Rave reviews for Mirren’s ‘shit’ Gielgud impression

Apr 19, 2011
Jonathan Harwood

Actress slips up on BBC Breakfast, but most people see funny side of Dame Helen Mirren's swearing

It's rare enough for celebrities to swear on morning TV but surely no-one has ever done it with the kind of relish that Dame Helen Mirren showed when she dropped the s-bomb on BBC Breakfast this morning, during a conversation about legendary actor John Gielgud.

The Prime Suspect actress was on the show promoting her new film Arthur when she made the slip, letting the word roll off her tongue with some panache as she did an impression of Gielgud.

In fairness to Mirren, her host, the presenter Sian Williams pretty much asked for it.

Mirren was eulogising Gielgud, who starred in the original version of Arthur, and how he had influenced her. She explained that Gielgud "inspired" her because he was happy to take on "edgy choices". It was then that Williams upped the ante a notch by reminiscing: "He swore a lot as I remember."

Mirren agreed wholeheartedly, recalling that he did so in a "wonderful voice". She then did a fine impression of the old actor, saying: "You little shit," with the emphasis firmly on the 'shit'.

Realising her gaffe, she immediately apologised, as did the presenters. Bill Turnbull appeared mortified and scolded the Dame, telling her: "This is why we pre-recorded you last time!"

Williams, having basically coaxed the 'shit' out of Mirren, appeared less shocked and couldn't help a giggle herself.

The reaction on social networking site Twitter was instantaneous, with most users seeing the funny side. One user, Char254, commented: "When I grow up I want to look like a lady and swear like one too. Just like Helen Mirren."

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