Age Before Beauty – BBC1

A strong ensemble cast including Sue Johnston, Polly Walker, Robson Green, Kelly Harrison and Lisa Riley star in a new BBC1 drama set in a beauty salon

This glossy family saga set in a Manchester beauty salon is a welcome breath of fresh air.

Written by Debbie Horsfield (Cutting It, Poldark), it follows mum-of-two Bel (Mr Selfridge’s Polly Walker), who’s persuaded by brother-in-law and best mate Teddy (Robson Green) to return to the failing family business, MirrorBel Beauty Salon.

‘Bel’s the heart of the piece,’ says Polly, who starred in Prisoners Wives and Line of Duty. ‘Bel has a fervent sense of loyalty, so agrees to return temporarily. It’s fine, until something completely rocks her world…’

‘This drama offers a lot,’ continues Polly, 52. ‘It’s about not throwing away relationships – just because they are comfortable is not to say they are without value.

‘It also carries the vital message that the outside doesn’t really matter, it’s what is inside that is important, ’ she adds.

As she tries to reverse its fortunes, poor Bel must also deal with sibling rivalries among her three sisters (Kelly Harrison, Lisa Riley and Vicky Myers), their razor-sharp mum (Sue Johnston), and problems with husband Wes (James Murray).

Age Before Beauty

Picture Shows: (L-R) Chizzler, Ive-Rae, Dant, Lorelei, Wesley, Bel, Leanne, Teddy, Tina, Disney and Heidi

‘I’ve always played maternal women and Ivy-Rae is completely different,’ says The Royle Family legend Sue.

‘She is ambivalent towards her four daughters and is more interested in her life than theirs. They call her Razor because she’s sharp and tough.’

Age Before Beauty - Sue Johnston

Sue Johnston as matriarch Ivy-Rae

With instantly engaging characters and a 
fast-paced script, book your appointment now!

TV Times rating: *****