Skins US version branded 'dangerous' by parents' group


Sofia Black-D'Elia (Tea) and James Newman (Tony)

The MTV US version of hit UK teen drama Skins has caused controversy after a parents' group branded it "dangerous".

The Parents Television Council (PTC) said the show could be breaking US laws against sexual exploitation of minors.

The group also claimed Skins may break child porn laws - and has asked the US government to investigate.

In a statement, MTV said it reviews all its shows "to ensure they comply with laws and community standards".

'Most dangerous'

The MTV statement added that Skins, which premiered on 17 January, "addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way".

The row focuses on the fact that some of the actors in the series are 16 and 17 years old.

Critics say putting them in sexual or nude scenes may encourage paedophiles and child porn.

The PTC even called Skins "the most dangerous television show for children that we have ever seen".

Meanwhile US fast food chain Taco Bell scrapped an advertising campaign which was due to run during the show, after heavy criticism from the PTC.

Extra viewers

But the row hasn't done any harm to the ratings, with the first episode drawing 3.3 million viewers - 1.2 million of them under 18.

Those figures are a good start, but Skins still has a long way to go to catch Jersey Shore.

The hit reality show racks up more than 8 million viewers and is now on its third series.

Reports here in the US say MTV execs have now ordered the show's producers to tone down some of the most explicit content.

But as the row continues, neutrals here are agreed on one thing: the publicity won't stop Skins grabbing extra viewers, especially from their target teen audience.

Follow Radio 1's US reporter Sima Kotecha on Twitter