Amanda Donohoe has admitted that some members of the acting profession sneer at the land of soap.

The Hollywood actress makes her debut alongside her on-screen husband Maxwell Caulfield in Emmerdale this week.

She told The Times: “Many actors are quite snobby about soap opera acting, and I can tell you right now that it takes a great deal of talent, experience and good acting to get through it.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to use these actors in any other format because they’re bloody good at what they do.”

Amanda went on to deplore the lack of solid roles for actresses over the age of 40, saying: “Where is it? Where the hell is it? These are women who run the country, run the families, run the businesses, and they’re being ignored.

“I don’t see anything else being written for women of my age, and believe me I’m fed up with playing detectives.”

She continued: “How many times can you do an interview scene? The irony is that it’s the criminals who get all the great dialogue. You’re just sitting there going, ‘And where were you last Thursday, madam?'”

The actress, who found fame on the controversial movie Castaway, opposite Oliver Reed, said of her hellraising co-star: “He could be a pussycat. But Olly sabotaged himself over and over again with the alcohol.

“When I saw him sober, he was morose. He became sparky and fiery after a few drinks, and then he just went into overdrive, into a no man’s land of behaviour. You didn’t know whether he was going to kiss you or hit you.”

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