Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Quentin urges more women's TV roles

Caroline Quentin has said current TV dramas are male-dominated

Caroline Quentin has criticised the gender balance of lead TV roles for older stars - claiming men far outweigh women.

The Life Of Riley star said she is now being offered fewer parts but has "no idea" why because she always delivers an audience.

And she believes there are "many, many more men" on screen than women.

The 50-year-old, who has appeared in shows including Men Behaving Badly and Jonathan Creek, said current TV dramas are "male-dominated".

Caroline named older male stars such as James Nesbitt, Neil Dudgeon - her Life Of Riley co-star - and Stephen Tomkinson whose age is no bar to landing leading roles in major drama series.

She said: "I am getting offers but not as many and not as much in drama.

"I don't think it's a conspiracy thing. I just don't understand it, because I've always brought an audience with me, so it's not like I don't think anybody's going to watch it."

The actress, whose sitcom Life Of Riley is returning for a third series, echoed the debate on sexism and ageism on television, prompted by Miriam O'Reilly's tribunal win against the BBC earlier this year.

Former newsreader Anna Ford has voiced criticism about how older male presenters are still on screen but older women are not, while presenter Fern Britton voiced her view that women have a "natural end" to their screen careers.

Caroline said she hoped new BBC1 controller Danny Cohen, whom she is due to meet, might change things. "I'm really hoping that he's going to say something that makes me feel better about the future for women on television," she said.

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