Clique: the new Skins? INTERVIEW

Clique is an upcoming BBC drama set around Edinburgh University and written by Jess Brittain. Brittain was part of the writing team for Skins and as a result many have come to see Clique as the spiritual successor to the popular and long running series. 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. At first glance Clique looks promising and well worth further examination, so Maverick Film spoke to writer Jess Brittain to get the low-down…

Skinss

“I learnt my trade in the Skins writers’ room,” Jess told us, acknowledging the inevitable comparison between the two series’. “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 noted how important personal experience was in influencing the Subject Matter- “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”. An element of personal experience, however small, is sure to bring some authenticity to the series and offer a level of grit to its plot.

Clique is about being a young woman…”

Early outlines suggest that Clique will follow a group of young female students who become embroiled in an initially appealing but ultimately seedy and dangerous group of rich Edinburgh businessmen. This suggests the series will explore themes such as exploitation, money difficulties in student life and the vulnerability that comes with inexperience.

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, while 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.png
Edinburgh offers some amazing opportunities for atmospheric and visually appealing filming. 

As far as Clique’s setting is concerned Edinburgh offers a unique atmosphere, the city’s in places ‘old world’ feel sets it apart from a lot of British cities and provides (as other productions filmed in the city have shown,) immense potential for the stylised creation of atmosphere. Whether that atmosphere turns out reminiscent 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.

By George Storr

For more on Clique, TV and Film, take a look at Maverick Film on Facebook.

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