Channel 5 has come under fire from viewers for ‘normalising grooming’ after posting a clip of a show about age gap relationships, featuring a man in his 40s who met his wife when she was 16.
The broadcaster tweeted a clip from Age Gap Love, which first aired in November 2018, to tease the return of the documentary series in June.
It featured bus driver Andy Telford from North Wales who was 44-years-old when he started a relationship with Beth Telford, 16, after becoming friends with her mother.
The pair were forced to move 170 miles from Llandudno in North Wales to Lancashire after neighbours branded Andy a ‘paedo’ when news of their controversial affair got out.
The couple have now been married for three years and have two children together, but Twitter users hit out at the channel for ‘glorifying the grooming of an underage girl and the inappropriate relationship that follows.’
One wrote said: ‘It is insane that you are screening this. Normalising predatory, middle aged men grooming young girls as a romantic, love-across-the-ages story is reprehensible.’
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A resurfaced clip of Channel 5’s Age Gap Love which aired in November, showing the relationship between Andy, 47, and Beth, 19, (pictured) has sparked a debate on Twitter
Beth (pictured on their wedding day) who was 16-years-old when she decided to take her friendship with Andy further, gushed about wanting a family in the clip
Beth was just 16-years-old when she decided that she wanted to take her friendship further with Andy, who was initially a friend of her mother’s.
‘We were all like one happy family,’ said Andy. ‘But needless to say, I didn’t know that Beth was, like, getting these thoughts that she wanted me to be her “happy man forever” sort of thing.’
Speaking in the clip Beth revealed that she’s not bothered by their age difference.
She said: ‘The age doesn’t really bother me. It never has done. I didn’t see him as an old man or my dad, or anything like that.
‘He’s just sensitive. Like a big teddy bear.’
The loved up couple now have two children, they were forced to relocate from their home in Lancashire when Andy was labelled a ‘pedo’
Beth (pictured with Andy in the clip) revealed their age difference has never bothered her and that she believed Andy was the perfect man to start a family with
A flood of social media users have accused Channel 5 of glorifying grooming as Andy knew Beth (pictured) before their relationship began at age 16
Andy and Beth have two children together – Timmy, two, and Conway, one.
Beth continued: ‘I’ve always wanted to make a family or to have a family. So, I just thought Andy would be the perfect man to do so.’
The episode has received a flood of backlash from viewers who argue Channel 5 are ‘normalising grooming’.
One viewer wrote: ‘This is not entertainment it is grooming, and reading between the lines, I’m going to suggest he was her ‘step dad’ or mum’s partner at one point
‘She doesn’t seem him as a “dad”, probably because he didn’t behave as a dad and groomed a child.’
Speaking in the episode at the time it was aired, Andy and Beth (pictured) revealed their plans to move back to Lancashire
A stream of Twitter users have blasted Channel 5 for airing the episode and accused them of glorifying grooming
Many called for the show to be cancelled, and some even urged others to complain to Ofcom.
One person said: ‘This show is disgusting and is very triggering. Do not glorify this.’
Another wrote: ‘What actions do I need to take to see this show deleted and cancelled completely.’
A third added: ‘I’m absolutely disgusted that the narrative of this clip is putting the emphasis on Beth as having instigated the relationship.
‘He got to know her as a child. This reporting is obscene.’
Andy (pictured) who was 44 when he met Beth, was hounded when their relationship began and had his van vandalized
Many Twitter users have called for the programme to be cancelled and argue the couple’s age gap is triggering