Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Unfair competition

Actress Patricia Hodge (66) can’t get starring roles any more and blames the Dames. She told the Cheltenham Literary Festival:
“It is very difficult for us who are in this age group to talk about it because it makes you sound like an embittered old woman,” she said.
“Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave and Maggie Smith are on a level where they will always get work because whatever is on offer will go to them first.”
Which reminds me: nearly 30 years ago I was accosted one evening in Victoria Street West, Auckland outside RKS gallery – it must have been a Tuesday for that is when the art galleries had their openings with free wine – by the writer Michael Morrissey. He was aggrieved that I had a column in the Listener and he didn’t. He felt this was unfair: people like me and Tom Scott who had columns in the Listener were blocking people like him who deserved to have columns in the Listener, and we should get out of the way. Good luck with telling Tom that, I thought.

Many years later, when I was a magazine editor, I realised that the two essential skills of the job are knowing when to reject a story or a writer, and spotting the real talent among possible replacements. As in real life, one has to know whom to court, when to say yes, and when to say no. 


Stephanie said...

I'm not sure if NZ gets 'Miranda' a Brit sitcom staring Miranda Someone, a tall comedian who also starred in 'Midwives'...Patricia Hodges plays her mother, in a not very well written part/role. I love to see her but there is not much for her to work with, more a foil for Miranda. As a number of Brit sitcom support roles do. Sadly. She still looks younger than she is, unlike the Dames (I mean, Bill Nighy and Dame Judy 'falling in love' in Marigold Hotel, I ask you!Did you believe that?). Perhaps when she gets a bit older, the roles will come.

macdoctor said...

The competition for acting roles works like this at all ages. The big name star gets the plum role. Ms hodges problem is that roles for older women are thin on the ground.