Helen Mirren: Hero or Villain?

 

As the songwriting duo of Rodgers and Hammerstein famously put it, there is nothing like a dame. But there is not now, and never has there ever been, another Dame quite like Helen Mirren.

Here she goes again, a handful of years shy of her 70th birthday, still flying in the face of Home Counties attitudes. That her views on marriage and romance – widely reported last week – were culled from an interview that The Queen and Prime Suspect actress gave to the cosy Woman and Home magazine, is further proof of the perverse pleasure Mirren has always taken in puncturing preconceptions.

It was in evidence the first time many of us encountered her. That was in 1975 when she was the first guest on the Parkinson chat show. As Parky embarrassingly muttered on about her "physical attributes", she left viewers in no doubt about how she felt at having to answer such "boring questions". Later, she talked about the culture of male chauvinism prevalent then, and told her host: "You've heard that phrase, I'm sure."

Returning to the show 32 years later, she had noticeably mellowed, but didn't let that stop her telling Parkinson: "I thought you were sexist," and, a greater crime to her way of thinking, "didn't even dare say the word 'breasts'."

Mirren is now, and has always been, a freethinker of the highest order. Education? "The school system is not conducive to education." Porn? Give her Screw magazine over the "pretentious" Playboy any day. Tattoos? She got hers on a Native American reservation decades before they were deemed socially acceptable.

And then, in the same week that she told the world they could drop fries on and maybe even pee on her new Hollywood Walk of Fame star, came that interview in which she revelled in the fact that she and her husband "pour cold water" on any ideas of romance and feel free to forget each other's birthdays.

Dame Helen Mirren, then. A woman every bit as singular as her talent in the dramatic arts.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate