relationship is all about.
AE: Is Franky and Mini’s relationship in Series 6 what you would have expected to happen after how it was left in Series 5?
DBR: It’s actually better because I was worried that the writers would aim for something that was very commercial because of the demand by some fans for “Minky” to happen and the actual storyline that they’ve created is beautiful. Mini and Franky are never going to just have sex because it’s not sexual, it’s much deeper than that and I hope all the fans appreciate it for not being predictable.
AE: What reaction have you had to playing Franky?
DBR: Very positive because I think a lot of people felt that they could really feel like they could connect to her. That’s why I wanted this role because I wanted to play someone that was relatable and that people could take something away from.
AE: What are your plans post-Skins?
DBR: I’ve got my A-level exams to do in January and in the summer so I’ll be focusing on that but beyond that I’m not really sure. I’m 18 in April so although a daunting prospect I want to move out and do things on my own, although I’ll probably be back home most weekends!
“Great LezBritain” authors Sarah, a Londoner, and Lee, a Glaswegian, met in a gay discotheque one bleak mid winter, eight years ago and have been shacked up together ever since. When not watching Tipping The Velvet,
they find time to write, run a PR company, DJ at their own club nights and love a bit of jam on toast. Follow them on Twitter at greatlezbritain.
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