Emmerdale-turned-Hollyoaks actress Claire King has said that there is a lack of decent roles on TV for women over 40 – except when it comes to soaps.

The 49-year-old, who played Kim Tate in Emmerdale for 10 years, had a recent cameo in the Chester-based soap as a prison governor – and admitted competition for older women’s roles was fierce.

“There isn’t enough drama on TV and when there is, the roles for women over 40 are few and far between, so then you’ve got hundreds, if not thousands all going for the same role,” Claire said.

“I think soaps are good for women because they always write for strong women. That’s always been the case in Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Hollyoaks as well.

However she did admit that good parts elsewhere could be hard to fine.

“I think it’s very good for those, but as far as drama’s concerned the roles are definitely few and far between and you start becoming invisible after 35 if your boobs aren’t as pert as they were and you’re not a size eight,” Claire said. It just seems to be about looks these days.

“I’d like to see it change, because we’ve seen Desperate Housewives – they’re all in their 40s – you can write for older women and it’s just as interesting as having young kids.”

And Claire added that there was one show she had set her sights on – hit ITV1 drama Downton Abbey – if she coulc just persuade creator Julian Fellowes to give her a part.

“I love Downton I think it’s absolutely fabulous,” she revealed. “It’s set in Yorkshire and they should give me job because I’m from Yorkshire. Stop getting all these southerners in there!”