LIFESTYLE

Actress Jenny Agutter Says Older Women Are Finally Getting The Screen Time They Deserve

13/01/2015 09:47 GMT | Updated 13/01/2015 09:59 GMT

Turn on your TV most nights and you'd be forgiven for assuming women retire from acting at the age of 40.

But according to actress Jenny Agutter, older women are starting to get the screen time they deserve.

About bloomin' time too.

jenny agutter

Stars from Dame Helen Mirren to Miranda actress Patricia Hodge have previously complained that women disappear from films and TV dramas once they reach their forties.

But Call The Midwife actress Agutter, 62, told Radio Times magazine that more roles are now being penned for older women.

"There's a more mature audience to be catered for and great stories are being written. You no longer have to be young forever, which is terrific," she said.

Her comments come after Russell Crowe sparked controversy when he suggested that older women who had difficulty landing roles still wanted to "play the ingenue, and can't understand why she's not being cast as the 21-year-old".

But Agutter said that women still faced more pressure than their male counterparts to look young.

"Men can be attractive at any age, but for women it's still associated with childbearing and sexuality. It has to change," she said.

"Maybe I'm more hopeful than I should be, but look at Miranda (Hart, who plays Chummy in Call The Midwife) - so attractive, and although she goes on about being ungainly, she's really very secure. She grew up tall and gangly and had the strength of personality to overcome it."

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Agutter also told how she faced pressure to go under the knife when she lived in Los Angeles in the 1970s.

"When I was in Hollywood a producer told me I should have the bags under my eyes done. I was very British and said no.

"I know a couple of people who've had face lifts and it was terrifying - black and blue and swollen. It doesn't do it for me. But men are conned into it, too. There's an industry and it doesn't end with women," she said.

Agutter's comments come after Yves Saint Laurent announced Joni Mitchell, 71, as its latest model, and author Joan Didion, 80, was revealed as the face of Céline.

Let's hope 2015 is the year older women are celebrated, rather than excluded, across all media.

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