This is amazing:
What I find particularly interesting about this video is the way in which Sir Michael Parkinson cannot seem to get off the topic of Helen Mirren’s body. In fact, though her body is not that voluptuous and she is not dressed in a particularly revealing way.
One of the best/worst parts happens 1:33 when Parkinsons says “You are ‘in quotes’ a serious actress.” Mirren calls him on it. Then he asks if her equipment will hinder her pursuit of becoming a serious actress. She makes him spell out what he is trying to hint at. It is marvelous.
Basically, Parkinson’s argument amounts to the idea that there are no serious actresses because all actresses will have breasts. But Mirren won’t let him get away with it.
Parkinson is just so condescending and Mirren manages to make him look like a fool. It is great. She has such poise and even though he is being rather vulgar she manages to keep her composure.
The early video is significantly different from a more recent interview, after Mirren has played the Queen:
Now that she is older he seems to have more respect for her. His respect might also be related to her accomplishments as an actress, and the fact that explicit sexism is less acceptable these days. But I think it is also related to her age. After all, the first video from the 1970s starts not only with a discussion of her “equipment” “assets” and “figure,” he also mentions her acting and she was already a talented actress. So I think her age has something to do with it as well.
In my experience this is one of the big benefits of aging as a woman. When I was younger I did sometimes encounter Parkinson-type sexist comments, although they come in more subtle forms these days. Someone once told me that I “seem really stupid” but then if you talk to me it turns out I am “really smart.” This is a Parkinson-type comment, because the only reason I could seem stupid before one talks to me is if one is assuming that women are stupid. I don’t get these kinds of comments as much now that I am older. So I actually like aging, and I do not want to retain my youthful appearance forever, as the commercials tell me I should.