Dervla Kirwan has criticised the lack of roles for older women.

The 39-year-old Irish actress, who starred in the popular series Ballykissangel and Goodnight Sweetheart and who will shortly be appearing in ITV1’s new crime drama Injustice, described the industry as a ‘desert’ and claimed that good roles are not being written for women amid fears that dramas with female leads will not be commissioned.£

Dervla said: “There is a complete shortage of work for women of my age and it’s very worrying. It’s very tricky – it’s a desert-like experience out there.”

She added: “How many male detectives were on last year? It was basically Miss Marple and 15 other detectives that were all men. It’s not me banging on the gender drum or claiming sexism, it’s just fact.”

“But it’s the scripts that have male leads that have been commissioned. Writers know that unless they’ve got Julie Walters, the drama is not going to be made. Reality shows are cheap telly; good dramas are very expensive to make.”

However, Dervla added that, despite the lack of roles in the UK, she could never move to Los Angeles for work.

“LA? Not in a million years. You can smell the desperation. It’s hideous!”

Injustice begins on Monday at 9pm on ITV1, showing over five consecutive nights.