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Could Clique be the new Skins? We spoke to Jess Brittain to find out

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Some are arguing Clique will be the spiritual-successor to the cult-hit TV show Skins. Set in Edinburgh, around the university, the series does hold promise.

Clique will take an entirely different format though, appearing as a mini-series and in an online-only format. Equally, while it will still be examining young people’s issues, its university setting will make Clique quite different to its predecessor, which followed college students in the south of England. At first glance Clique looks promising and well worth further examination, so we spoke to writer Jess Brittain to get the low-down…

“I learnt my trade in the Skins writers’ room,” Jess told us, tackling the comparison early. “Clique is similar to Skins in that it deals with a fundamental, terrifying time in young peoples’ lives. But there is a big difference between being 16 and being 18/19/20”.

Jess also admitted personal experience had played a part in her writing - “University was probably the hardest three years of my life. The fact that Clique is a sole authored piece meant I could head into that space and fully explore it.”

At its heart “Clique is about being a young woman,” Jess told us. She argues the pressure students are under has only grown since her own university experience and, whilst university is a phase commonly associated with freedom, expectation and reality don’t always match up. For the main characters in Clique, being a young woman at university turns out nothing like expectation. “Clique also has a psychological thriller element, obviously entirely fictional. It was fun to take the intensity of my own experience and ramp it up six or seven notches into something more dangerous,” and as Jess asserted, “Clique goes to some pretty dark places...”

Edinburgh offers a unique and atmospheric setting for Clique as previous productions based in the city have shown. Whether that atmosphere turns out reminiscent of Burke and Hare (2010) or more so of Trainspotting (1996) remains to be seen.

On the whole though, at this early stage (filming begins in mid-September,) Clique looks immensely promising. Jess describes Edinburgh as “a city full of dichotomies – old and new, monied and not, tourist and local, beautiful and scary”. It’s this unique setting, twinned with what is likely to be gripping writing, as well as a BBC mark of quality, that make Clique an exciting prospect.

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