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Monday, 27 November, 2000, 02:40 GMT
Pensioners 'dislike' TV stereotypes
Victor (Richard Wilson) and Margaret (Annette Crosbie) Meldrew
Seniors are fed up with being either 'sweet' or 'grumpy'
Pensioners are fed up with being stereotyped on television as grumpy Victor Meldrews or sweet little old ladies, according to a study.

Older viewers want to see a more varied portrayal of the over-65s, research by TV regulator the Independent Television Commission and the charity Age Concern, reveals.

Of the over-65s surveyed, 55% wanted to see more elderly faces, and particularly older women, on screen.

The study, Age in the Frame, also found older people have a voracious appetite for TV, with a third of those aged above 65 saying they watch more than they did a decade ago.


We don't suddenly find that all we want to watch is Songs of Praise

Viewer in his 70s
But they want to watch the same shows as everybody else rather than programmes aimed specifically at them, the research found.

One viewer in his 70s said: "People our age like the same range of things as anybody else.

"We don't suddenly find that all we want to watch is Songs of Praise.

"We like the same things we liked when we were younger.

"I like The Royle Family and Have I Got News For You, just like my grandson."

A viewer in her 60s said of her movie preferences: "I like a good violent American thriller - the type of thing with Al Pacino."

Age Concern director general, Gordon Lishman, said programme makers must produce shows that reflect the age range of the viewers.


I like a good violent American thriller - the type of thing with Al Pacino

Viewer in her 60s
"Within 25 years, most of the adult population will be over 50," he said.

"Most people feel that the 25-40 age group is the best served by television.

"Is it just a coincidence that this is the age group most programme-makers fall into?"

ITC chief executive Patricia Hodgson said: "Television needs to serve and represent older viewers as well as every other section of the population.

"This doesn't always happen and the ITC, with Age Concern, is encouraging broadcasters to recognise why it is in their interests to do so."

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See also:

13 May 00 | UK Politics
Drop Meldrew image, BBC told
08 Sep 99 | UK
TV ageism on the rise
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