Actress/writer Meera Syal says if she wants a good role, she has to write one.

“I never set out to become a writer, but I ended up writing and performing my own material because there weren’t any parts for me,” she says.

The Goodness Gracious Me and Kumars star reveals that good dramatic roles aren’t always easy to come by, even for an established actress.

“An actor friend once said to me, ‘Let’s face it, love, we’re too old, too fat and the wrong colour!'” she says.

“Happily at the moment I’m disproving her theory but I still think women, especially Asian women, have got a long way to go. Generally it’s a lack of imagination on the part of producers rather than a concerted campaign to discriminate.”

The author of films such as Bhaji On The Beach and the hit musical Bombay Dreams will be back on our screens on Thursday, July 10 in UKTV’s When Were We Funniest?, making the case for the 1970s as the best decade for comedy.