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‘If you didn’t live in that time, you’re not allowed an opinion’ Michael Parkinson on Helen Mirren sexism

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Jamie Carson
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Michael Parkinson has recently revealed that he’s still not sorry for an incredibly awkward interview with a young Helen Mirren which took place more than 40 years ago.

In the encounter that erupted in a massive sexism row, the legendary presenter introduced the then up-and-coming actress, who had just appeared Miss Julie and A Midsummer’s Nights Dream, as the “sex queen” of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

But wait, there’s more! Parkinson then went on to suggest that she couldn’t possibly be a proper actress due to her large breasts, suggesting her “equipment” outshone her acting abilities, to which Mirren replied: “"Serious actresses can't have big bosoms, is that what you mean?".

But instead of laying off, he went on to provide offensive evidence to back himself up in form of a harsh review that said Mirren was “projecting sluttish eroticism.” Which is a massively w*nkish thing to bring up.

But it’s all OK, we could never understand you see, because it was the Seventies and that was all alright. “You have to judge it by what happened in that time. If you didn't live in that time, you're not allowed an opinion in my view,” Parkinson explained recently to Event magazine.

He did, however, concede he may have ‘overreacted, saying: ‘OK, fine, maybe I was a bit overreactive to Ms Mirren. On the other hand, she presented a provocative figure as she walked down the stairs carrying a feather boa, half dressed as I recall, with love and hate tattooed on to her knuckles. I would not have done my duty as a human being had I not reacted in a certain way.

‘I mean, we didn’t like each other. We have not done much since to repair that damage, but that sometimes happens in life.’

They haven’t made up, then? ‘I don’t want to. Nor does she. I don’t regard what happened there as being anything other than good television. There is no need to apologise, not at all. She didn’t want to do an interview and after about ten minutes I didn’t want to interview her. There’s no problem, it’s not World War III for God’s sake.’

To this day the pair have never really reconciled, with Dame Mirren telling the Telegraph about her first major interview: “I did really well. I was so young and inexperienced. And he was such a f*cking sexist old fart. He was. He denies it to this day that it was sexist, but of course he was.”

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Jamie Carson

When he’s not pretending to be on the front of an album cover, Online Style Writer Jamie Carson can probably be found criticising your fashion credentials. Follow Jamie on Twitter @_jamie89

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