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Julie Graham has said she wrote her groundbreaking series about the menopause to represent real women who are "largely ignored" on television.
Comedy drama Dun Breedin' was released last year on YouTube as the UK was plunged into lockdown. The all-female ensemble, who recorded the show in their own homes, is a "hot, sweaty, flushy and brutally honest" show about the menopause.
The show's writer, Benidorm and Shetland actor Julie Graham, has said she wanted to represent women over 50 who are only portrayed on television in "boring, unimaginative" ways.
Speaking about the series on a live recording of the White Wine Question Time podcast - along with cast members including Angela Griffin, Denise Welch, Tamzin Outhwaite, Alison Newman and Tracy-Ann Oberman - Graham revealed she wanted to "open a conversation" around the issue.
She said: "My main reason for writing the show was to write parts for brilliant women over the age of 45, 50. Because we are largely ignored on television unless we're battle-axes or we're someone's mum or someone's Granny or whatever.
"I've never really seen real female friendship reflected on television, it always feels kind of manufactured. I just never believe these women are friends.
WATCH: Julie Graham on why sexy, menopausal women were integral to her #AtHome drama, Dun Breedin
"So I wanted to reflect that but also have menopause as a backdrop to open that conversation and say: menopause, yeah, of course, it can be s**t. And it is s**t for a lot of people.
"But it's also an amazing time. Because a lot of us have already brought up our children or they're older, sometimes we're more financially well off, because we're spending less money on children.
"But we're also moving into a phases of our lives where we're just gorgeous, and we're sexy!"
Eastenders star Tamsin Outhwaite knew she wanted to be on board with the project from the beginning - but did say she blamed the show for the onset of her menopause.
She said: "Julie phoned me about a week into lockdown and said I've got this thing will you do it? And I said yes before I read it, because it's Julie. And you know she's gonna have been amazing.
"I didn't know anything about the menopause but I started reading the scripts. Then we filmed it all and I was definitely like: 'I want to do this on a weekly basis, work with these women, doing these scripts. Obviously not at home. But on a set.
"I didn't know much about the menopause. But I believe that the scripts brought my menopause on.
"I was like: '[I'm] 49 years old, don't know what you're all talking about. You're all really angry. You're all really sweaty. I'm really fine. I'm having the best time like in lockdown.'
"I've only started taking HRT since August and I believe it's because of Dun Breedin'."
Fellow star Tracy-Ann Oberman said her family did not help with filming, as the families of many other cast members did, but that she loved working with a group of women to represent the experience in a new way.
She said: "I read the scripts, I thought they were wonderful. What I loved about it, so early on in lockdown, here was a bunch of women led by Julie, all over 40, who were leading the idea of a lockdown piece of work.
"I thought that was incredible, because we're in an industry that would like to carve you out of existence past the age of 40.
"Yet this was a really cutting edge thing that was happening in lockdown and was really creative. So I was really excited to be a part of that with these incredible women."
She added: "The sexiest women I know, are women over 45-50. Because they know themselves, they own themselves. They look amazing, totally cool.
"They're the ones that you want to go up to at the party. And I don't think I'd seen a script where women were shown as being sexual, sexy, attractive, happy, living, wanting it all, as it was in this script. And I think that reflects life much more."
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