May 6, 2023 5.00 pm This story is over 10 months old

The Lincoln TV producer who has worked across the globe

She has worked with stars including Richard Griffiths and Zoë Wanamaker

You may not have heard of Lincoln-born producer Chrissy Skinns, but you’ve almost certainly heard of the hit shows she has worked on.

Her work sees her become a “boss, manager, nurse, and mum” on the set of popular productions including The Last Kingdom.

Chrissy has worked for the major independent companies and broadcasters as a freelance producer on a wide variety of drama productions, including BAFTA nominated Psychos for Kudos/Channel 4, the RTS nominated The Rotters’ Club and Lilies for World Productions/BBC.

Her impressive CV also includes the popular television show The Last Kingdom, Love Hurts, Pie in the Sky, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Jeffrey Archer: The Truth, and most recently, A Spy Among Friends.

The Lincoln-born producer has worked around the UK in locations including London, Liverpool, and Glasgow, as well as in Europe in Hungary, Romania, France, and Russia, and further afield in America, Kenya, and Dominican Republic.

Chrissy’s early career

After enjoying her childhood in Lincoln’s Hartshome and Birchwood areas, Chrissy went to university in Oxford to study English, French, and Anthropology.

Chrissy knew she wanted to work in the arts, but wasn’t sure at that point in exactly what role.

She got a job at Haymarket publishers selling advertising space before doing a post-grad secretarial course, which she said “in hindsight has proved very useful”. She then worked as a secretary at the Arts Council.

Chrissy then landed a job as a production assistant for the BBC, working mainly on drama in the plays department, and from there her career has grown from strength to strength.

“I was basically the secretary to the director and it was a great way to find out how the floor and set worked,” she said.

Producer Chrissy Skinns has worked with a host of well-known names on screen and behind the scenes.

Chrissy said she “worked for such luminaries as Richard Eyre, David Hare and Innes Lloyd” before realising she was missing the more literary side and wanted to be a script editor.

She left the BBC to work for Alomo and Select TV. She worked on BBC 1’s Love Hurts starring Zoë Wanamaker and Adam Faith, which was written by the award-winning duo of Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran.

She then went to work as a trainee producer on four series of police comedy drama Pie in the Sky starring Richard Griffiths who she said was a “great actor to work with and he helped me a lot.”

During this time a producer left his role on the show and Chrissy stepped up for a “baptism of fire” working alongside executive producer Allan McKeown and the writer Andrew Payne.

Rutger Hauer, Bernard Cornwell, Nigel Marchant, Gareth Neame, Chrissy Skinns, Rune Temte, Nick Murphy, David Dawson, Emily Cox, and Alexander Dreymon at an event for The Last Kingdom in 2015. | Photo: IMDB/farfarawaysite.com

The Last Kingdom

In March 2014 Chrissy began working for Carnival Film & Television for BBC 2 on The Last Kingdom, before the show later moved to Netflix. The drama is based on the Bernard Cornwell novels about the Viking Invasion of Saxon England.

Chrissy loved working one the first series and said: “When you are away all that time you become closer with people. It becomes a great family and I enjoyed working out in Hungary. It started on a lower budget and became such a huge success.”

She then moved on to work for Mainstreet Pictures for ITV1 for a drama called HIM, a contemporary story of teenage angst and domestic horror, a breakthrough for actor Fionn Whitehead.

After a different producer left a role on The Last Kingdom, Chrissy was asked to return and she again worked alongside executive producers Gareth Neame and Nigel Marchant for the latter half of series two and for all of series three. She described the executive producers as “very supportive” and having a big impact on her.

The Last Kingdom also saw Chrissy work with Lincoln-born actress Eliza Butterworth who has also spoken to The Lincolnite about her career.

Chrissy said: “The part was small initially, but Eliza transformed herself into that part so we wrote more for her and the character became bigger than planned.

“She is a very good actress, very professional, and excellent on set. She’s also a great personality and has great energy. She is fun and enthusiastic and so lovely with all the other actors. I am very fond of her.

“I hardly meet anyone from our industry from Lincolnshire and meeting Eliza was really nice as I am really fond of Lincoln.

“Lincoln itself is a beautiful city and I feel proud to be from there. A great city to grow up in and I would love to film in Lincoln one day.”

Eliza isn’t the only Lincolnshire actor Chrissy has worked with as Scunthorpe-born Kevin Doyle appeared in shows including The Rotters’ Club.

Eliza is best known for playing the role of Queen Aelswith of Wessex in The Last Kingdom. | Photo: Eliza Butterworth

Career highlights

The Last Kingdom is just one of many career highlights for Chrissy.

She said Pie in the Sky (1993-1994) was “special to me and a lovely experience, and it was like a family”  and in 2019 she had the opportunity to work with “one of the greatest actresses” on BBC’s Elizabeth Is Missing starring Glenda Jackson.

Chrissy also loved working on shows like Secret Diary of a Call Girl in 2007 with Billie Piper and then, in recent years, on the six-part series of A Spy Among Friends for ITVX, which has been BAFTA nominated for best mini-series.

The show starred Damian Lewis, Guy Pearce, and Anna Maxwell Martin, and saw Chrissy work alongside director Nick Murphy and Executive Producer Patrick Spence.

“It is often the creative collaboration I really enjoy and that was definitely the case with A Spy Among Friends,” she said.

When Chrissy is working as a producer it involves everything from getting the team together, preparing episodes and post production to script editing, managing the budget, and also a maternal and enabler aspect.

She describes herself as a “boss, manager, nurse, and mum on set”.

She said: “It can be incredibly challenging and there is always something new I haven’t done before. It is different all the time, but I love that about it.

“I’m a problem-solver and I like doing cryptic crosswords, and it is almost a big extension of that.

“I’ve been doing it forever, I can’t quite believe it. I almost went into it accidentally and it has developed itself. It has been incredibly rewarding and I am quite proud.”

Chrissy on the large royal ‘hall’ set of The Last Kingdom with Chas Bain, the Director of Photography for series one, two, and three.

Some of her favourite actors to work with include Damian Lewis, Anna Maxwell Martin, Richard Griffiths and Glenda Jackson.

Chrissy also loves working with actors and actresses at the start of their careers, including Catherine Tyldesley, Kerri Hayes and Leanne Rowe in Lilies, and Fionn Whitehead in HIM, and then watching them flourish.

So what does the future hold for Chrissy?

She said she has just accepted a job for an independent company for a show that will go out on Sky, saying: “It is a challenging project set slightly in the future (but not science fiction) about government and power.”

“You don’t necessarily have to do a film or television course,” she said on advice to make it in the industry.

“You need to be prepared to start as a runner, get experience on the floor, film set, and make some contacts in the business.

“The most important thing is to get a lowly job and work your way up or getting a job at a post production house and getting to meet the people making the shows. It is a tricky industry.”


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