What Is ‘Age Before Beauty’ About?
The BBC’s new drama ‘Age Before Beauty’ is billed as an “exploration of youth, age, instant gratification and long-term relationships”, which is set against the beauty industry.
The series centres on Bel Finch, a homemaker and mum of two, who is left wondering what to do with her life when her two children flee the nest for university.
She is soon roped in to help with the family business - a beauty salon in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, where her mother Ivy-Rae, sisters Leanne, Tina and Heidi all work.
But as with all families who work together, there’s plenty of rivalries, tensions and disagreements...
Why Should I Watch It?
Cast your mind back to 2004, and you may just remember a BBC drama called ‘Cutting It’, which starred Amanda Holden and Sarah Parrish as two rival hair salon owners in Manchester.
Written by Debbie Horsfield, it was a huge hit for the BBC, and she has returned now to the familiar backdrop of salons for ‘Age Before Beauty’.
“The anti-ageing side of the beauty industry had exploded in those intervening years so we thought it would be interesting to explore the impact on three generations of one family by using it as the backdrop to our saga,” Debbie explains.
“It explores the expectations we have, and the ‘rules’ we create about what people are ‘allowed’ to do at any given age.”
Who Is In The Cast?
Polly Walker as Isobel ‘Bel’ Finch
After her kids leave for uni, Bel re-evaluates her life and begins working at the family beauty salon. She has a happy 25-year marriage to Wesley, but faces crisis when she find he has betrayed her, leaving her feeling insecure and totally rejected. But then she sets out on a voyage of self discovery.
Where have you seen Polly before?
You’ll probably recognise her best from her role as Francesca Miller in the BBC’s crime drama ‘Prisoners Wives’, as well as parts in ‘Mr Selfridge’ and US drama ‘Rome’, which won her an Golden Globe nomination in 2006.
James Murray as Wesley Finch
Wes is a family man with a big heart, but makes a catastrophic mistake which changes his marriage to Bel forever. Its disastrous consequences will snowball, and we will see him try to escape the massive hole he has dug himself.
Where have you seen James before?
James is best known for his role in ‘Cutting It’, in which he starred with now-wife Sarah Parrish.
Robson Green as Teddy Roxton
Teddy is Bel’s brother-in-law and long-time best friend, who begs her to step in and rescue the family business. However, there is an undercurrent of something deeply uncomfortable about him, and viewers will soon see his real character begin to show.
Where have you seen Robson before?
Robson has been a TV staple since rising to fame as Dave Tucker in ‘Soldier Soldier’ in 1991. As well as starring in the likes of ‘Granchester’, ‘Wire In The Blood’ and ‘Northern Lights’, he’s also filmed several documentary series about fishing for Channel 5.
Kelly Harrison as Leanne Roxton
Kelly is one of Bel’s sisters and the wife of Teddy, who is described as being larger-than-life. She doesn’t have a particularly relationship with Bel and is bitter and jealous of her eldest sibling. She also doesn’t realise the web of deceit that is being weaved by Teddy.
Where have you seen Kelly before?
Kelly played paramedic Nikki Marshall in ‘Casualty’ and also appeared in ‘Happy Valley’ and ‘The End Of The F***ing World’ on Netflix.
Sue Johnston as Ivy-Rae Regan
Ivy-Rae is the matriarch of the Regan family, who is a liberal free-spirit who does not bow down to age conventions. Prior to her husband ending up in a wheelchair, the couple were swingers, and she now continues to be very active in that scene. However, she is still deeply maternal, and heavily involves herself in the lives of her daughters.
Where have you seen Sue before?
That should be where haven’t you seen Sue before, really. From ‘Brookside’ to ‘The Royle Family’ to ‘Waking The Dead’ and ‘Coronation Street’, there are so many great shows in which she has appeared.
Lisa Riley as Tina Regan
Tina is a tomboy tattoo artist who acts as the family’s secret keeper, and equally, nothing gets past her. But she also has a wonderful and shocking secret which is set to be revealed.
Where have you seen Lisa before?
If you’re a soap fan, you’ll remember Lisa as Mandy Dingle in ‘Emmerdale’, but these days she’s best known for being a member of the ‘Loose Women’ panel.
Vicky Myers as Heidi Regan
Heidi is the youngest of the four Regan sisters. She is a single mum who believes her Prince Charming will one day come and sweep her off her feet. And with her daughter’s name being Disney, you can kind of imagine what kind of character she is.
Where have you seen Vicky before?
She played Selena Callaway in TV miniseries ‘The Five’ in 2016, and also had two one-episode roles in ‘Coronation Street’ as a driver and a paramedic.
Madeleine Mantock is Lorelei
Fun-loving personal trainer Lorelei strikes up a relationship with Bel’s husband Wes when he visits her home to fix her kitchen.
Where have you seen Madeline before?
Madeline has been in entertainment news headlines of late, as she is one of the lead stars in the controversial new ‘Charmed’ reboot. She also played Scarlett Conway on ‘Casualty’ for two years.
When Does It Start?
The six-part series kicks off on Tuesday 31 July at 9pm on BBC One.