Midsomer Murders star Annette Badland has said she is relishing the chance to play an older woman who “has a mind” and “can give the boys as good as they get” on mainstream TV.
The actress, 69, is returning as pathologist Fleur Perkins in the new series of the ITV detective drama.
She said: “It is wonderful to play a woman who is not young, who has a mind, who has lovers and a sex life and who has interesting hobbies and can give the boys as good as they get!
“When I first joined people referred to Fleur as a ‘battle-axe’ but Neil (co-star Neil Dudgeon) said, ‘If she were a man people would just say she is good at her job.’
“So in an elegant and non-aggressive way we are reminding people that believe it or not, there are quite a few of us women around.”
Badland joined Midsomer Murders last year, in the show’s 20th series.
She said some of the highlights of the job are “being in something that fans continue to enjoy, the camaraderie on set and the generosity within the whole group”.
“The world is getting tougher and Midsomer, for all its deaths, is a very kind place to live,” she said.
“They have values about people and how they’re treated, there is a great deal of humanity on set.”
As well as praising the current cast, the actress said there is one star she would like to see film a guest role – Tom Hardy.
“Why not?” she said.
“I haven’t worked with him but I would like to and I would certainly like him on the slab.
“He is top of my list.”
The new series of Midsomer Murders will air this year.