An award-winning British TV and film actress has complained that British audiences are being short-changed, with the same crop of actresses being given leading roles again and again.
Jane Horrocks, who starred in hit TV comedy Absolutely Fabulous and was nominated for both BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards for her role in the film Little Voice told a UK audience:
“I think it’s a bit limiting for the audience to see the same crowd always coming on.
“I just feel sorry for the audience really that the commissioners and the producers are so short-sighted that they have to keep churning out the same people.”
Asked how she felt about big-profile actresses Olivia Colman (The Crown), Keeley Hawes (Bodyguard) and Lily James (Downton Abbey, The Pursuit of Love) being regularly given the big TV roles, Horrocks replied: “And Sarah Lancashire.” (Happy Valley)
Horrocks added: “They do an amazing job and if they’re being offered the roles then, of course, you take them.
“There are a lot of actors out there who could bring something new to one of those roles, unexpected.”
Her comments come on the same weekend an open letter was signed by more than 100 actors and public figures, including Keeley Hawes, demanding the appearance on screen of more women aged 45 and over, in a fight against “entrenched ageism” across the industry.
Horrocks revealed in an interview with the Independent newspaper several years ago that for her personally this isn’t a problem. She said: “When I went to drama school, I played all the old people there, so ageism doesn’t come into it for me because I’ve always played old people and young people.
“Actually, I feel that my career seems to have been getting a bit more enriched by becoming older in that new opportunities are arising because of my age… But it is obviously there and present. I accept that it is an issue.”