The Telegraph: Timothy West
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Timothy West: casting directors think I’m dead.

By Anita Singh, Showbusiness Editor

Timothy West may be a familiar face to many viewers, but the actor says he is “dead” to young casting directors these days.

Timothy West, the award-winning actor, has complained that he struggles to find work on television because casting directors have forgotten he is still alive.

West, 78, became a household name in the 1970s when he played the lead role in ITV’s Edward VII drama. He starred in Brass in the 1980s and is a veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company and many West End productions.

However, his television appearances these days tend to be bit parts. In an interview for the Sky Arts programme Living The Dream, West said: “I became an actor because I liked playing other people. I started off in weekly rep, which is 45 plays a year, and so you learned versatility.

“Now versatility counts against you. I don’t get very much work on television now simply because I haven’t done very much work on television lately.

“The casting directors want you to have been on screen in the last month looking exactly as you do now, otherwise it confuses them.

“Mostly, casting directors are very bright, young people with quite short memories and to them I’m dead.”

Getting in to see people at the BBC is now nigh on impossible, he added. “You used to call in to the BBC if you knew anybody, and you went to Broadcasting House and they said, ‘Oh, sign this,’ and you just went up.

“Now you have to pass armed guards and police and Doberman Pinschers.”

West, who is married to actress Prunella Scales, said acting had not made the couple particularly rich.

In the interview, to be broadcast tomorrow, he said: “People have a funny idea how much ordinary actors like ourselves earn.

“They now catch us on a bus. We go everywhere by public transport because it makes sense, it’s quicker, and we’ve got our Freedom Pass.”

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