The star was hired to play tough female detective Jane Tennison in the 1990s cop series when she was 46, and is adamant the show helped her survive in the industry when many of her peers were struggling to find work.
She tells Good Housekeeping magazine, ""I don't know if it's too few parts or too few actresses. It's a difficult time in a woman's career and I've seen that with many brilliant colleagues who started out the same time as me. They were very successful during their 30s and I'm talking now about very successful theatre actresses with an incredible history of experience, not somebody who did a TV show in their teens.
""But suddenly in their 40s and 50s there seems to be less and less work for them and it seems to be more difficult to earn a living as an actress. I was so lucky that I had Prime Suspect to get me through that. Because of it I got asked to do movies and could have a theatre presence, and here I am still in the business so to speak.""