Are cosmetic treatments RUINING period drama?

Are period dramas being RUINED by cosmetic surgery? Viewers of 10 Pound Poms and Bridgerton say they’re ‘struggling to enjoy the series’ and are ‘distracted’ by obvious modern day beauty – like fillers and microblading

  • Critics of the new drama said Michelle Keegan looks like a Love Island contestant
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By their very nature, period dramas are supposed to transport viewers to a different time realm.

But while the genre has sky-rocketed in popularity of late, there’s one aspect of the dramas that appear to be keeping them firmly grounded in the 21st Century: the casts’ cosmetically enhanced faces.  

Earlier this month, the new series 10 Pound Poms – starring Michelle Keegan and Faye Marsay – started airing on BBC One.

The show follows a group of fictional Brits who took advantage of the Australian government’s offer to transport them across the world and provide subsidised housing and jobs for them for £10 per person.

But while critics have praised Michelle’s ‘slinky and secretive’ performance as nurse Kate, viewers have admitted they’re struggling to immerse themselves in the show thanks to the star’s very modern appearance.

Michelle Keegan pictured in character as nurse Kate in the new BBC drama 10 Pound Poms. Some viewers have said 

One tweeted: ‘Really enjoyed the first episode of this show but blimey, who knew you could get fake tan and Botox in 1950s Manchester?

‘All actors are great but Michelle Keegan is really not suitable for this type of role.’ 

Another added: ‘Michelle Keegan’s Botox is totally out of place in the 1950’s.’ 

A third moaned: ‘I’m struggling with the scrip in Ten Pound Poms. It’s so inaccurate – e.g. nobody would have said, “oh my days”. 

‘It’s irritating that the scriptwriters haven’t done enough research to make it more accurate. Michelle Keegan’s Botox is very distracting.’ 

What’s more, The Telegraph’s Arts and Entertainment Editor Anita Singh noted that the 35-year-old does not have a ‘period drama face’ in her three-star review of the show.

She wrote: ‘She has the glossy hair and flawless complexion of the Love Island generation, and one of those faces in which only the bottom half moves.’

Meanwhile, The Independent’s Nick Hilton echoed this sentiment in his review – adding: ‘If you can forgive the obviously 21st-century dental work, her slinky, secretive Kate carries all the tension that Ten Pound Poms is otherwise sorely lacking.’

Viewers of Ten Pound Poms on BBC have said that Michelle Keegan’s modern appearance ‘looks out of place’ in 1950s Australia 

Left: Michelle Keegan when she was still starring in Coronation Street. Right: The actress is currently appearing in 10 Pound Poms on BBC One

Michelle Keegan – who has always denied ever having plastic surgery to alter her looks – has previously admitted to having her eyebrows microbladed to give them their neat and fixed shape.

Speaking to Hello! in 2019, the star explained: ‘I love [microblading].I haven’t had mine done for two years now, and they do fade, but it just gives you a good stencil on how to shape your eyebrows.’

However, in an interview with the Mirror in 2016, the actress denied ever having Botox.

She said: ‘Everyone says that I’ve changed my face and I’ve had Botox, but you have to be able to move your face when you’re an actress – which I can do.

‘So you can see I haven’t had it. I don’t worry about what people say though, what’s the big deal about Botox? I know loads of people who’ve had it, it’s not a big deal.’

Viewers of Bridgerton have joked that the show is ‘about face fillers’. Pictured: Harriet Cains, Polly Walker and Bessie Carter

Fans of the show have speculated whether Jonathan Bailey (who plays Anthony Bridgerton) has had Botox injections 

Phoebe Dynevor (who plays Daphne Bridgerton) shot to fame in 2020 thanks to her starring role in the Netflix series

However, 10 Pound Poms isn’t the only drama that has left viewers distracted by the modern look of its 21st Century cast.

When Netflix’s Bridgerton landed on the streaming platform in December 2020, the series was viewed by a staggering 82m households in the first month alone. 

Although the fictional series has been credited with renewing interest in period dramas among younger audiences, there’s no denying that the cast – including Phoebe Dynevor and Rege-Jean Page – very much adhere to modern beauty standards.

Having devoured the first season, one fan tweeted: ‘Bridgerton is ultimately about face fillers.’ 

Another added: ‘Bridgerton made me realise I want jawline fillers.’ 

After the second season landed last year, others speculated that Jonathan Bailey – who plays Anthony Bridgerton – had had some work done, which is something the actor has never publicly addressed.

Dakota Johnson, 33, pictured playing Anne Elliot in the 2022 Netflix adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion

Marian Spencer and Ann Firbank (right) pictured on the set of the 1971 TV adaptation of Persuasion

With her smooth skin and plump pout, Heida Reed also adhered to modern beauty standards when she played Elisabeth in the BBC series Poldark from 2015 to 2019

Devrim Lingnau and Philip Froissa star in the hit Netflix series The Empress – the story of teenager Elisabethvon Wittelsbach’s relationship with Austrian emperor Franz Joseph in the 1850s

They tweeted: ‘Think he’s had Botox. In his new Showtime series [Fellow Travelers], his character is quite young and naive at the beginning.

‘In Bridgerton, they just draped his hair over his forehead in flashbacks to hide the lines – but probably’ can’t get away with that now.’ 

Echoing this sentiment, another said: ‘There are times when an actor that’s cast in a period drama just looks like they know what a cellphone is. 

‘I have no issues with cosmetic surgery but a face that is visibly enhanced is…well…distracting.’

What’s more, Dakota Johnson, 33  – who played Anne Elliot in the 2020 Netflix Persuasion adaptation – looked noticeably more fresh-faced than her predecessor Ann Firbank.

In 1971, then 38-year-old actress was cast in the title role for the ITV adaptation. 

Anya Taylor-Joy pictured on set of the 2020 adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Emma – which was first published in 1815

Kate Beckinsale – who was then 23 – looked fresh-faced on the set of the 1996 TV film adaptation of Emma

L to R: Julia Sawalha, Jennifer Ehle, Susannah Harker, Lucy Briers and Polly Nasely portrayed the Bennett sisters in the 1995 BBC Pride and Prejudice adaption

Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet pictured in the 1995 Jane Austen adaptation of Sense & Sensibility 

Despite there only being a five year age gap between the two actresses, Dakota looked drastically younger than Anne thanks to her smooth forehead and plump pout. 

Although the star has never admitted to having cosmetic work done, she did tell Vogue Australia in 2022 that she uses Maude’s Drop vibrator on her face and praised the ‘amazing’ results.

She later told InStyle: ‘A vibrator can theoretically be used over the sinuses, along the forehead and cheek bones to stimulate lymph drainage.’ 

In 2020, Anya Taylor-Joy, 27, was cast as the lead in the Emma remake – a role Kate Beckinsale took on 24 years previously.

Although the two actresses were around the same age in both adaptations, Anya’s sculpted brows and radiant skin gave her a noticeably more modern look than her fresh-faced predecessor.

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