We’re currently living through what’s been dubbed the ‘golden age’ of television, thanks to hugely popular shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, House Of Cards and Game Of Thrones.

It’s great news for TV fans – and actor Emily Watson also thinks it’s positive for older women in the industry.

The 53-year-old – who most recently appeared on TV as Ulana Khomyuk in Chernobyl – told PA: "For actresses of my age, TV has been a lifesaver, because of the renaissance of writing in TV, because suddenly there are really great leading interesting roles.

"And really just the audience for TV is properly diverse and wants to see everything represented, and that’s beginning to happen."

Emily Watson (Ian West/PA)
Emily Watson (Ian West/PA)

She continued: "Whereas when I started out my career [was] in film and there was very much a sense that it was going to be diminishing returns.

"You get into your late 30s, early 40s, you’d be playing mums and then it just petered out.

"Hollywood is an ageist, sexist old pig, it just is, and the world of TV is very, very different to that."

Below, we have listed just some of the blockbuster TV shows shining a light on older women in recent years. However, it is important to note that women of colour are not still not being well represented in television. Hopefully, we'll begin to see a better representation of all people at all ages in the near future.

1. Grace and Frankie

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If you want a show which truly celebrates what it’s like to be an older women without shying away from any of the big issues, look no further than Grace and Frankie. Starring 82-year-old Jane Fonda and 81-year-old Lily Tomlin, the duo are an unlikely pair thrown together after their husbands announce they’re in love.

It’s a funny and touching look at female friendship and beginning your life all over again, whilst also touching upon serious topics facing women of a certain age: from the taboo around female pleasure to dealing with your children constantly worrying about you.

2. Big Little Lies

Many of the main characters in Big Little Lies are women over 50 – both Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern are 53, and 71-year-old Meryl Streep joined the cast for the second series.

The show is about the close-knit, privileged community of Monterey in California, with the first series centring around a murder investigation. Big Little Lies has been praised for its multifaceted portrayal of women of all ages, shying away from outdated stereotypes.

3. Happy Valley

This crime drama set in northern England features 55-year-old Sarah Lancashire as police sergeant Catherine. Police procedurals are a familiar sight on TV, but this show is refreshing in starring a woman over 50 as the lead character searching for justice. Lancashire won the award for Best Actress at the 2017 Baftas for her role in Happy Valley.

Once you’ve caught up with the first two series, you’ll have to be patient because a third is in the works.

4. The Crown

The Crown is Netflix’s blockbuster historical drama tracking the life of Queen Elizabeth II. As the action is in chronological order, older female characters will really come into their own in the later seasons.

Olivia Colman, 46, has picked up the role of the Queen in middle age for series three and the upcoming fourth season, and earlier this year it was announced 64-year-old Imelda Staunton would take on the character for the fifth and final series. There are plenty of other interesting female characters, like 54-year-old Helena Bonham Carter who currently plays Princess Margaret.

5. Call The Midwife

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Call The Midwife has been running since 2012, and there’s a reason the BBC show is so popular. It follows a group of midwives in London in the late 1950s and early 1960s, with plenty of strong female characters to keep you interested.

There is a large proportion of older actors in starring roles, including 67-year-old Jenny Agutter as Sister Julienne and 84-year-old Judy Parfitt as Sister Monica Joan.