BBC Three has announced the arrival of a new online six-episode “thriller” series, Clique, which is set at The University of Edinburgh and closely related to Skins, but in a new setting.
Clique was created by Jess Brittain, who was on the Skins writing team and is the daughter and sister of Skins co-creators, Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain. The show is likely to retain a very similar feel.
Writers Milly Thomas and Kirstie Swain have been working with Brittain on the show, which Brittain recalled to The Student: “gave me the chance to lead an all-female Writers Room – something I’ve never had a chance to be a part of before in this industry, because it doesn’t happen! Its been really fun.”
Clique was announced as part of BBC Three‘s recent switch to online-only content, a move which BBC news stated will retain their target audience of 16-24 year-olds.
The move addresses what is seen is a gap in television content focused on university aged youth. Clique has the potential to address this gap, its creators said, focussing on a difficult and confusing stage of life.
The show centres around two best friends, Holly and Georgia, who have just started their first year at the University of Edinburgh after having been inseparable all through school. They meet an elite clique of girls, headed by a fierce, eccentric female lecturer. This clique is ambitious, together, impressive and completely alluring.
When one friend starts to gain access to their world and the other doesn’t, Holly and Georgia are forced to realise that their friendship might not be as resilient as they thought.
Clique has been described as a thriller. When asked by The Student about its classification as such, Brittain said: “Lets just say the clique will lead our protagonists to encounter more than the Students Union and the library. Edinburgh’s got many dark corners.”
The Student asked Brittain why she created Clique, what challenges she came across while writing, and what the show was about.
“The impetus behind Clique came from…my own experience at uni,” Brittain said.
“I went to Leeds and found it a really discombobulating and weird time,” she said. “There was quite a lot of pressure to be having ‘the best years of my life’ but I mostly found myself a little lost. I was unsure of what I was doing and, for the first time, wasn’t really fitting into a group of girls. I wanted to see what would happen if that dynamic was ramped up a few notches.”
She continued: “nowadays I think students are under a lot of pressure to immediately get their stuff together, decide what they’re doing, get an internship, get a graduate scheme etc.
“It’s kind of put on you that if you’re in any way ambitious, you better have your ducks in a row. Its a hard thing to have over you when you’re only just starting to figure out what you might want for yourself.”
Edinburgh wasn’t a random choice of setting for Brittain. She discussed with The Student how she had always been enamored with Edinburgh’s unique vibe. Her connections run deep as she has family in the area and much of her childhood was spent in the city.
However, television production isn’t always smooth sailing. “Its always hard to make people trust in a self-authored show when you are relatively young and inexperienced”, recalled Brittain.
“Luckily we came across some amazing people who were willing to take a bit of a risk.”
When talking with The Student about her inspiration for her characters, Brittain said: “There’s always an element of stealing from life in my characters. Clique started from a very personal place for me. But the exciting part of the development process is when the characters start to just become wholly themselves and nothing like the person who sparked the idea of them. They do start to take on lives of their own.”
Although the show has been associated with Skins, Brittain said: “Its a brand new project. But I learnt the tools of my trade in the Skins Writers Room – it definitely formed the basis of how I try to tell stories.”
Image credit: kaysgeog