Cherie Lunghi: 'I'm counting my blessings with this role'

Cherie Lunghi talks to TV Times magazine about how her new ITV comedy drama Pat & Cabbage (Thursday) is championing ladies of a certain age...

You play Cabbage in this new drama; a woman in her 60s whose husband has run off with his water-ski instructor! How does the show portray women of that age?

"It reflects what’s going on at our time. Women are discovering a new lease of life. There’s a lot of ageism around, but there are people from the Sixties and Seventies, from the cool time, the hippies and what have you, who are young at heart now hitting that age and throwing the old ideas of what it means to be 60 up in the air and not just sinking into obscurity."

How do you feel about continuing the trend for programmes to revolve around the antics of older women, following shows like Last Tango in Halifax?

"It’s fantastic. Unfortunately it’s still unusual so we remark on it. Hopefully there will come a time when we don’t need to remark on it. But Barbara Flynn and I are counting our blessings. There aren’t a lot of these roles around."

Do you think anything is changing, though?

"Yes. The lives of women of our generation are becoming more interesting to commissioners. Women are a large part of the audience and they want to see their lives reflected on screen."

What's the relationship like between Pat & Cabbage?

"They’re helping each other find out what this next chapter in their lives is all about. As Pat’s husband has died, it’s harder for her because she has to mourn him, so Cabbage just gets her out there and says shake off the blues. Cabbage is the ringleader – she’d have been the leader of the gang at school who was always getting into trouble!"