Sarah Connor, the character made famous by the muscular actress Linda Hamilton in Arnold Schwarzenegger's second Terminator film, is back in an American television spin-off, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It has premiered to rave reviews and more than 18m viewers - but there is a problem. The British actress who plays Sarah, Lena Headey, has been widely criticised for her inadequate physique.

Hamilton's strength was such that she is credited with having dragged a generation of young women into the gym to build up their biceps. But Headey, a 34-year-old actress from West Yorkshire, is a "twig of an action heroine", according to the Boston Herald. The Los Angeles Times noted that while Hamilton was "a butt-kicking inspiration to millions of women", Headey is "healthy looking and attractive but not exactly Ms Olympia".

The casting of Headey has even drawn fire from feminists. "I am shocked to find out that the producers are clearly sanctioning a new, weedy silhouette in such an iconic and genuinely groundbreaking role," British feminist and novelist Bidisha told the Observer.

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Nevertheless, the nine-part series, which comes to Britain next month, has been praised by US critics as a more successful revival than Bionic Woman, starring the former EastEnders actress Michelle Ryan.

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