I'll jump in because I think this show deserves a bit more attention than it's getting, based on the first episode.
On the whole, I loved it. I think Sharon Rooney did a fantastic job of playing Rae. I love that Rae can be a stroppy, gobby madam but is also so insecure and tormented and just heartbreakingly vulnerable. I think there will be many people who could identify with some of the things Rae went through. I felt so sorry for the girl.
I like that, as shocking and gutwrenching as some of the drama is, it has the humour and warmth to balance it out. I was a teenager in the late 90's and so I loved the soundtrack and the clothes - big nostalgia points.
I suspect that there are three things that may have put some viewers off:
1. The adverts. They made it seem a bit too gratingly kooky. I wasn't sure how I'd feel based on the adverts but reading about the story behind the show made me want to watch.
2. "Skins" this seems to have become a term to describe a particular brand of humour involving hipster kids up to various misdeeds. Many people seem to use it in a derogative sense and are put off where they think they see it.
3. That the main character is a "weird fat girl". Shallow and cruel, but a glance around Twitter tells me that's how some people think. Makes me think the show has even more of a place on TV for that.