17 February 2011

Three episodes in, and Channel 4’s Beauty and The Beast: The Ugly Face of Prejudice is receiving mixed reviews. The Metro newspaper seemed decidedly bored with the whole premise of the show, summed up as “the one who’s vain at the beginning turns out to have some self-esteem issues”, adding “did anyone see that coming?” and describing it as “the same old story”. Online lifestyle magazine Manchester Confidential wrote about it from the angle of Miss Manchester, Elicia Davies, who was the ‘beauty’ that appeared in last night’s show, and gave it a more positive review. They wrote: “If the purpose was to make us stop staring at an unusual face and look deeper into a picture perfect one, then it certainly achieved that.” But it has been the featured consultant plastic surgeons that have shed the most light on the many, very varied reasons why people choose to alter their appearance. Their balanced approach has been the shining light in what might have otherwise been at best a dull series, and at worst a dark and self-indulgent one. Harley Street consultant plastic surgeon Mr Azhar Aslam was filmed during an initial consultation with Davies, an appointment which all potential patients are required to attend, and his approach was a far cry from pushy salesman. In fact, Mr Aslam was more of a concerned parent, trying to get at the reasons why Davies felt she needed dermal fillers to plump up her cheeks. The beauty queen admitted that she wanted to look perfect, an ideal which Mr Aslam assured her is subjective and therefore not a good enough reason to undergo cosmetic surgery. Davies looked distraught but when filmed two months later to see if appearing on the show had changed her life, she seemed to be extremely appreciative of his approach. And in the first episode, cosmetic surgeon Mr Patrick Mallucci advised an overweight girl that fat removal surgery was not the answer, but instead exercise and healthy eating were. Apart from ethical cosmetic surgeons, we wonder if the next three shows can reveal anything different from the first.