Helen Mirren, LorraineActing legend Helen Mirren has appeared on Lorraine to discuss her BAFTA fellowship, what inspired her to go into acting and why she believes she has been successful.

Joining Kate Garraway on the show, Helen described receiving her BAFTA fellowship as “an amazing honour” and said:

I never imagined I’d ever win an Oscar and I certainly never imagined I’d be given an honour like this or indeed be made a Dame of the British Empire, I always thought they’re much too grown up for me.

On why life has led her to this point where she is secure and successful, Helen said:

Certainly I think part of the process has to be loving what you do although obviously with that comes a certain kind of fraughtness because there’s always self doubt and self criticism and struggle… Also I think it’s incredibly important to turn up on time basically and be a good team player.

Helen reveals that it was her love of being applauded combined with her imagination that led to her chosen career path:

There were two moments… the first was when I was about five or six and I played the Virgin Mary and I didn’t have to say any lines which was great, I just got to wear a beautiful blue veil with gold stars on it and just sit there and look holy and everybody clapped and I thought ‘ooh I like this’…

It was adoration, I loved it… And the world of the imagination and that world was opened up to me by a particular teacher in school… and that was what led me into acting.

Helen adds that she has had to make sacrifices for her career:

I think I gave up to a certain extent family… I was never following a dream, I was following a desire to get better… and that process I think did wipe out other elements. I’m very lucky that I do have a fairly big and very close family but it’s not down to my effort, it’s down to the efforts of other people.

And on whether she has spoken to the Queen about the film in which she plays her, Helen said she wouldn’t dare mention it:

No I wouldn’t do that, I don’t know if she’s ever seen it… I was too scared [to ask] I couldn’t… there’s obviously an understanding when we look at each other.

There is some chord now, she’s not attached to me but I am sort of attached to her in some invisible way. Certainly when I die, the fact that I’ve played the Queen will be mentioned.

 Lorraine airs weekdays from 8.30am on ITV.

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