Actress Jenny Agutter has joined calls for an end to age discrimination against women in entertainment.
The 58-year-old, who achieved fame while still a teenager playing Roberta in the film The Railway Children in 1970, and whose looks and cut-glass accent have kept her in starring roles ever since, said older women should be able to continue working in TV and film just as mature men do.
“The thing about ageing is that you are looked at in a different way.” she said.
“You don’t realise this because if you’re like me you don’t feel old and you may not look in the mirror all the time so it comes as a bit of a shock.
“Women on television and in the entertainment business should be allowed to continue working in the same way as older men.”
Her comments come as the BBC in particular faces increasing criticism for dropping older women. Agutter began her career appearing the in the BBC soap The Newcomers and the 1967 BBC TV version of The Railway Children while still at school. She starred in classic films such as Logan’s Run and last year appeared in Burke And Hare. Agutter also criticised those who resort to plastic surgery and Botox to prolong their careers.
“Why have all that tightness and pretend to be different?” she asked.
“We have to stop that mind-set and remember that each age has something attractive about it.
“What we should be saying is ‘I am what I am and every line and wrinkle on my face makes me the person I am’.”
Her comments, in a magazine interview, come in the wake of 53-year-old Miriam O’Reilly’s ageism tribunal victory against the BBC in January, after the TV presenter was dropped from the Countryfile show.
In February, former newsreader Anna Ford, 67, complained that older men continued to get contracts for prime television spots but women did not.
Ms Ford said: “I wonder how these charming dinosaurs such as David Dimbleby and John Simpson continue to procure contracts with the BBC, when I fail to see any woman of the same age, the same intelligence and the same rather baggy looks.”
She left the BBC five years ago, saying she feared being sidelined because of her age.
“I might have been shovelled off into the graveyard shift and I wouldn’t have wanted that,” she said.
A recent poll found viewers want to see more older presenters on prime time TV.
Sixty per cent said they thought the media was obsessed by youth.
Article from Express