Carol Harrison has reflected on her time on EastEnders, sharing the real reason she thinks she was axed by show bosses. The TV star played Louise Raymond, the selfish mother of Martine McCutcheon's character Tiffany Mitchell from 1998 to 1999. She was in her early forties when she joined the soap and believes her age contributed to her sacking.
"The attitude was you're in your 40s, you're mutton. I think that's why EastEnders got rid of me – I was considered past it," Carol told the Mirror. "I was at the top of my game, I should've got offered fabulous roles, sadly that didn't happen. The driving force was ageism and classism. There were jibes in the script about why would anyone want to go with Louise when she was so old."
Carol played the mother of Martine McCutcheon's character Tiffany Mitchell
One of Carol's most famous storylines saw her character have an affair with her daughter's husband Grant, played by Ross Kemp. "It was alright for a man to have a younger woman, but for an older woman to be with an older man was seen as disgusting," she said. "Once you reached your 40s you sort of went from being a desirable woman to someone who was desperate."
During an appearance on This Morning on Wednesday, Carol also revealed that she found out she had been axed after seeing it in the press. "There was kind of a stigma about an older woman and that you're a cougar," she told Holly Willoughby and Phillip Scofield. "I suddenly became, from desirable, desperate. I couldn't understand it at first. It was very confusing. There weren't many parts for a woman like me at that age. They dried up." She added: "It was an age thing."
Carol, now 64, didn't give up on showbiz and instead went back to university, where she completed a Master's degree in screenwriting. She is currently starring in The Thunder Girls on stage, alongside Coronation Street's Beverley Callard. "Acting is my first love and it feels like I can love again. I was on the scrap heap, and now I am back," she said. "This role is very much going to show the people who passed me by 20 years ago that they were wrong."
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