“I’m afraid a lot of men have a concept of women as they become older as being rather dreary and rather grey and not having any kind of life or personality, and therefore there is a danger that writers don’t write lively parts for older women. That’s a problem.”Here's a response from Gail Renard, Chair of the Guild's Television Committee:
Sheila Hancock, you’re one of our finest actresses and I’d love to write something... anything... for you. But the problem lies with the executives and decision makers, not with the writers. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve written something in comedy for an older woman and execs turn her into a Cheryl Cole clone which, let me tell you, doesn’t make for great storytelling or dialogue.
And every time there is a strong woman lead in a series (i.e: Emilia Fox in Silent Witness); she has to be surrounded by more men than you would find in a public urinal. Older women characters are often merely barking. And I can’t wait to see how they cast the “Susan Boyle Story.”
Trust me, writers are with you all the way. There are questions currently being asked about gender inequality in the business and the Guild is highly active on this. The problem you describe extends to women writers and directors as well.
But just one thought. You’re a splendid writer yourself. Why not join the Writers’ Guild and help us win the fight?