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Patricia Hodge, 74, believes there are still ‘limitations’ for actresses ‘of a certain age’

‘You’re a maiden aunt or you’ve got dementia!’ Patricia Hodge, 74, believes there are still ‘limitations’ for actresses ‘of a certain age’ as she reflects on role in All Creatures Great And Small


Patricia Hodge believes veteran actresses still face ‘limitations’ when it comes to the kinds of roles they are offered.

The 74-year-old thespian plays the role of Mrs Pumphrey in the All Creatures Great And Small reboot – and while she believes there are plenty of interesting roles for women these days, she has mused on her age-group being lumbered with ‘waspish’ characters.

‘I do think that there are more dramas created with interesting women at the heart of them. But there are still limitations within that, beyond a certain age,’ she told this week’s Radio Times.

‘You’re a maiden aunt or you’ve got dementia!’ Patricia Hodge believes veteran actresses still face ‘limitations’ when it comes to the kinds of roles they are offered

‘The roles now for people of my age are generally the maiden aunt who sits and makes waspish comments from the side of the ballroom, or else you’ve got dementia!

‘That’s why I go back to theatre, which gives you more opportunity to work with a good script.’

In the interview, she pondered on the show’s slower pace, and how it contrasts with modern dramas to allow for greater delicacy to show the complexities of human nature.

The Channel 5 drama, set in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s, sees Patricia take over the role from the late Dame Diana Rigg who died a year ago aged 82.

Current role: The 74-year-old thespian plays the role of Mrs Pumphrey in the All Creatures Great And Small reboot - and while she believes there are plenty of interesting roles for women these days, she has mused on her age-group being lumbered with 'waspish' characters

Current role: The 74-year-old thespian plays the role of Mrs Pumphrey in the All Creatures Great And Small reboot – and while she believes there are plenty of interesting roles for women these days, she has mused on her age-group being lumbered with ‘waspish’ characters

Stern: She played Lady Roche in Roadkill in 2020

Stern: She played Lady Roche in Roadkill in 2020

Mrs Pumphrey is the delightfully eccentric owner of pampered Pekingese, Tricki Woo.

Series 2 wrapped filming on location in Yorkshire earlier this summer, and All Creatures Great and Small viewers can expect more heart-warming adventures of young vet James Herriot (played by Nicholas Ralph, 31) and Helen Alderson (played by Rachel Shenton, 33) as their on-screen chemistry heats up. 

Series 2 is set three months since the events of the first series.

A trip back home to Glasgow to see his elderly presents James with a dilemma that will mean choosing between the people he loves. 

Maiden aunt: Mrs Pumphrey is the delightfully eccentric owner of pampered Pekingese, Tricki Woo

Maiden aunt: Mrs Pumphrey is the delightfully eccentric owner of pampered Pekingese, Tricki Woo 

Patricia said: 'The roles now for people of my age are generally the maiden aunt who sits and makes waspish comments from the side of the ballroom, or else you've got dementia'

Patricia said: ‘The roles now for people of my age are generally the maiden aunt who sits and makes waspish comments from the side of the ballroom, or else you’ve got dementia’

James and Helen join his unconventional mentor, Siegfried Farnon (played by Samuel West, 55), matriarch of Skeldale House Mrs Hall (played by Anna Madeley, 45) and Siegfried’s errant brother Tristan (played by Callum Woodhouse, 27).

Out now! Read the full interview in this week's Radio Times

Out now! Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times

As Helen and James navigate their feelings for one another, Siegfried, Tristan, and Mrs Hall are also forced to consider their places in the world, while James must ultimately decide between duty and love.  

All Creatures Great and Small is a timeless classic that continues to be much loved by generations. Never out of print, the books have become a global cultural phenomenon with devoted fans around the world.

With a sharp focus on community and its importance in our lives, Herriot’s world and spirit is a very much needed antidote to the challenges of modernity and reminds us all that belonging to a community makes us part of something greater than ourselves.

James Herriot’s iconic characters and life affirming stories led to a critically acclaimed debut on Channel 5 in 2020, with the first series consolidating at 4.7M viewers with an additional 1M tuning in for the Sunday repeat, at the time making it the channel’s highest rating launch for a drama commission ever.  

Series 2 of All Creatures Great and Small will consist of a further six episodes, plus a Christmas Special. 

Much-loved: The actress has taken over the role from Dame Diana Rigg who sadly died in September aged 82 (Pictured in series one of All Creatures Great And Small)

Much-loved: The actress has taken over the role from Dame Diana Rigg who sadly died in September aged 82 (Pictured in series one of All Creatures Great And Small)

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