Anthony "Tony" Stonem is a fictional character from the television series, Skins, and he is portrayed by Nicholas Hoult.
Tony seems to be every parent's dream: he is very handsome, one of the most popular boys in his town, does well in school, manages his time at home very efficiently, and many of the girls in town would give anything to date him. On the Skins website, in a MySpace-style "about me" section, he explains that his favourite philosopher is David Hume, his favourite medieval king is Charlemagne, his favourite Primal Scream album is Vanishing Point and that his favourite food is potatoes.
But there is a dark side to his personality. The flip side of Tony's charm and self-confidence is an arrogant belief in his own superiority, but no one seems to notice. Teachers, friends' parents, schoolmates and girls all idolise him, despite his sociopathic tendencies — the cruel games he plays with his family and friends, in particular, those closest to him, his girlfriend Michelle Richardson and best friend Sid Jenkins. Only those closest to him come to realise his true nature, and then only after they have suffered repeated schemes (with the exception of Effy). In "Sid", he displays his love for "control and manipulation" and fondness for the unpredictability of the universe, comparing the lives of those around to him to the functions of subatomic particles.
In the Unseen Skins episode "The Cat and the Duck," his girlfriend Michelle characterises Tony as like ice, "cold and transparent." It is unknown exactly what caused Tony to be the way he is. His parents are very loving (with the exception of his father's occasional tirades), he gets whatever he wants, and many people appreciate and love him.
Tony's sexual encounters are vast. In "Michelle", Jal Fazer is able to recall a long list of his conquests. Michelle later puts to Abigail Stock that he "fucks everyone... including boys." In "Anwar and Maxxie," Tony attempts an oral tryst with his gay friend Maxxie. It is unknown if he is truly bisexual, as he says that he simply wants "to try something new," and that he never showed sexual interest in any other men before or after Maxxie. In a psychology lesson, he equates sex with power and his lust for both is portrayed in his presentation (although this is, once again, intended to spite Michelle).
Tony is a fundamentally goodhearted person, and when he has been shown that he has gone too far, will make total amends. The one person who seems to understand this about him at the beginning of the series is Effy, whom he never manipulates (because she would see through the schemes, and because she loves him for who he is). He is much more reliant on his friends than anybody initially realises and expresses considerable dismay before and after his accident when he is left alone.
Tony's reading habits give insight into his personality. In "Tony", the book he reads in the bathroom is La Nausée by Jean-Paul Sartre, a novel about existentialism and defining oneself. In "Sid", he is shown reading Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, a book which challenges existing moral values. In "Maxxie and Anwar" he reads Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, a book about a young girl struggling with her homosexuality. In the "Tony" episode of series 2, he is seen reading Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged", while sitting on the train.
In "Tony", he attempts to help his best friend Sid to lose his virginity before turning 17 for fear of being associated with a perceived loser. After momentarily suggesting Sid may lose it to Michelle (whom he knows Sid has loved for some time), he later reveals he was referring to Cassie Ainsworth when Michelle enters and begins kissing him. He orders Sid to acquire some weed from local drug dealer Madison Twatter so that they can make some money and get Cassie in the right mood. Unfortunately, none of his friends initially will come except Sid and Michelle. Instead, he gets them an invitation to a posh- kids' party while clandestinely auditioning for the choir at an all-girls' college. The party proves far too supervised and uppity for his, Sid's or Michelle's taste (they have to remove their shoes, the strongest beverage is rum-punch, etc.), and he and Michelle eventually liven it up with some seductive dancing, while Sid hangs out with Cassie.
When Maxxie, Chris and Anwar show up in the early hours, their rambunctiousness quickly escalates the party into a brawl; simultaneously, Sid reappears with Cassie, who is unconscious from a pill overdose. Tony and the gang steal a car, but by the time he reaches the hospital Cassie has recovered. They drive down to the waterfront so Anwar can stop for a piss; while Tony is looking for skins for joints, he accidentally releases the brake, and the car rolls into the canal. The group manages to make it to the surface and subsequently walk home, but Sid is in trouble as three ounces of weed went down with the car. Tony continues to tease his best friend about still being a virgin. In "Chris" he spends most of the night in Chris's bedroom, having sex with Michelle. When it becomes clear that Mrs Miles has left, he does show some concern for Chris. Tony also begins a flirtatious relationship with local rich girl Abigail (the host of the party in "Tony"), which develops in "Jal" when he is spotted kissing her by Jal.
In "Sid" he uses Abigail to break up with Michelle, only to get back with her in an attempt to emotionally damage Sid and Michelle; he had tricked Sid into thinking he had a chance to get together with her now that they had split. Sid begins to recognise Tony's constant manipulation of him by the end of the episode; when Tony calls him to apologise in an arrogant fashion, Sid hangs up and finishes his entire history dissertation- which he had been procrastinating on yet again- in one night.
All the same, In "Maxxie and Anwar", on a school trip to Russia, Sid is once again persuaded by Tony to carry out a humiliating and dangerous task- smuggling drugs via his rectum. None in the group is able to gain access to them, as Sid is constipated for most of the trip. During the trip, Tony aggressively and persistently tries to perform oral sex on his gay friend Maxxie, supposedly because he wants to 'try something new', only to find he is bad at it. Michelle oversees this and is shocked, and believing he could be in the closet, probes him to reveal any secrets he may be carrying.
In "Michelle", the episode starts with Michelle watching him as he continues to behave flirtatiously around Maxxie. Enraged, Michelle walks over to the group, punches and knees Tony, and subsequently dumps him for failing to tell her about his encounter with Maxxie. Her determination to end their relationship increases when she learns of his various other affairs from Jal, especially the one with Abigail Stock. Subsequently, Tony spends the night throwing stones at Michelle's window and trying to woo her back with poetry; when Sid shows up and suggests he stop hurting people simply because he's bored, Tony rebuffs him, confident that Michelle will come round, and resumes his serenade. Unexpectedly, Sid punches him hard enough to knock him down and leaves, shocking Tony enough to leave as well. He is later slapped by another a girl in psychology lesson as punishment for some previous incident. He hurts Michelle again by beginning a sarcastic presentation on "The Role of Sex and Power," causing her to storm out of the room in tears. Maxxie, wracked with guilt over his friends' breakup, takes the blame for what has been happening, but the rest of the group- and Angie- clearly blame Tony instead, and begin to distance themselves from them. After Michelle starts a relationship with Abigail's brother, Josh, Tony then schemes to get her back. He takes sexual pictures of Abigail, and then transmits them to Josh's phone, from where he sends them to Michelle in order to make him think he's as crazy as his sister. Tony attempts a reconciliation, but she still turns him down, unconvinced that he has changed his ways.
In "Effy", Tony comes to terms with the destructive nature of his machinations. After making fun of his father at his birthday dinner and watching his sister disappear on one of her nighttime outings, he calls several of his friends. Given cold- shoulder treatment by all of them and too proud to admit how much this bothers him, he wanders through Bristol, until he gets a call that his sister, Effy Stonem, has been arrested. By the time he arrives, the guards tell him that her brother has already gotten her out; he sees her getting into a van, but is beaten and knocked to the ground by figures in black before he can reach her.
He enlists Sid to help him find her after being sent a cryptic message on his phone; Sid's initial reluctance boils over to anger after Tony reveals his role in breaking up Michelle and Josh Stock, and after a heated argument in which each derides the other's flaws, Sid leaves Tony behind at the rendezvous. He is soon picked up and taken by moped to the rich kids' club where Effy has supposedly gone. After calling Michelle- simply because he needed someone to explain his circumstances to- he enters the club, where he finds Josh waiting for him with several of his cronies and the drugged Effy. After they strip and beat him, he is given a terrible proposition: he must have sex with his unconscious sister if he wants her back from her captors. This scares him to tears, enough for Josh to tell him his lesson has been learned and let him and Effy go; once he gets outside, Sid arrives and drives them to the hospital. His friendship with Sid is reaffirmed as Sid was the only one there for him in his crisis; however, despite Sid verbally defending him, his parents hold him responsible for Effy's incident. Tony, revealing to Sid that Effy is the only one who knows he is more than just a manipulator and loves him for who he is, resolves to change his ways.
Later, in the series finale, Tony has been calling Michelle repeatedly, trying to apologise sincerely and reconcile with her. He repays his debt to Sid by removing him from a mental institution and taking Sid to find Cassie. After leaving Sid at Anwar's party, he and his sister wait outside in Mr Jenkins' car. Effy berates him for ruining his relationship with Michelle; as he argues with her, he notices Cassie across the street in the mirror and goes to give her Sid's love letter. He then tries to call Michelle, but loses her signal, resorting to standing in the middle of the road to get the signal back. He confesses to Michelle that he really does love her, but is cut short when he is hit by a bus. Michelle is left staring at her phone as, elsewhere, Effy holds his bleeding body in shock, and the episode ends with Tony's status unclear.
The Lost Weeks
It is revealed in Sid's "Lost Weeks" video that Tony has been left in a coma following the accident. This is followed by Tony's video, in which he awakes from his coma while listening to a tape of the gang telling rude and shocking stories to try to shock him into consciousness.
In "Tony and Maxxie", the first episode of series 2, Tony is shown to be physically and mentally changed by his accident, after suffering from a subdural hematoma. He has shown to have lost most of his characteristic wit and confidence that was present in series 1. In a conversation with Maxxie's mum, he states that "I'm stupid now" and on a bus, he holds Maxxie's hand for security after a bus drives past. Having lost the ability to write among other disabilities, he finally manages to scribble his name by "dancing" his way through, with guidance from Maxxie.
In "Sketch", Tony starts to show visible signs of his previous affection for Michelle, but the consequences of his accident keep the relationship from working. Their brief sexual encounter reveals to Tony and the audience, that he has been rendered impotent as a result of the accident. Later on - he actively searches for her after the school play when Michelle does not appear as a result of Sketch having poisoned her. He tells Michelle that he thinks said he loved her the night of his accident, but whether or not he is telling the truth is left ambiguous.
In "Sid," Tony is seen to have improved but his motor skills are limited and speech is sometimes jumbled. At the end of the episode, he successfully learns how to hold a cigarette. He helps Sid come to terms with his father's death, even by shutting his eyelids. The pair embarks on an emotional embrace in a club, which symbolises their shattered friendship and the pain the two are both suffering.
In "Michelle", Michelle perseveres with Tony and attempts to seduce him despite the protests of Mrs Stonem, Tony's mother. Michelle's attempts fail with Tony still showing visible sexual difficulty, Michelle gets upset that Tony is still not 'better for her' - and leaves, stressing that she needs more time. Tony decides not to accompany the rest of the group on Michelle's birthday holiday but still gets her a present. After Michelle has had sex with Sid on the beach she finds that the birthday present is her watch that he was wearing at the time of his accident, with a note from Tony reading 'You said you needed some time'.
In "Chris", Tony has started learning to swim again. He is seen in the pool with his father with a beginner's swimming group. He speaks to Chris Miles afterwards proclaiming that he will 'Get everything back again' and that's including Michelle - and shows visible disgust when finding out Sid and Michelle have become a couple.
In "Tony", Tony is shown attempting to return to his own lifestyle, which translates into going to clubs and taking drugs. After Cassie gives Tony an ecstasy pill, Tony confronts Sid and Michelle (who are now in a full-blown sexual relationship) expressing his sarcasm at how happy he is for them. Straight after this - he begins to react badly from the drugs and has a panic attack in the toilets. A mysterious girl approaches him and reveals details about Tony's life despite her being a stranger. On the train ride up to a university open day - Tony is approached by a man, who has visible horrific burns. The man tells Tony the story of how he came to be disfigured. Tony attends an open day at a university where he is a group interview with the same (now unscathed) man he met on the train.
The mysterious girl is also at the meeting and verbally attacks the head of the university. After being ejected from the interview, Tony and the girl embark on many misdemeanours throughout the course of the day. It slowly becomes apparent to the viewer that the girl may be a figment of Tony's imagination - for example when the girl encourages (and successfully teaches) Tony how to swim, he is found alone in the pool. When interrogated about why he was in the pool, and Tony tries to explain about the girl, he is instructed to "not go with her."
Tony meets two promiscuous flatmates with the girl, who give the girl a tattoo. Tony and the girl consummate, and Tony regains his sexual libido. At the end of the episode, Tony is shown to have regained the majority of his intelligence and confidence. He then goes to tell Sid and Michelle that he loves them both and announces his disapproval of their sexual relationship. In its closing scenes, the tattoo that the girl had marked on her back is seen on Tony's, the implication being that the girl had been a creation of Tony's subconscious, ergo the manifestation of his animus or inner nature.
In the final episode, Tony receives better grades than all his friends in A-Levels; 3 A's and a B. He also helps Sid steal Chris' coffin and later return it. Tony is also heading to Cardiff University and says an emotional goodbye to Sid who is leaving to find Cassie in New York. At the end of the episode, Tony and Michelle discuss their relationship and it is unlikely that they will continue it through university.
Effy has now moved into Tony's room and has given his signature duvet to Oxfam. Katie also mentions Tony and his popularity in one of her first conversations with Effy saying "Didn't you have a brother who was really cool and went mental, my friends fancied him". In Effy's video diary (which takes place after the events of her episode), Effy pleads with Tony for help, also asking him not to shout at her again. She also pleads with him not to "do anything" to Cook, suggesting Tony has made threats.
In "Freddie", Effy has made a collage on the wall, reflecting her deteriorating mind. The collage includes a photo of Tony.
During the events of "Effy", Tony's accident from "Series Finale" (episode 1.09) is heavily referenced. Effy, in her sessions with Dr Foster, is forced to talk about it and how it affected her. Effy discusses it and seems to be much more permanently affected by it then she let on when she was younger. During one of their sessions, Foster tells her to imagine the event, but pretend Tony was never hit by a bus.
Unknown to Effy, Foster is subtly making her forget "bad memories" but also forgetting the people she loved, due to his unnatural obsession with her. When she is walking with Cook (due to her treatment, she can't remember who he is), they reach the street where Tony was hit. She begins experiencing déjà vu, and her memories of the accident start to come back. She begins to freak out, not knowing if the accident did or didn't happen and feeling like her mind is in shambles. She runs off in a panic, once she remembers that the accident did happen.
Tony was one of the original character's out of Jamie Brittain's original concept for the show. Michelle (named Annie in his novel), Sid and Tony were the characters in Brittain's novel he wrote as a teenager but never finished. Jamie Brittain has said that while his original storyline wasn't strong enough, he believed the characters were strong enough to carry in a television series.
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