Tuesday 17 September 2019

Age Before Beauty stars criticise Love Island for body image messages

Robson Green, Polly Walker, Sue Johnston and Lisa Riley voiced concerns about the show’s young audience.

Lisa Riley and her Age Before Beauty co-stars have criticised reality show Love Island (Ian West/PA)
Lisa Riley and her Age Before Beauty co-stars have criticised reality show Love Island (Ian West/PA)

By Andrew Arthur, Press Association Entertainment Reporter

The stars of BBC drama series Age Before Beauty Robson Green, Polly Walker, Sue Johnston and Lisa Riley have criticised programmes such as Love Island for promoting unrealistic beauty expectations and plastic surgery among younger people.

The trio were speaking ahead of their new show about a family-owned Manchester beauty salon, which was penned by Poldark screenwriter Debbie Horsfield.

When the cast were asked during a Q&A session for their opinions on modern society’s attitude on beauty and ageing, Green, 53, said he was worried about the message the contestants on the ITV2 reality show sent out to their younger viewers.

Speaking about the pressures on actors to look good Green said: “In this game and telling this story you do have to stay healthy and try and look your best.

“Love Island’s in your face and you look at them girls – very young girls have had stuff done to their face.

“But the guys, you go ‘wow – you look amazing’, and they do – they all look like they’re photoshopped, and then you go – ‘yeah, but you’re mentally and emotionally unstable’.

“You really are, and that show to me – like most shows like that – are about people who aren’t coping with distress, and that’s the umbrella for those pieces.”

Walker, 52, added that she thought Age Before Beauty was tackling an important issue and sends out a positive message about ageing.

She said: “I personally am terrified of not ageing but going the other way – of having to have plastic surgery, of having to be something that I’m not.

“I’m a 51-year-old woman, I can’t pretend to be who I was at 24 and I have so much, like so many women, so much to bring to the table and a wealth of experience.

“So yeah – Love Island; my kids are addicted to it, I walk through and I’m just like perplexed and horrified. I won’t have a facelift, sorry. You’ve got to look at my face like it is.”

Former Emmerdale star Riley, who revealed this year that she lost 12 stone over a period of 18 months, said that she was worried that shows such as Love Island risked being “treacherous” to young people over body image.

She said: “You know, if you’re 18 and someone’s saying to you, ‘go and get your eyes done’, it’s absolutely abhorrent. It is a fear for the next generation and I feel that massively.”

Johnston added: “To see young girls in their twenties with their lips pumped up actually hurts me.

“I think what will they do when they get to my age? Will they get there, you know? It’s this strange look, the way they must be looking at their faces – it’s desperate and it’s so upsetting.”

Age Before Beauty starts on BBC One on Tuesday, July 31.

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