British actress Phyllis Logan, centre, star of Downton Abbey takes a picture with fans on the red carpet at the launch of an exhibition about the television series at the Marina Bay Sands on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in Singapore. (AP Photo/Joseph Nair)
British actress Phyllis Logan, centre, star of Downton Abbey takes a picture with fans on the red carpet at the launch of an exhibition about the television series at the Marina Bay Sands on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in Singapore. (AP Photo/Joseph Nair)
File photo: "Nobody tells you anything about the menopause"
File photo: "Nobody tells you anything about the menopause"

Downtown Abbey star Phyllis Logan has described suffering with the menopause in her mid-40s as ‘hellish’, but admitted her relief that she’d had a child before it started.

The Scottish actress, now 61, said that although her experience is now a ‘thing of the past’, she knows many women of a similar age struggle with the change.

Logan, who played Hughes in the ITV drama, said she is ‘delighted’ the menopause is being addressed head-on in upcoming ITV series Girlfriends.

She said it was ‘long overdue’ to see a TV drama covering the menopause and other issues affecting middle-aged women.

Logan added: ‘I unfortunately started [with the menopause] when I was in my mid-40s. So it’s a bit of a thing of the past now. Thank god I managed to cram out a child before that.

‘It affects so many people. And the older you get the more people you know are suffering?...?It’s hellish really. I’m delighted [it’s in this drama], long overdue isn’t it?’

In the first episode of Girlfriends, which airs in the New Year, Zoe Wanamaker’s character is shown dabbing at her neck, experiencing a hot flush and discussing her ‘mood swings’. The eight-part series, also starring Miranda Richardson, will address age discrimination and the ‘sandwich generation’, which refers to people who care for older and younger relatives.

Logan, who lives with her husband, actor Kevin McNally, in Chiswick, west London, discussed the fear of ageing that is portrayed by several characters in the drama.

Asked if she felt that her career may have an end point, she said: ‘It might be thinner on the ground, some of the jobs, but there’s always room for 60-plus, 70-plus women?...?For the time being I’m feeling quite positive.’

However, she said she is currently not letting her hair go grey, explaining: ‘I’m trying not to have grey hair. One of these days I’m going to let it go altogether.’ Meanwhile, Bafta-winning screenwriter Kay Mellor, who is writing the show, said that ‘nobody tells you anything’ about the menopause and she wanted to include the topic in the drama so ‘it’s not a shock’.

Mellor, who was awarded the BAFTA Dennis Potter award in 1997 for Outstanding Writing for Television, said she wanted to ‘celebrate’ middle-aged women.

She added: ‘Nobody tells you anything [about the menopause]. I thought “I’ll write a programme about it”.

‘I want to write about it. I celebrate it, and I think it’s a good thing. Every stage in a woman’s life is an amazing thing. We need to talk about stuff so that it’s not a shock.’