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Julia Sawalha announces devastating news during lockdown

The actress is best known for playing Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous

Hanna Fillingham

Julia Sawalha has penned an emotional letter on social media after finding out that she wasn't chosen to reprise her lead role as Ginger in the Chicken Run sequel because she was told her voice is "too old." The Absolutely Fabulous star wrote that she was "devastated and furious" at not being in the next film, having played the character in the 2000 animated original. In the open letter, Nadia Sawalha's younger sister wrote: "Last week I was informed out of the blue, via email, through my agent that I would not be cast as Ginger in the Chicken Run sequel. The reason they gave is that my voice now sounds 'too old' and they want a younger actress to reprise the role."

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VIDEO: Julia Sawalha and the Ab Fab cast talk about the movie 

Julia went on to write that she would normally have been asked to do a voice test, but that she hadn't been given the opportunity. As a result, the actress did her own voice test and sent it to the producers. The star added the link to her test in the letter for fans to listen to, but unfortunately was still told that she wasn't going to be given the role.

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Julia Sawalha wrote an open letter on social media after being told she was 'too old' to star in the Chicken Run sequel

The actress went on to explain that she then received a response from a creative working on the sequel, who agreed that her voice "didn't sound older" but that they would still be going ahead to recast the role.

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Julia at the Chicken Run premiere in 2000 with sister Nadia Sawalha and their dad Nadim

Julia then voiced her feelings in her letter: "To say I am devastated and furious would be an understatement. I feel totally powerless, something in all of this doesn't quite ring true. I trust my instincts and they are waving red flags. I am saddened that I have lost the chance to work with Nick Park and Peter Lord for whom I learnt so much. The three of us, together, created Ginger.

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"Today I responded by wishing the production the best of luck and the greatest success with the sequel. There is nothing more I can do, other that to thank all of you who loved and still love Chicken Run, as I do."

Julia signed the letter off by writing: "I'm off for the chop now, Ginger x." Fans were quick to send the Jonathan Creek star messages of support, with one writing: "There is no chicken run without our Julia. No we will not be watching, that's for sure," while another added: "There is no difference in your voice," a third added: "Really upset to see this, hope they reconsider."

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