Anna Ford was the authoritative female face of television newsreading for four decades.

Now actress Julie Walters has blamed continuing ageism in the industry for her absence from our screens.

Yesterday she asked: ‘Where’s Anna Ford?’

Miss Walters, 63, said: ‘There are lots of women around my age in film, theatre and TV – producers, writers, directors and even some camera operators, in addition to actresses.

‘We’ll always have to campaign against why, for instance, older men on TV news programmes tend to be paired up with younger women.

‘Where’s Anna Ford? is what I say. But it is changing and gradually evolving. There is still ageism in our industry and we have a long way to go, but it’s getting better.’

Miss Ford, now aged 69, is not currently appearing on TV.

The outspoken feminist famously threw a glass of wine over Jonathan Aitken after he controversially sacked her from now-defunct channel TV-am.

Miss Ford has also attackednovelist Martin Amis, calling him a ‘whingeing narcissist’ who has embroidered his past for fame.

She quit the BBC in 2006 aged 62, claiming she was being sidelined because of her age.

In 2011, after BBC veteran David Dimbleby, then 72, was offered a five-year, £3.5million contract, Miss Ford questioned whether a woman would get such a deal.

She said: ‘I wonder how these charming dinosaurs such as Mr Dimbleby and John Simpsoncontinue to procure contracts with the BBC, when, however hard I look, I fail to see any womanof the same age, the sameintelligence and the same ratherbaggy looks.’

Miss Walters said she too has seen the number of film scripts she receives dwindle and the types of roles she is offered narrow. In an interview with Yours magazine, the star of Educating Rita, Mamma Mia! and the Harry Potter films added: ‘I’m glad I wasn’t born beautiful! My career was never based on my looks.

‘I was never considered suitable to play the “Juve Lead”, as we used to call it in the theatre. Older actresses can panic when they feel their looks are fading but it shouldn’t be like that; concentrate on what’s inside instead.’

And it appears to be working for her, with three films out this year and a new project for which she is about to sign a contract.

Article from Mail Online