Helen Mirren felt sorry for Michael Parkinson over interview controversy

Helen Mirren is interviewed by Michael Parkinson in 1975

Helen Mirren has waded in on the conversation surrounding the backlash of her old interview with the late Sir Michael Parkinson.

The Hollywood actress, 78, has broken her silence after the interview resurfaced online following the presenter’s recent death.

Michael passed away on August 16 at the age of 88 after a “brief illness”.

He was best known for being a chat show host and interviewed high-profile celebrities such as Meg Ryan, John Lennon, Madonna and Muhammed Ali.

In 1975 he interviewed a 30-year-old Helen Mirren which became one of his most notorious chats.

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One question he asked her was whether her “physical attributes” hindered her desire to be viewed as a “serious actress”.

Helen quickly lost her temper and said: “You mean my fingers? Come on, spit it out.

“Serious actresses can’t have big bosoms, is that what you mean?”

Helen later called him “sexist” and described the chat as “enraging”.

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Helen Mirren has responded to the interview backlash [Radio Times]

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Parkinson never apologised at the time, but later regretted his comments during an interview in 2019 with Piers Morgan.

He said: “I feel it’s of its time, and of its time it’s embarrassing. It was over the top, absolutely so.”

The interview has since been unearthed and went viral online, which led to Helen breaking her silence in a recent interview with Radio Times.

“I didn’t feel sorry for Parky, but then in a way I did because in lots of ways he was right,” she recalled.

“My physicality did get in the way of me being taken seriously as a classical actress.”

Speaking about how times have now changed, she added: “Yes, yes they really do. And fast. And we can only kick down the patriarchy one brick at a time.”

Parkinson’s chat show first aired on the BBC in June 1971 and ran intermittently across various channels until 2014.

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