Calendar Girl Mirren does it again

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The Independent Online

It was only a bikini. But it had the power to set tongues wagging and pulses racing around the globe. Pictures of Dame Helen Mirren luxuriating on the beach at Puglia in southern Italy last Tuesday sent media commentators into a frenzy. Some have applauded the 62-year-old for her figure, while others blanched at the prospect of myriad wrinkly copycats trying to emulate her this summer.

The pictures caused a sensation, as male commentators waxed lyrical about how fabulous she looked – and not only sexy for a 62-year-old, but just sexy. Female counterparts – those not green with envy – said she was inspiring a whole generation of older women.

Is it so shocking to be sexy at 60? Perhaps not, but most agreed it is still surprising in an era when youth has been elevated to cult status.

Last week, the pundits briefly celebrated the older woman, as they appreciated the VIP guests at the New York premiere of Mamma Mia! who included Lauren Bacall, Jane Seymour and Sigourney Weaver. But by yesterday they were back to scrutinising the private lives and photos of Britney Spears and Sienna Miller.