Karen Ross is a Professor in the University of Liverpool’s Department of Communication and Media
“Along with most other people in the audience, I cried when M died in Skyfall and laughed when Dame Maggie delivered killer lines in Quartet, but these stellar performers and performances are as infrequent as the number of older women we see on the small screen, especially in the role of presenter, as shown in yet another piece of research just published.
“Really, what’s going on?
“Why are broadcasters consigning fantastic women to Room 101 at the first sign of a grey hair or laugh line?
“Oh, hang on a minute, what about the Davids Dimbleby, Attenborough and Suchet? Fine men all but they have seen many many summers between them and doubtless employ the skills of clever tailors, yet no one wants to boot them off the screen.
“The successful legal actions brought by highly competent and professional women such as Anna Ford and Miriam Reilly against broadcasters on grounds of ageism seem to have done little to shift the thinking of the those who ‘terminate’ women’s contracts when they apparently stop being dolly mixtures and start being cough candy.
“I am very happy to pursue a policy which puts the best people in the job but not when the person spec has the hidden requirement to button on the right.”
SPOILER ALERT!! I haven’t watched Skyfall yet……………