Michael Parkinson refuses to apologise to Helen Mirren over 'sexist' interview

Parkinson had asked Mirren in 1975 whether her 'equipment' distracted audiences

Jack Shepherd
Tuesday 28 May 2019 07:26
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Sir Michael Parkinson
Sir Michael Parkinson

Sir Michael Parkinson has refused to apologise to Dame Helen Mirren for an allegedly sexist interview.

The veteran broadcaster, 84, and the actor, 73, came face to face in 1975, when Parkinson introduced Mirren to his chat show audience as the “sex queen” of the Royal Shakespeare Company, before quoting a critic’s description of her as projecting “sluttish eroticism”.

During the interview, Parkinson asked the then-30-year-old if her “equipment” distracted audiences and whether serious actors can have “big bosoms”.

Mirren later described him as a “sexist old fart”, while Parkinson later responded by saying: “I don’t regard what happened there as being anything other than good television.”

Parkinson has since been asked about the interview on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories and, according to The Times, refused to apologise for the encounter.

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

Morgan suggested the comments were sexist, with Parkinson replying: “Well, maybe. But nobody got hurt, nobody died.”

The former chat show host, who retired in 2007, said he had since interviewed Mirren but they had not discussed the dispute.

“She said what she had to say, I said what I had to say, and that’s the end of it,” he said.

Parkinson earlier this year said men feel “under threat” over the “merest” sign that they could be flirting.

He previously said “there isn’t a man of a certain age who doesn’t look back and wonder ‘Was my behaviour entirely appropriate?”’

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