Michael Parkinson has refused to apologise for his infamously sexist interview with Helen Mirren, saying ‘nobody died’.
Back in 1975, the chat show legend interviewed Mirren, then 30, and introduced her to his show Parkinson as the ‘sex queen’ of the Royal Shakespeare Company and ‘especially telling in projecting slutty eroticism’.
Parkinson asked the actress: ‘Do you find, in fact, that this, what could be best described as your equipment, in fact hinders you perhaps in that pursuit? Well, your physical attributes. Your figure.’
Mirren replied: ‘Serious actresses can’t have big bosoms, is that what you mean?’, with the interviewer saying: ‘I think that they might detract from the performance, if you know what I mean.’
Speaking about the notorious interview, Parky, now 84, admits that the clip is embarrassing looking back, but didn’t brand it entirely sexist.
He filmed an interview for an upcoming edition of Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, and said: ‘I feel it’s of its time, and of its time it’s embarrassing. It was over the top, absolutely so.’
And when Piers pointed out there was overwhelming evidence that the comments he made were sexist, Parky replied: ‘Well, maybe. But nobody got hurt, nobody died.’
He added that while he has interviewed Helen since, they have never discussed the incident directly, saying: ‘She said what she had to say, I said what I had to say, and that’s the end of it.’
Oscar-winner Mirren previously called out Parkinson for the interview, telling The Telegraph: ‘That’s the first talk show I’d ever done. I was terrified. I watched it and I actually thought, bloody hell! I did really well.
‘I was so young and inexperienced. And he was such a f****** sexist old fart. He was. He denies to this day that it was sexist, but of course it was.’
However, in 2016, Parky refused to apologise for the interview, telling Event magazine: ‘She presented a provocative figure as she walked down the stairs carrying a feather boa, half dressed as I recall, with love and hate tattooed onto her knuckles. I would not have done my duty as a human being had I not reacted in a certain way.
‘I mean, we didn’t like each other. We have not done much since to repair the damage, but that sometimes happens in life.’
When asked if there was a chance the pair could make up, he said: ‘I don’t want to. Nor does she. I don’t regard what happened 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 ten minutes I didn’t want to interview her. There’s no problem, it’s not World War III for God’s sake.’
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