​In 2018 I launched the acting your age campaign because two years previously, I'd decided to restart my acting career because my family caring duties of the last two decades had significantly reduced. At my age it appears that I definitely chose not just to push a penny up a mountain with my nose, but a penny that had been welded to the ground and encased in concrete with a sign on it saying "Not this penny, not this mountain and not ever"


I can't claim that my age is the only reason but as a woman in middle age, it's a really big reason.


As I began to look closely at the industry I wanted to rejoin, I found that middle aged women are decidedly absent and that's interesting because middle-aged men still have at least twenty, if not thirty years of their career ahead of them in the industry, as my Acting Your Age Campaign research data shows















In the last 21 years of BAFTA leading TV actress awards the average age of nominees has trended down from age 52 to age 32.


However for male actors during the same time frame the average age of nominess has fallen from age 48 to age 45.
















From light entertainment to the latest Mission Impossible episode in the behemoth franchise, women in middle age are notably absent.
















All the middle aged men in many of the shows that I've seen, have much younger on screen wives and yet in my own friendship group this isn't the case. Still on TV and in film male actors are paired romantically with women, decades younger than they are.


Just at an age when we have the wealth of experience to really inform our performances, we face the scrapheap challenge. Yet our stories, diverse, intricate and often tales of survival, are ignored or traduced to the worst of ourselves


We can and we should be featured routinely as the stories of our lives are written and told, promoted and sold, because our demographic is there to be found. If we're not confident that we'll be involved, we're not going to participate. I believe there is an untapped demographic of middle aged women unused to recognising ourselves onscreen and unhappy that this gendered ageist baton is being handed to the next generation of young women in some awful relay race of exclusion.


I want people to join with me in highlighting that middle aged women like me who first harboured creative ambitions as teenagers at drama school; don't have to stop achieving the equality of creative expression just because we reach middle age


I don't want my data to reflect that only 9% of UK audiences can recognise more than 15 women over the age of 45 on our screens compared to 48% of audiences easily able to identify more than 15 men of that age on screen but it does. 



















But by July 2021 after 3 years of trying to get the media interested in the exclusion of women because we age, I was about ready to quit. Fighting ageism as a woman in my middle 50's takes it's toll. Being ignored stonewalled and gaslit that there really isn't a problem takes it's toll & the silencing and censure of women for speaking out about an idustry known, known takes it's toll.


I announced on social media that regretfully, I was closing the campaign and there was an overwhelming response. Women & men in the idustry and outsde it, urged me not to. Sally Phillips spoke out about my campaign closing on BBC Woman's Hour and Julie Graham made a video in support.  on Instagram.


I decided to host a panel of brilliant women to look at whether I should close and the response was that I should keep fighting for women's representation.


Afterwards, panelist & campaign supporter Amanda Abbington posed a support video too and asking for wider support.



It was wonderful. So I'm fighting on and still getting the most amazing support this time from Actors, who are speaking out brilliantly about the exclusion of women and signing up to my Acting Your Age Campaign parity pledge, #DontCastHerOut


























































































































​​​​Acting your Age Campaign supporters :


David Tennant

Georgia Tennant

Michael Sheen

Sinead Keenan

Frances Barber

Juliet Stevenson

Amanda Abbington

Sarah Parish

Mark Gatiss

Kate Hardie

Catherine Russell

David Baddiel

Shaparak Khorshandi

Sanjeev Bhaskar

Sally Phillips

Kate Robbins

Sally Abbot

Jess Phillips MP (Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding)

Dawn Butler MP 

Joseph Millson

Nuala O'Sullivan

Rosie McCann

Ali Kemp

Deborah Klayman

Mellissa Donello

Samia Rida

Emma Austin Jones

Mandy Lee

Jiggy Bhore

Ricky Gervais

Elizabeth Bower

Leonie Mellinger

Annie Jackson

Jane Fallon

Miranda Harrison

Sharon Morgan

Kirsty Lemare

Jane Felstead

Giga Gray

Emmy Hapisburgh

Sheree Kane 

Catherine Mayer

Catherine Skinner

Julie Barclay

Victoria Jeffrey

Nina Stratford

Reagan Payne

Julie Graham

Hattie Morahan

Susan Penhaligon

Eleanor Mears

Jennifer Claire

Kacey Ainsworth

Kate Robbins

Sally Abbott

Eddie Marsan

Tina Harris

Munirih Grace

Tracy-Ann Oberman

Alice Jones

Kathy Lette

Caroline Berry

Elaine Claxton

Richard Eisenberg

Tara Taragadomski

Hannah Waterman

Ayesha Hazarika

Boyd Hilton

Sian Gibson

Louise Donald

Richard Herring

Mik Scarlet

Ralf Little

Tony Gardner

Rachel Parris

Helen Linehan

Marina Hyde

Emma Thompson

Niamh McGrady

Women's Equality Party

Tracy Brabin MP (Shadow Minister for Cultural Industries)

                                                                          Carrie Gracie

                                                                           Mary Beard

                                   Caroline Dineage MP (Minister for State for Digital and Culture)

                                   Caroline Nokes MP (Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee)

                                                                           Dawn Hope

                                                                         Jenny Whiffen

                                                                           Neil Brand

                                                                          Paul Chahidi

                                                                           John Simm

                                                                      Amanda Redman

                                                                   Christian Brassington

                                                                        Ronni Ancona

                                                                          Lucy Vandi

                                                                      Jules Williamson

                                                                           Kate Muir


                         Acting Your Age Campaign Supporting Organisations :


The Fawcett Society

Women Over 50 film festival

The Equity Women's Committee

ERA 50:50

Women's Equality Party


Acting Your Age Campaign Articles :