Over 50's Grandparents Back With A Bang

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Yippee folks! What a time to be over 50. Suddenly we are not rejects but recognised for what we always knew we were in the first place; active, fun loving adventurous grandparent types with enough cash to buy all the latest computerised gizmos and holiday in China rather than Clacton.

The kids have flown the nest, to have their own little fledglings but our ambition and zest for life hasn't flown with them. In fact they are the ones with the stress, poor things, what with recession, government cutbacks, rising prices, global warming and having to face the consequences of a UK coalition government for a long time yet. Issues which we jolly older folks only need to give a passing nod to. We are too busy having fun.

We are now termed Mappies which apparently stands for Mature, Affluent, Pioneering People with a Youthful Enthusiasm undreamt of by our parents who were ready to curl up under their zimmers by the time they'd hit 60. In Sweden, where the term Mappie originated, they even have their own magazine called M which states that better health is the key factor in our continued vigour. That's the reason why, incidentally, the testosterone is still pulsing around our bodies at a rare old rate, arousing our spirits and other things.

Our role models are Susan Sarandon and old groovy hips, Mick Jagger, neither of whom show any signs of starting to dribble. In fact Susan and other sex symbols like Helen Mirren still look rather cool in their bikinis. I have to say, though I'm not certain I want to see Mick in a thong.

Our labels have changed over the years. We started as Hippies then became Yuppies and now the rather fetching Mappie. So stick your Mappie chest out and be proud. And now a big breakthrough among those who pretended we didn't exist. Yes, my friends, the TV broadcasters. You may have noticed how the big UK TV channels largely ignore us, as if anyone over 40 doesn't inhabit the planet. As a broadcast journalist myself, I have a bit of inside knowledge. The theory at the BBC and ITV, the UK's primary TV channels, is basically that the target audience has to be between 18 and 35.

The argument goes that it is these youngsters who have the money and buy up all the latest gadgets. This pleases advertisers. The trouble is that this age group largely doesn't watch much TV. Instead they are out clubbing or on computers playing games or surfing social network sites. Also, it's proven that it is, in fact, the over 50's today who have 80% of the buying power in the UK. All this partly explains why the big broadcasters are losing audience every day. So apart from rare exceptions like the iconic Coronation Street and an odd gardening show, the rest of TV programming is all "yoof" related and the more experienced familiar presenters are put out to grass. Of course in The States you are not regarded as a true pro as a presenter until you hit late 60's or 70's. Look at Letterman and the like.

But now the BBC has been caught out with its policy of getting rid of people with a hint of a wrinkle. Miriam O'Reilly won her case against the corporation after she claimed she was sacked for being too old at 51. The BBC is recognising its mistake and hopefully our age group will be seen again. This should mark the Mappies TV comeback in the UK. I can't wait.

In fact I'm ready for my TV presentational return, so excuse me while I toddle off to trim my toupé, get fitted for a new set of false teeth and have my nose hairs hacked back. Don't want to look too old.


Marrisse Whittaker is a TV Producer & scriptwriter, as well as creator of website http://www.virtualgranny.com.
Virtualgranny aims to be the most popular meeting point for grandparents with a young outlook, showcasing features, video content, social networking, competitions, discounts & a shopping mall. What would you like to see on site? Log on and have your say!

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