4 May 2020 | ella-48
Not "a comedy" - so much more than that!
For reasons that baffle me, in the UK this has been promoted by the BBC as a "comedy series" - go figure! OK, there are some wryly comic moments, but make no mistake: this is drama, folks. When I saw the pilot of "In My Skin" back in 2018 I was blown away, and kept my fingers crossed that a full series would be commissioned. Happily it has, and the result completely fulfils my hopes.
"In My Skin" is the tale of a talented 16 year-old Welsh schoolgirl called Bethan Gwyndaf. Bethan has a secret: everything.
Her home life is far from ideal - VERY far - to the point that she feels she needs to hide it from everyone she knows. Fortunately, Bethan is a very accomplished liar: for years, she has had even her closest schoolfriends believing the wildest "facts" about her lifestyle and background.
Maintaining such a massive construct of lies is hard work though: Bethan lives every day on a knife edge, only ever one wrong word away from exposure, and over time, the stress of keeping all her fictional plates spinning - of maintaining her facade while trying to cope with an increasingly chaotic domestic situation - gets steadily harder to bear.
Long story short: it's superb. Its depiction of the callous bear-pit of school life is so accurately drawn that, as a one-time victim of persistent playground bullying myself, there were moments I found difficult to watch. It's worth it, though: the writing is spot-on and performances are excellent across the board. Especial mention must go to Jo Hartley, who plays Beth's mother - a very challenging role.
The majority of the cast are faces new to me and little known outside Wales. However, one actor may ring a bell with anyone who's seen "Detectorists": the horrendously overbearing P.E. teacher (a darkly comedic ogre of a part) is played by Laura Checkley, whom you might remember as Louise.
I understand that "In My Skin" is about to be screened in the USA on Hulu. A note for American viewers: you might need to switch on the subtitles! Many scenes involve Welsh teenagers talking rapidly in slang, and without a little onscreen help there may be quite a few moments when you're left wondering what the hell is being said. I grew up near Wales, but even I struggled at times!