‘Clique’, a new series from ‘Skins’ writer Jess Brittain, starts on BBC3 this Sunday. It’s set in the first few weeks of term at Edinburgh University, as lifelong friends Holly (Synnove Karlsen) and Georgia (Aisling Franciosi) study, party and play drinking games. They’ve been friends ‘forever’, they live in adjoining dorm rooms and take the same courses.
But they begin to drift apart when Georgia is inducted into a shady group of girls, members of a prestigious intern programme. Known as the ‘Solasta Women’s Initiative’, it’s led by Professor Jude McDermid (‘Sherlock’ star Louise Brealey) who makes her appearance lecturing about the pay gap and inequality in the work place.
The girl group are glamorous, with an imposing townhouse and a driver. Georgia throws herself into their way of life, but alarm bells ring for Holly when unsettling things start happening, and soon their relationship is unrecognisable.
It’s evocative of tricky power struggles in female friendship, feelings of being left out. But this is much more than realising everyone is hanging out without you on when you see their selfies on Instagram. This clique is hiding something.
Like ‘Skins’, ‘Clique’ isn’t afraid of sex, drugs or tricky subject matter. It touches on competition, class and status, on exploitation and the pressure to succeed, and on the financial hardships faced by students. It’s a dark and unsettling thriller.
And I can’t tell you anything more about it, but there’s one hell of an ending to episode one.
‘Clique’ is available to stream on BBC3 from March 5.