Not a lot of sympathy, no

ACTRESS Susan Penhaligon has condemned television bosses as ageist, saying that at 61 she can only find roles in theatre.

The former Bouquet Of Barbed Wire star says she is desperate to shake off her image as the teenage temptress Prue Manson in the hit Seventies drama because she wants more mature roles.

But Susan says that whenever she goes for a TV role, she finds 20 other actresses from her age group battling for the same part.

The actress, whose 1976 drama Bouquet Of Barbed Wire is being remade by ITV, told Radio Times: “Thankfully I love theatre, as TV really doesn’t want older actresses.”

She added: “Twenty well-known older actresses are chasing about four good parts a year, not counting Holby City and the soaps. Equity, the actors’ trade union, ran a campaign about just this.”

Susan was hailed the “face of the decade” in the Seventies and the British answer to French actress and model Brigitte Bardot.

I understand the frustration, of course, but don\’t have all that much sympathy.

But if you get the job in your 20s because of your looks (OK, at least in part for your looks, she wouldn\’t have got the parts she did if she\’d been a munt) then I don\’t think it\’s all that unfair that when he looks have gone so have the parts.

If you\’ve been getting the parts because of being an outstanding actress (like, say, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Vanessa Redgrave) then the parts don\’t dry up.

It\’s a bit like a footballer whining because Man U doesn\’t want him when he\’s 50. Sorry, but one of the things you were selling was your youthful physique….

5 thoughts on “Not a lot of sympathy, no”

  1. Ah, but in today’s society, if you aren’t being picked for something, it’s not because you can’t do that something, it’s because someone else is biased.

  2. “ACTRESS Susan Penhaligon has condemned television bosses as ageist… whenever she goes for a TV role, she finds 20 other actresses from her age group battling for the same part.”

    Err, are production companies being ageist when there are parts available and 20 other old actresses are applying for them. Isn’t that a sign that you aren’t the right actor for the part, not that you are too old or production companies aren’t using old people.

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