“I want words with the cheeky bastard who thinks I look like an old age pensioner. OAP, I look like an OAP, do I?” Shaun Ryder
“I have smoked for 72 years and there are quite a few people who haven’t lived that long.” June Brown
In a brand new four-part series, eight well-loved and well-worn celebrities take part in a bold and unique experiment to find out if we really can stop the ageing process. Soap legend June Brown, actress Claire King, presenter Roy Walker, Eastenders stalwart Sid Owen, actress and presenter Sherrie Hewson, musician Shaun Ryder, astrologer Russell Grant and TV personality Sandra Martin are subjected to scientific testing to discover how well, or badly, they are ageing, inside and out.
Britain’s leading longevity professor invites the group to Sardinia, home to one of the oldest populations in the world. They are asked to commit to a strict diet and exercise regime bespoke for their individual needs, which will push them to their limits, whilst undertaking cutting edge and extreme anti-ageing treatments including snail facials, coffee enemas and cow urine shampoos. After 21 days of intensive rejuvenation, the celebrities are assessed once again. Can they collectively lose 100 years from their face, body and brain ages, without going under the knife?
In episode one, the group arrive in Sardinia. The Rejuvenation Clinic might look idyllic but it’s home to a brutal regime of diet, exercise and some decidedly unpleasant therapies. Three weeks earlier, the celebrities underwent exhaustive scientific testing at the University of Westminster to determine their face, body and brain ages. Professor Ian Philp, Britain’s leading professor on longevity, delivers the results to the group and there are some nasty surprises in store.
To lose their target 100 years in just 21 days, the celebrities must comply with a strict regime. First they meet Thor, an experienced nutritionist, who bans smoking, drinking, sugar, bread, pasta and all starches. The group are put on a high protein, low carb and good fats diet with plenty of fish, eggs, cheese, coconut oil and cold pressed olive oil. Thor has laid down the law and the group are not impressed.
Russell says: “We think that secretly she’s a dominatrix and she walks all over you, that’s what we think.”
Next up is an assessment with Real Madrid’s former fitness coach assistant, Simone. A healthy adult should be able to manage 30 minutes of exercise a day but after just 12 minutes, Shaun is unable to continue. Two minutes later he is followed by Russell, with Sherrie close behind. While the celebrities struggle, June, the oldest of all eight, keeps going. The experts are impressed.
The group then head off to the spa for a very unusual treatment, a snail facial. Snail slime is a natural source of glycoprotein enzymes and collagen, which research has shown reduces wrinkling and skin damage. Roy is not impressed: “It was not nice. The snails kept on falling off my face.”
Sherrie decides she needs something a little more intense and opts for facial threading where dissolvable plastic barbs are injected under the skin with hydrating vitamins and antioxidants, stimulating collagen production to tighten her face. The treatment is sore and afterwards she is red and swollen but delighted with the results. Sherrie says: “My face age is exactly the same as my age. I don’t want it to be my age, I want it to be younger.”
At the end of their first day the celebrities decide to defy the new rules and reward themselves with a drink from the bar. They are swiftly caught by Thor who is appalled at their lack of commitment:
“They’re just diving into their old patterns so this is not going to work. Hopefully they’ll just listen and obey me and my instructions.”
As the second day dawns, Shaun, Claire, Roy, Russell and Sandra discover that Thor has arranged for them to have a coffee enema. Everyone is nervous and Sandra flatly refuses to have the treatment. As the enema gets going, Roy says: “Feels like a garden hose to tell you the truth. I’ll never look at coffee in the same light again.”
Shaun says: “Here we go. Oooh, Jesus!”
June meets with Professor Philp to discuss how she can reduce her body age. She is significantly underweight and has smoked for 72 years. Professor Philp tries to convince her to give up the cigarettes to help with her weight gain and overall health but June resists: “I could give it up if I really wanted to. I’ve done it before. But you’ve got to want to. I’m sorry because I know you are asking me this for my own good. But you can see the stubbornness sitting here before you and I’m very sorry to have to disappoint you.”
The next day it’s time for an exercise session. Three of the group are excused with sick notes and Shaun is hoping to join them. Simone is very disappointed. Shaun’s tests showed he has the body of a 75-year-old geriatric. Unless he can exercise, it will only get worse.
The group also take part in Laughter Therapy. Professor Ian explains that laughter exercises the cardiovascular system, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, produces happy hormone in the brain and is good for the stomach. Shaun says: “And then some more men in white coats will take us all away.”
June also shares her top tip with the group, Tibetan yoga. She even provides them with a demonstration. Professor Philp says: “I think she’s an amazing example of a 90-year-old person countering the myths of how an old person should be and shows how vital old people can be.”
Produced by Wall to Wall for ITV