Great LezBritain: Interview with “Skins” writer Ed Hime

“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.

No other lesbian TV relationship has ever set the internet on fire quite like Emily Fitch (Kathryn Prescott) and Naomi Campbell (Lily Loveless) in Skins.

In series ,3 we witnessed these star-crossed lovers navigate their relationship through choppy waters and then in blazing triumph set sail into what we hoped would be everlasting love and possibly shared custody of two cats. The beginning of series 4 gave us a glimpse of this happily-ever-after with an opening sequence of pants, presents and love biscuits, but alas the honeymoon was short lived and Bristol’s very own Juliet and Juliet entered the realm of dyke drama very quickly.

Last week we headed to a Mediterranean style cafe in Shoreditch, London to meet with Ed Hime, the Skins writer behind Emily’s episode in series 4. Once we had settled amidst a red and white checked tablecloth, amaretto biscuits and table football, Ed told us that he sometimes writes there and we wonder if anything around us inspired Naomily. Over two cappuccinos he tells us about the pressure of writing for the most popular couple in Skins, goggles, Heather Hogan and series 5. You started writing for Skins on series 4. How did you get involved, were you recruited?
Ed Hime: The production team is always trying to bring in new writers and I came in just as series 3 was airing, just as Naomily was taking off! I worked really hard to get the gig and was a massive fan of Skins before – I love the show.

AE: Why did you love it?
EH: I think it’s a personal show about really private stories and they take risks that no other TV show does. It doesn’t always work, so when it’s bad it really sticks out, but when it’s good it blows anything else out the water, in my opinion.


AE: How many writers are involved?
EH: There are loads; you have the core group of writers who write the episode, the script editors and also Jamie [Brittain] and Bryan [Elsley] who created the show. Then we try and bring in almost exclusively teenagers so what we’re doing isn’t bulls–t and there are always fresh eyes. Loads of people have been involved – comedians, writers from different mediums, younger kids.

AE: Did anyone come in specifically to give perspective to the Naomily storyline?
EH: I don’t think so, it really had the attention of everyone because we knew it was going to be a big story and we consciously wanted to place it in the middle of series 4. I didn’t feel I needed to do too much research because I’ve had my heart ripped out so that was the perspective I was coming at it from.

AE: Were you given Emily’s episode to write or did you decide you wanted to write for her?
EH: There were a few characters up for grabs and I actually gravitated towards Naomi. I wanted to write for her because I related to her most out of all of the Skins characters. I think I naturally understood where she was, she’s spiky and wants to be an outsider but desperate to be accepted at the same time, which was easy for me to understand.

AE: But you ended up writing for Emily.
EH: I knew that Emily and Naomi were going to be together and the more I researched it and got into it I realised that Emily was the more interesting character. She was struggling to free herself from her sister and the second she shakes Katie off, she goes straight into a relationship with Naomi. The hugeness of Emily’s love makes her unique in Skins world and those kinds of people are scary to be in relationships with, and I think that is especially true for someone like Naomi.

So they were in a difficult situation because they had just found love but in many ways they were quite incompatible. Naomi has to have her independence and Emily is about all-consuming love and that dynamic was fascinating to me.