Dame Helen Mirren says we must save the BBC, but licence fee has ‘had its day’02/17/2020
Dame Helen Mirren says she believes the BBC licence fee has “had its day”.
The actress said “we cannot lose the BBC” but that “we are moving past” the charge being a necessity.
It comes after No10 reportedly vowed to scrap the fee and make viewers pay a subscription for the corporation’s services.
Dame Helen said: “I think that the licence fee has had its day. Possibly, I think it is on its way out.”
Some broadcasters have said the Tories are launching an attack on the BBC and that scrapping the fee would seriously harm the quality of its output.
Dame Helen, 74, signed an open letter last year alongside other celebrities urging the Government to reinstate free TV licences for over-75s.
The Tories handed responsibility for the costly funding commitment to the BBC, which then announced it was scrapping the benefit for most who had been eligible.
Dame Helen has just finished filming a movie on an appropriate subject – The Duke is based on the true story of the theft of a painting in 1961 in a protest about pensioners having to pay for the TV licence.
Dame Helen, speaking at the Kiln Theatre in Kilburn, North West London, also said: “People ask how do I succeed… It’s be on time and don’t be an a***hole.”
All eyes are on bespectacled Helen and Jim Broadbent as they film The Duke, a movie about an art thief in the frame over a missing masterpiece.
Helen, famed for her many regal roles, dresses down to play the dowdy wife of Kempton Bunton.
The comically named “Robin Hood” thief snatched a portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in 1961.
The case perplexed police, led to the closure of ports and gripped the nation – before the Mirror solved it.
Bus driver Bunton, played by 70-year-old Broadbent, took the 1812 painting by Spanish master Francisco Goya to protest about pensioners being charged for TV licences.
A court heard that the tubby Geordie squeezed through the toilet window of the London gallery to pull off the heist. He held on to the painting for four years.
And just when it seemed the mystery would never be solved, reporters from our sister paper the Daily Mirror got a tip-off that the picture was stashed in a luggage locker at a railway station.
The remarkable tale is immortalised in upcoming movie The Duke, with these scenes shot recently on the streets of Bradford.
The painting was valued at £140,000 – or £3.25million in today’s money.
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