Helen Mirren Slates 'Beady-Eyed' Politicians Who 'Attack The BBC'

The Oscar-winning star has insisted the BBC "has to be protected".
Dame Helen Mirren
Dame Helen Mirren
Stuart C. Wilson via Getty Images

Dame Helen Mirren has spoken out in defence of the BBC, hitting out at the “beady-eyed” politicians who want to “attack” the institution.

In a new interview with Radio Times, the Queen star said: “I strongly believe that the BBC has to be protected… it’s such an amazing thing. It’s a fine, fine institution.”

She continued: “It’s so interesting 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.”

The Oscar-winning actor added that she thought it would be “terrible” if the BBC ended up like US broadcaster PBS, which she claimed “just scrapes along with a lot of investment by very kind wealthy people”.

Last month, culture secretary Nadine Dorries announced that the current BBC licence fee will be frozen for the next two years.

She also said she hoped to find a new funding model for the broadcaster after the licence fee funding deal expires in 2027.

Nadine Dorries
Nadine Dorries
Future Publishing via Getty Images

The move was met with widespread criticism, with BBC chairman Richard Sharp and director-general Tim Davie issuing a joint statement arguing that there are “very good reasons for investing in what the BBC can do”.

“A freeze in the first two years of this settlement means the BBC will now have to absorb inflation,” they said.

“That is disappointing – not just for licence fee payers, but also for the cultural industries who rely on the BBC for the important work they do across the UK.”

“We will set out the implications of the settlement later, before the end of the financial year, but it will necessitate tougher choices which will impact licence fee payers,” they added.

Read Dame Helen Mirren’s full interview in the latest issue of Radio Times, on sale now.

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This week's Radio Times cover
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