Helen Mirren Recalls The Time She Confronted An Actual Wild Bear In Her Back Garden

The pesky animal had been stealing bird feed, apparently.

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If there was any doubt in your mind that Dame Helen Mirren was not one to be messed with, the woman herself has now confirmed it once for all.

Speaking to US comedian Marc Maron on his podcast WTF, the Oscar-winning star recalled an incident in which she confronted a bear (!) in her back garden (!!) because it had been stealing from her bird feeder (!!!).

“A great big black bear came by and stole my bird feed,” she explained. “I went out and I said, ‘Bad bear, naughty bear, very naughty bear!’”

Dame Helen Mirren at the Golden Globes earlier this year
Dame Helen Mirren at the Golden Globes earlier this year
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The bear’s reaction? “He sort of looked at me and lumbered off,” Dame Helen added.

She then revealed she’d learned how to react when faced with a bear “looking aggressively at you” and “hunching its back like it is about to charge” from a pamphlet.

Dame Helen explained: “They said you make yourself look as big as possible, if you can grab a stick, make yourself look big and then it literally said and then shout, ‘Bad bear, bad bear!’”

In recent years, it’s been well-documented that the Prime Suspect star has not held anything back (which apparently now includes banishing “naughty” bears from her back garden), whether she’s declaring “fuck Netflix” during a discussion about the cinema industry or confronting TV presenters who describe her as “feisty” live on air.

Perhaps her most notorious confrontation came in 2013, though, when she went out into the street to tell a group of street performers to “shut the fuck up” as they were disturbing a theatre production she was appearing in.

Dame Helen had been playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience, a role she was heavily rumoured to be reprising for a forthcoming series of The Crown.

However, it’s since been confirmed that it’s actually Imelda Staunton who will be taking over from Olivia Colman in the fifth – and recently-announced sixth – run of the Netflix drama.


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