Caroline Quentin: The X Factor sells a ‘fantasy’

Caroline Quentin has hit out at The X Factor for being ‘psychologically damaging’ and selling a ‘fantasy’.

The ex-Men Behaving Badly star, 51, said the show put a ‘huge amount of pressure on the contestants’ and most of them did not have the experience to cope with rejection.

Caroline revealed that her own 12-year-old daughter wanted to follow her into showbusiness, but said that she had warned her that the real world was nothing like the ITV1 show.

The actress told Equity magazine: “I’m really happy for her to do it, but, like many of us, she doesn’t like to put the hours in and I’ve said to her ‘unless you do, you will not get far’.

“She has to learn to sing, dance and read music – acquire the professional skills. My daughter has only known me since I’ve had work and I told her about the realities of working in the industry.

“Of course I love it, but she, like all younger people thinking of coming into the business, needs to know that it isn’t like The X Factor.”

Caroline said she had never forgotten that she was unemployed for large periods of time early in her career and that she had to sell ‘cheese dressed as a Dutch girl'” to make ends meet.

But she said of The X Factor, won last year by girl group Little Mix: “It sells the fantasy that you can sing for Simon Cowell and fame and fortune will immediately follow.

“There’s a huge amount of pressure on the contestants and there is more to life than sparkly frocks and power ballads.

“It focuses on the winners, but there are hundreds of people that are discarded by the process.”