Helen Mirren fears BBC will suffer ‘terrible fate’ as she weighs in on licence fee debate

Helen Mirren twirls in stunning black D&G dress

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Helen Mirren, 76, has said that she is scared the BBC will suffer a terrible fate, and that it must be protected at all costs. The actress compared the BBC to American news and claimed it was an incredibly unique thing.

Helen spoke also about her role in The Duke, alongside Jim Broadbent.

The Duke tells the story of a real-life Newcastle taxi driver prosecuted in 1965 for theft of Goya’s Duke of Wellington.

Helen then spoke to Radio Times in the February issue about the BBC licence fee.

She said: “The BBC has to be protected… it’s such an amazing thing, especially when you live in a country – like I do in America a lot of the time [with her American film director husband, Taylor Hackford] – which doesn’t have anything like the BBC.

“Well, it has PBS, which is full of BBC programmes, but that just scrapes along with a lot of investment by very kind wealthy people.”

She added it would be “terrible” if the BBC met its downfall, as it was a “fine institution.”

“It would be terrible if that were to become the fate of the BBC. It’s a fine, fine institution. It’s so interesting,” the star explained.

She went on to say that the BBC is needed precisely because it is being attacked.

The actress commented: “That as politicians find themselves teetering on the pinnacle of their ambition, they all turn their beady eyes on the BBC because the BBC is turning its beady eyes on them!

“And they can’t stand it.

“One after the other, they attack the BBC – and that is exactly why we need the BBC!”

Helen spoke about the nature of hers and Jim Broadbent’s fictional characters in The Duke and how they would react to issues related to the BBC.

She said that Kempton (played by Jim) would be fighting to save the BBC.

The dame said: “If Kempton was around now, he’d have been fighting to save the BBC.

“He’d be on the side of the BBC against the Government.”

Commenting on her great working relationship with Jim Broadbent and reacting to hearing that he was more proud of his The Duke role than anything before, she said: “And he’s right, because he’s absolutely wonderful in it.

“I’d always known at the back of my mind that Jim and I would be a pretty good pairing, although it’s an unlikely pairing – but sometimes the best pairings are the most unlikely.”

Helen also recently spoke about her relationship with husband Taylor Hackford on The Graham Norton show.

She said: “For the first time in 30 odd years of marriage we sat at the table opposite each other and had dinner together every night for six months.

“It was fantastic, brilliant.”

The full interview can be read on www.radiotimes.com  

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