Timothy West: Film roles for pensioners shouldn't just be about old people's homes

 

Timothy West has warned that older actors are still being typecast despite a raft of new films featuring them.

The stage and screen star, 78, has just been cast in his first science-fiction film and is appearing in Coronation Street as carpet salesman Eric.

West said that he was pleased to see a recent rise of movies, such as Quartet, set in a retirement home for classical musicians, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which features British retirees taking up residence in an Indian hotel, starring actors of his generation.

But he told the Radio Times: "I do hope they aren't all going to be about old people's homes....older people do have lives in other places.

"It's a nice thing to see happening and it's true that a lot of traditional cinema audiences are older, because a lot of younger people watch the DVD or online."

But the star, who criticised casting directors with short memories, added: "There again, I suspect it'll all be, 'What have we got for Judi Dench? What have we got for Penelope Wilton?"'

He joked: "I suppose some of us may get a look in..."

He criticised casting directors for only signing up faces which they currently see on the TV, saying: "It's their memory - the producers are going for known faces in very predictable characters.

"I think it's unfair to audiences, who get patronised and don't see anything new. And it's extra-ordinarily unfair to writers to feel that whatever they write, it's just going to be played the same old way."

West, who is married to actress Prunella Scales, dismissed all three main political parties' attitudes to the arts, film and TV, saying: "I can't remember the last arts minister who really knew anything about the arts or cared.... it seems to be a sort of parking place for them before they get moved on to something else."

The Brass, Goodnight Sweetheart and Not Going Out star last year appeared in ITV drama Titanic, penned by Julian Fellowes.

He said that Fellowes "surprised us all by saying he was going to write about the ordinary steerage people. We all thought, 'Does Julian know any ordinary steerage people?'

"I thought he was doing a dangerously daring thing in telling the same story four times over. It's intriguing in a thriller when you want to know whodunnit but you know they hit an iceberg...

PA

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen