Polly reveals a little about the tumultuous journey Bel goes on throughout this series:
Isabel (known as Bel) is 47 year old and married to Wesley.
Bel set up her beauty salon, MirrorBel, in her 20’s but hung up her beautician apron for good when she had kids eighteen years ago.
Mother to twins Lexie and Tyler, Bel is grounded and reliable, has an excellent business head, and is the sensible one in her crazy family.
Polly Walker on Bel
Polly Walker believes her role in Age Before Beauty is one that will strike a chord with women:
“Bel is the heart of the piece, she is strong, but she is also weak. Bel represents lots of women who have given up careers to look after children or families, and then due to circumstances she is forced to re-evaluate everything, including herself. It feels very apt for me, at my age, to be playing this part.”
“After taking her teenage children off to university, Bel begins a brand new life without being at the beck and call of everybody else. Initially, she feels a little lost but she is soon roped into helping out at her family beauty salon. As the most business-savvy member of her family, Bel was about to launch her own beauty product range but she gave it all up to raise her children, which she was happy to do. However, feeling her role of older sister strongly, Bel has a fervent sense of loyalty so she agrees to return to help out, temporarily.
“It is all fine until something happens that completely rocks Bel’s world. It is a momentous event in her life, to find out that the man she has loved and sacrificed things for has betrayed her. Up until this moment Bel and her husband, Wesley shared a good relationship. As far as she was concerned, she felt happy and they had settled into a routine after 20 years of being together. She trusted him with her life but she doesn’t recognise him anymore. So she rethinks everything.”
Wesley is 48 years old and married to Bel.
Ruggedly handsome, Wesley always sees the best in people. He has his own joinery business and is father to twins Lexie and Tyler.
James Murray on Wes
James tells us about his role, Wesley Finch, and what is in store for him in the series:
“Wes is a family man with a big heart who has reached the point in his life where his kids are grown up and off to university, his marriage isn’t stale but it is in need of a bit of a turbo charge, and instead of doing the right thing he does the wrong thing. Wes makes a calamitous mistake very early on in the series which leads to disastrous consequences and he snowballs from there.
One bad thing after another happens to him and it is about how he reacts and gets himself out of the huge hole he has dug for himself.”
Playing a leading role in a series that focuses on the ideas and ideals of self-image has meant James Murray has had to film some rather challenging scenes… in his underwear:
“There are a fair amount of scenes at the beginning where my character Wes is in his awful 1980’s Y-front underpants.
“When I read that I understood what he is trying to do – which is to portray how image conscious we all are – but then Wes isn’t looking in the mirror and thinking how beautiful he is, but rather thinking he has reached a stage in his life where he is out of shape and is not as healthy as he could be, which made me okay with parading around in my pants.”
40 years old, Leanne is married to Teddy.
Leanne is Bel’s youngest sister. She is loud, loves being the centre of attention and is completely self-obsessed. She has good ideas for the business, but has no idea how to execute them.
She specialises in nails. Leanne’s main aim in life is to be better than Bel.
Kelly Harrison on Leanne
Kelly admits she was instantly compelled by the out-there and audacious character of Leanne Roxton, and couldn’t wait to step into her shoes:
“From the moment I read Leanne I loved her and wanted to be her. She is fun, and sassy, she is bitchy, naughty and she couldn’t care less what anyone thinks about her. She opens her mouth before she thinks and she is extremely glamorous.
“However, while Leanne may be all bravado there is a huge amount of vulnerability to her, and as much as she says she doesn’t give a monkeys what people think, there is one person who’s opinion she secretly cares about a great deal. That’s Bel, her older sister and it is the fact that Bel barely thinks about her which makes Leanne incredibly jealous and bitter.”
Kelly explains what is in store through this series for her larger-than-life character, Leanne:
“At the beginning of the series Leanne invites her older sister, Bel, to return to the family-run beauty salon, which Bel used to run 20 odd years ago. However, as the series progresses her jealousy of Bel grows rapidly, because she feels like Bel walks into the salon and takes over her world.
“So Leanne attempts to create her own self as a brand, a beauty guru, but underneath all of that she doesn’t realise the web of deceit which is being weaved by someone very close to her. Leanne is oblivious to anything outside of her own bubble, which she has created to make herself look bigger and better and more loved than anybody else, because she hasn’t had much real love from anybody in her life. Leanne’s story is one of glitz and glamour but also one of pain and turmoil.”
48 year old Teddy is a charming, attractive, and successful businessman.
He’s a schemer and always has a plan to get what he wants.
Married to Leanne, he is tolerant of her insecurities concerning Bel, and is supportive of his wife’s ambitions to become an anti-ageing guru.
Robson Green on Teddy
Robson reveals all about his devious role:
“On the surface Teddy Roxton is a very good, caring, loving individual who you think has nothing but positive things to say about life, people and relationships – but everything isn’t quite as it seems and underneath there is an undercurrent of something deeply uncomfortable.
“As individuals we all have a side to us where we will do anything for certain emotions we are experiencing, and one of them is love – and love can send you in very strange directions. It can make you feel euphoric one moment and absolutely traumatised the next, it plays with your mind and your heart and to be reckless with people’s hearts is one of the most harmful things to do in life – yet we all have it in us, including Teddy.”
While his character is deceitful, Robson explains why he believes audiences may empathise with Teddy:
“The way Teddy behaves affects every single relationship in this story on a massive level, which is amazing to play. He is a pathological liar but his actions are routed in truth and circumstance and everything Teddy does in this series stems from an absolute devotion to love. What he does is so devious, but you understand why he does it, and there will be moments when you really care for him and even feel sorry for him because we have all experienced similar emotions. I hope the audience will squirm watching Teddy because so many people will identify with these situations.”
In her 60s, Ivy-Rae Regan is a fierce, lean, northern soul dancer.
Married to Chizzler, they have an open relationship.
Ivy-Rae has a ferocious sex drive and has various dalliances with different men, but always returns home to Chizzler.
Sue Johnston on Ivy-Rae
Sue takes on one of the boldest characters she has ever played:
“It was an adventure playing Ivy-Rae because she is completely different to the role I am usually cast as. Debbie Horsfield (writer) doesn’t bow down to age when it comes to Ivy-Rae; she goes dancing, she works and she runs around with men young enough to be her sons. She is brutally honest with those around her and if you don’t like it, that is tough.
“She doesn’t give a toss about what people think about her and there is a freedom in that. She also has this very upfront sex life, which you don’t see very often on television with women of my age. Most people are pretending it doesn’t happen but Ivy-Rae is very open about it. She is a dynamo.”
Sue talks about the interesting relationship her character has with her on-screen husband, Chizzler, played by Struan Rodger:
“Her husband introduced swinging into their relationship and Ivy-Rae went along with it but it soon all went wrong. He is now in a wheelchair and so is no longer very active, but Ivy-Rae continues to be very active.
“She loves to dance and the men with whom she has these dalliances with are mostly her dance partners, who she is most likely just using for their fast cars and dance experience. She does have a fling with a Brazilian Northern soul dancer in the series. He is ‘Mr Smooth’. The actor who played him, Richard (Calkin), is a professional dancer and so could really dance which was great.”
Tina is a 45 year old tattoo artist.
She has a sensible head on her shoulders and is comfortable in her own skin.
Lisa Riley on Tina
A tomboy, a tattoo artist and the family’s secret keeper, Lisa tells us about her unpredictable character, Tina Regan:
“The best thing about Tina is that she deals with things through her sarcasm. She is the confidante and totem pole who keeps the family together. When the chips are down and low within the family, she deals with it so brilliantly. Everyone confides in Tina and she doesn’t miss a trick, she knows everything that is going on.
“Robson (Green) and I decided one day that Tina is like the modern day Miss Marple – nothing gets past her. She is everyone’s sister and friend and that is because she is so direct and deals with things through truth and honesty and I love that about her. To me, Tina is the unsung hero of the piece, which I love.
“Tina gets her gratification by keeping the ship afloat, and in this drama the ship is her family. If they didn’t have her, the ship would sink. Society has a tendency to judge everyone before they get to know them and that’s what everyone has always done with Tina but they are wrong, she has this wonderful and shocking secret which is revealed.”
Heidi is 35 years old, single and has a daughter, Disney.
A cosmetic surgery addict, Heidi is obsessed with footballers and would have loved nothing more than to be a WAG.
She also obsesses about entering daughter Disney into beauty pageants. Heidi is the ultimate pushy mother who drills her daughter endlessly, but is desperate for them to be BFF’s.
Vicky Myers on Heidi
Vicky had an immediate connection to her character, Heidi. She explains why she has enjoyed playing this role so much:
“Heidi is the youngest of the four sisters and she is very much the baby and she is treated and behaves as such. She is into the idea of fairy tales and magic and believes one day her prince will come and take her away from all of this madness, so she has built up this impenetrable bubble which allows her to cope with everything that goes on around her.
“Her daughter’s name is Disney and with a name like that you can just imagine what goes on in Heidi’s head. She is a wonderful character to play because she is always happy, even though inside her heart is breaking she will always have a smile on her face. You would never catch her without mascara on or her fabulous lipstick. The only person in her life as far as she is concerned is Disney.”
Heidi’s relationship with her on-screen daughter, Disney (Isabella Gill) is incredibly important to her, and Vicky tells us a little about that bond they share both on and off screen:
“Heidi wants the best for little Disney and she has figured, to run along with the fairy tale theme, that Disney is going to be a beauty pageant queen – and she is going to win, no matter what. So she drills Disney on her routines and her performances but really Disney isn’t that bothered, as you could image most nine year-olds wouldn’t be.
“She just wants to play football, she doesn’t want to wear heels or make up and she certainly doesn’t want to wear a princess crown, but she does so for her mum and that is because they share a unique bond.”
Lorelai is a 28 year old personal trainer.
Naturally beautiful and vibrant, Lorelai wants to settle down and have a family.
Madeleine Mantock on Lorelai
Madeleine plays the young and beautiful, Lorelei – but her character stirs up a lot of trouble:
“Lorelei is a character that represents fun and youth, and the idea of something shiny and new, that you can have all of these great experiences with. Lorelei enters the story when her best friend, Dante, encourages her to get a new kitchen as a reward to herself for working so hard.
“The person who comes to fix her kitchen is Wes. The two of them strike up a really good friendship; they share a similar sense of humour and get on really well and their relationship stems from there. She is unaware that he is married.”