Beverley Callard reveals she once heard sexist TV colleagues call older actress 'condemned meat'

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·3 min read
Beverley Callard on the set of 'Coronation Street'. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Beverley Callard on the set of 'Coronation Street'. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Coronation Street legend Beverley Callard has revealed her experiences of sexism and ageism in the TV industry, including hearing an older actress referred to as "condemned meat" prior to a romantic scene.

The 63-year-old has played Rovers Return landlady Liz McDonald on and off since 1989, but left the show last year and has no plans to return for a final farewell.

She made her first TV appearance in rival soap Emmerdale in 1983 after a brief stage career and has been a stalwart on British telly ever since.

Read more: Callard on recovery from nervous breakdown

Speaking to The Sun, she revealed a moment of TV sexism she witnessed earlier in his career, but did not specify whether it was related to Corrie or another show.

"The man and the woman were both in their 60s and they were about to go into a kissing scene," said Callard.

"Some of the men in the Green Room, where all the actors sit, said about the woman: ‘Oh dear, condemned meat.’"

Watch: Beverley Callard discusses her battle with depression

Callard went on to explain that this particular occasion is symptomatic of broader issues with sexist and ageist attitudes in television. 

She added: “I’ve heard producers say: ‘Oh no, she’s past her sell-by date now.’ I think more often than not, in any miniseries or film, you will have the husband who is 55, with a 30-year-old wife.

"It’s so ageist. If they did that the other way round, with a 60-year-old woman with a 35 year-old husband, she would instantly be called a cougar."

Read more: Nathalie Emmanuel reveals sexism on Game of Thrones set

Callard added that the industry is now "chipping away" at these sexist attitudes, but that progress on that front is not moving fast enough.

The star was speaking at an online live event to mark the launch of author Melanie Blake's new book Ruthless Women.

Beverley Callard attends the TV Now Awards on May 22, 2010. (Photo by Phillip Massey/FilmMagic)
Beverley Callard attends the TV Now Awards on May 22, 2010. (Photo by Phillip Massey/FilmMagic)

Callard added that COVID-19 lockdown has helped her to make the decision to firmly close the door on playing Liz after more than three decades.

"I’ve really begun to enjoy my life and I don’t want to be working 12 hours a day, 48 weeks a year," said the star.

Read more: Callard reveals raunchy pet name for partner on I'm a Celeb

“It feels really empowering. We all spend our lives, more often than not, doing what we are told at work and I don’t want to do that anymore."

She revealed that Liz may now be given an off-screen death, admitting that the character survived previously because producers hoped she would return one day.

Watch: Callard awkwardly slams Vernon Kay's show on I'm a Celebrity