Oscar winning actress Dame Judi Dench has won a prestigious Older People in the Media Award for her role in the film Philomena.

Dame Judi Dench said of receiving the award, "It can't possibly be for me - I've only been in the business for 60 years. Thank you very much indeed for this award.”

The journalist and broadcaster John Sergeant hosted the special ceremony at The British Library in London yesterday evening, where 10 Older People in the Media Awards were announced.

The awards, which are organised by older people’s charity, Independent Age, and sponsored by care provider, Barchester Healthcare, recognise and reward excellence in the coverage of older people’s issues. They aim to encourage wider public debate about older people in society, and the issues affecting them.

Dame Judi’s award for Best Older Person’s Character in a Film, TV or Radio Drama is a special category, voted on exclusively by users of Gransnet, the social network for the UK’s 14 million grandparents.

Dame Judi Dench was awarded the title for her role as Philomena, in the true story of Philomena Lee, an Irish Catholic woman and her efforts to find the son she was forced to give up for adoption. The rest of the nominees in Dame Judi’s category were Roger Allam, who was nominated for his role of Fred Thursday in ITV’s Endeavour, Stephen Rea for Sir Hugh Hayden-Hoyle in BBC2’s The Honourable Woman, Timothy West for Stan Carter in BBC1’s EastEnders, and Sarah Lancashire for Catherine Cawood in BBC1’s Happy Valley.

Other Older People in the Media Award winners included AA Gill, the writer and critic, who picked up the title for Best Factual Newspaper or Magazine Article about Older People’s Issues. Mr Gill’s article in the Sunday Times, Life at 60, is a thoughtful portrayal of reaching an age milestone.

AA Gill on hearing he had won the award, said, “I am of course grateful to be given this award. I am very aware that there is little grown-up writing for or about the aged. It is all telling us to stay as young as possible, that 60 is the new 40. It isn't. And anyway I hated being 40. Age is what it is, and it is childish and patronising to pretend we can wish it away. Mostly I am pleased to get this award because frankly there aren't going to be that many gong opportunities left to me.”

Meanwhile BBC1’s: Panorama, Behind Closed Doors: Elderly Care Exposed, which highlighted the appalling mistreatment of elderly people in care homes shared the Best Factual TV Programme about Older People’s Issues Award with Channel 4’s Fabulous Fashionistas. The documentary, directed by Sue Bourne, explores the art of ageing and fashion from the perspective of six inspiring older women.

John Sergeant, Host and Chair of Judges for the Older People in the Media Awards 2014, said, “The evening’s Older People in the Media Awards has celebrated the amazing contribution that older people make to our society. It also highlighted the very worst treatment that older people can receive as a result of being elderly. All of the coverage the judges saw, read and listened to reminds us that no matter how old someone may be, they should be equally valued and respected by us all.”

Janet Morrison, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said, “It was a landslide victory for Dame Judi Dench. She won because people loved her portrayal of someone who was at once kindhearted, stubborn, forgiving and dignified. What’s great about all of the nominations is that they raise different and important issues around ageing. These awards also show that older people can be central, fascinating figures, who are capable of holding the limelight in their own right.”

Dr Pete Calveley, CEO at Barchester Healthcare, said, “This is the third year that Barchester have supported Independent Age's Older People in the Media Awards and we are extremely proud to be involved. From the inspirational work of Dame Judi Dench to the personal blogs of Pippa Kelly, this year’s winners highlight a wide range of important issues. It’s vital to continue to applaud the very best in the media on issues affecting older people, and I’m hopeful that these issues will receive increased attention across new and traditional media platforms.”

More information about the Older People in the Media Awards 2014, including full details of this year’s shortlisters and winners, can be found at www.independentage.org

For media enquiries, contact Rebecca Law on 020 7605 4291 or 07545 209 589, or email rebecca.law@independentage.org

Notes to editor

Photograph of Dame Judi Dench as Philomena attached. Please credit Pathé

Older People in the Media Awards 2014 Winners:

1) Best Factual Newspaper or Magazine Article about Older People’s Issues


Life at 60, by AA Gill, The Sunday Times

Highly commended:

Clearing Out My Parents’ House for the Final Time Brought a Certain Serenity, by Deborah Orr, The Guardian

2) Best use of Photography to Illustrate Older People’s Issues


Trading Outfits by Qozop, featured on Demilked.com

Highly commended:

 Elderly Couple Through the Seasons, by Ken Griffiths, carried by the Vintage Festival

3) Best Coverage of Issues around Dementia (Barchester special award)


The Saddest Goodbye: picture book by Tony Husband, carried in The Mail and the Mail Online

Highly commended:

 BBC Essex, Sadie Nine: Virtual Dementia Tour

4) Best Factual New Media Content (Written) about Older People’s Issues


Pippa Kelly… blog by Pippa Kelly

5) Best Factual New Media Content (Video) about Older People’s Issues


The Hen Men, by Meerkat Films

Highly commended:  

Bungalows and Biscuits, by Hollie McNish, on YouTube

6) Best Factual Radio Programme about Older People’s Issues


You & Yours BBC Radio 4: for their series of reports focusing on older people’s issues

7) Best Independent Voice on Older People’s Issues (Independent Age special award)


Anne Karpf

8) Best Older Person’s Character in a Film, TV or Radio Drama (Gransnet special award, voted on by the readers of Gransnet)


Dame Judi Dench for Philomena

9) Best Factual TV Programme about Older People’s Issues

Joint Winner:  

BBC1: Panorama, Behind Closed Doors: Elderly Care Exposed

Joint Winner:  

Channel 4: Fabulous Fashionistas

10) ‘The Thorn Award’: Worst Example of Stereotyping, Factual Error or Misleading Information in the Coverage of Older People’s Issues


The Times 2 for carrying Old People – 10 Ways For You to be More Useful, by Deborah Ross

About Independent Age:

Founded over 150 years ago, Independent Age is a growing charity helping older people across the UK and Ireland through the ‘A, B, C’ of advice, befriending and campaigning. We offer a free national telephone and email advice service focusing on social care, welfare benefits and befriending services, which is supported by a wide range of printed guides and factsheets. This is integrated with on-the-ground, local support, provided by a network of over 1,500 volunteers offering one-to-one and group befriending. For more information, visit our website www.independentage.org Speak to one of our advisers for free and confidential advice and information. Lines are open Monday to Friday between 10am - 4pm. Freephone 0800 319 6789 or email advice@independentage.org

About Barchester Healthcare:

Barchester Healthcare is recognised as a major UK care provider that is committed to delivering high-quality care across its care homes and hospitals. The organisation has adapted and grown over the last 21 years, focusing on older people needing nursing care in high-quality environments and providing personalised support for adults of all ages with a range of disabilities. We pride ourselves on our expert dementia care. Our Memory Lane Communities are designed to encourage people living with dementia to stay as independent and active as possible. We understand that no two people are the same and take a person-centred care approach, recognising and celebrating each person's individuality. Barchester employs almost 17,000 people to care for more than 10,000 individuals at more than 200 locations in the UK. We are the only care provider listed in The Sunday Times 25 Best Big Companies To Work For 2014 and are certified as one of Britain’s Top Employers for 2014. In our most recent customer satisfaction survey 95% of respondents said that nurses and carers “treat residents with dignity and respect”.* For more information, please visit www.barchester.com *Results from more than 4,000 residents, relatives and healthcare professionals surveyed in September 2012 by Interplay Solutions.

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