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Helen Mirren: The BBC has to be protected

Dame Helen Mirren has said she ‘strongly believes the BBC has to be protected’ (BBC/PA)
Dame Helen Mirren has said she ‘strongly believes the BBC has to be protected’ (BBC/PA)

Dame Helen Mirren has said she “strongly believes the BBC has to be protected” and that it is “such an amazing thing”.

The actress plays Dorothy Bunton, the wife of a fierce opponent of the BBC licence fee, in her new film The Duke, directed by the late Roger Michell.

The film tells the real-life story of Newcastle cab driver Kempton Bunton, who was prosecuted in 1965 for stealing Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery.

UK premiere of The Duke – London
Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent arrive for the UK premiere of The Duke in London (James Manning/PA)

Dame Helen told the Radio Times that she “strongly believes that the BBC has to be protected… it’s such an amazing thing.

“It’s a fine, fine institution.

She added: “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.”

She also said that it would be “terrible” if the BBC ended up like PBS, which “just scrapes along with a lot of investment by very kind wealthy people”.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries previously announced that the BBC licence fee will be frozen for the next two years. She also said she wanted to find a new funding model for the broadcaster after the licence fee funding deal expires in 2027.

Dame Helen Mirren is interviewed in the latest issue of the Radio Times (Radio Times)

Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times.

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