Age Before Beauty: Defying stereotypes

Age Before Beauty: Defying stereotypes

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon
By Laura FitzPatrick,
Thursday, 16th August 2018
Age Before Beauty (Credit: BBC/Matchlight Production/BBC)

RTS North West offered an early peek at Debbie Horsfield’s new drama, Age Before Beauty, at a sold-out event in late July.

The drama, which is made by Mainstream Pictures and stars Polly Walker, Robson Green, Sue Johnston and Lisa Riley, began its BBC One run on 31 July.

RTS North West hosted the preview of the six-part series at Salford’s Lowry Theatre with many of the cast in attendance – and this was followed by a Q&A with Horsfield, who was interviewed by BBC Radio 5 Live’s Anna Foster.

Age Before Beauty is set in a struggling, family-run beauty salon in Manchester’s fashionable Northern Quarter.

Horsfield, whose many successful dramas include Poldark and Cutting It, revealed that family dynamics are at the heart of Age Before Beauty, whose characters are constantly feuding. “I like to write about secrets and the hidden subterfuges in families,” she said.

The writer explained that setting the drama in a family business added another dimension to the drama: “The way families act in workplace settings presents a melting pot of ideas.

“It’s a great source of drama, end of.”

She continued: “I started by looking at how people do or don’t act their own age and who decides what is appropriate for particular age groups.

“What we see as Age Before Beauty continues is that none of the characters fall into their stereotype.”

Horsfield discussed her thinking behind the explosive opening of the drama in which the central character, Bel (Walker), discovers a secret on her husband's phone that has the potential to wreak havoc in the family.

“I wanted a grabbing opening to introduce the big cast and show how they all fit in,” she explained.

“We think we know all about the characters but it’s much more complicated, so the [non-linear] structure is about going back and showing how we got to that place.”

The first episode offers a glimpse into the complicated personalities of the drama's characters. “Getting old is not an option,” says one of the many strong female characters, Leanne, who epitomises 21st century glamour.

Kelly Harrison, who plays Leanne, said: “These characters are so layered and distinctive.”

And, it’s not just their personalities that are multi-layered. “We spent so much time on the makeup truck every morning,” she added.

You are here

RTS North West offered an early peek at Debbie Horsfield’s new drama, Age Before Beauty, at a sold-out event in late July.