The dangers of dodgy botox are highlighted for Emmerdale's Bernice Blackstock (Samantha Giles) on Wednesday 2 January when her insecurity about turning 50 sees her injecting herself with fillers purchased online that cause a dangerous allergic reaction, which doctors warn could leave her face permanently paralysed.
Feeling sensitive about last week's significant birthday, the village beautician has impulsively brought botox from a website that appears far from reputable. But when co-worker Kerry Wyatt (Laura Norton) performs the procedure and pumps her face full of the suspect fillers, something starts to go very wrong…
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"She's desperate to hold back the years," reveals Giles. "Bernice is very insecure about her age because she's dating a younger man (Dr Liam Cavanagh, played by Jonny McPherson). After some failed attempts at exercise she decides to buy botox and goes to Kerry for help. Bernice sees women like Priya Sharma out jogging and feels like she needs to do something, and Kerry reckons everyone does botox these days so she helps her."
Unfortunately the substance doesn't agree with her, and Bernice is rushed to hospital after suffering a reaction and struggling to breathe. "She goes into anaphylactic shock," continues Giles. "It's quite dangerous. Her face swells and there is a possibility that the paralysis could be permanent."
Dr Cavanagh is horrified to learn his wicked daughter, toxic teen Leanna (Mimi Slinger), played a part in the incident by pressuring Kerry to inject the botox as part of her vendetta against her dad's girlfriend, which is sure to fuel the fractious relations between the trio. As to the long-term damage caused by the botched surgery, and whether Bernice's life is at risk, viewers will have to watch how the drama unfolds as the week goes on, but Giles warns this is a cautionary tale for those wanting to deny the ageing process.
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"A lot of women start to get more conscious of getting older at this age and think they can put a stop to it, but I don't think it's a very sensible thing to do. We need to highlight that women should feel more positive about their image, it doesn't help when the media show these perfect, flawless faces with no lines that are puffed up everywhere.
"I think it looks ridiculous - you can always tell when someone has had work. As an actor you've got to be able to move your face, haven't you? Your lines tell the story about the experiences you've been through. I hope Bernice's reaction isn't permanent as I've got to wear all this latex make-up for the swelling, I could barely open my eyes!"
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