British actors call for more roles for the elderly

British actors call for more roles for the elderly
Photo by christian buehner / Unsplash

More than 100 actors and public figures in Britain have signed an open letter against "ingrained ageism" in the entertainment industry. In it, the authors call for more opportunities for older women to appear on screen. Signers include Keeley Howes ("Bodyguard"), Leslie Menville ("Killer Magpies"), Richard E. Grant ("Can You Forgive Me?"), David Tennant ("Doctor Who"), Zave Ashton ("Velvet Chainsaw"), Mira Scial ("Patrick") and Juliet Stephenson ("Departure").
In the letter, the Acting Your Age (AYAC) campaign said that women in the U.K. only have a "shelf life" on screen while their male counterparts have "a lifetime," and called for "equal rights" with equal representation in the U.K. between men and women over the age of 45.
The letter states, in part, that "ageism targeting women is an entrenched approach in the industry and long outdated, and that it neglects the millions of viewers who appreciate life stories told by women over 45 on screen."
The letter's list of recommendations includes the following points: all feature content and light entertainment with male and female hosts should be 50:50 gender and age parity; among writers/actors in dramas and comedies, there should be 50:50 age and gender parity; among participants in documentaries, political discussions, newscasts and studio guests, there should be age parity; news stories about women's physical and mental health and violence