Michael Parkinson: I do not owe Helen Mirren an apology for interview which sparked sexism row

The broadcaster introduced her to his chat show audience as the 'sex queen' of the Royal Shakespeare Company

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The Independent Online

Sir Michael Parkinson insists he does not owe Dame Helen Mirren an apology for an interview that caused a sexism row.

The veteran broadcaster, 81, and the actress, 71, came face to face in 1975, when he introduced her to his chat show audience as the “sex queen” of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

He quoted a critic as saying she was good at “sluttish eroticism” and asked if her “equipment” hindered her being recognised as a serious actress.

When challenged by Mirren as to what he meant, Sir Michael looked her up and down and said her figure, prompting the response: “Serious actresses can't have big bosoms, is that what you mean?”

He told the Mail on Sunday's Event magazine the pair had still not buried the hatchet after their exchange and that he has no desire to.

Sir Michael said: “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 10 minutes I didn't want to interview her.

“There's no problem, it's not World War III for God's sake.”

The Independent contacted a representative of Mirren for comment.