After strutting on stage, Mirren made sure to make a quick quip on that remark, and continued to call Parkinson out on his questionable remarks, all while remaining subtle and soft-spoken, of course.
When the host told Mirren, "You are, in quotes, a serious actress," and even went as far as to do air-quotes with his hands (ugh), the actress was not pleased. As gracefully as she could, Mirren responded, "In quotes?...What do you mean in quotes? How dare you."
Yeah, it gets worse. Parkinson then turned the conversation into highlighting her, um, assets—or as he liked to call it, "equipment." He asked, "Do you find it to be fact that, what could be best described as your equipment hinders you in that pursuit [of being considered a serious actress]?"
Mirren wasn't about to let him off easy with that one, and made sure to give the host a hard time. "I'd like you to explain what you mean by my equipment in greater detail," she said, to which he responded, "Your physical attributes."
"You mean my fingers?" Mirren said, and once Parkinson said her "figure," she retorted with, "Because serious actresses can't have big bosoms, is that what you mean?" BOOM, DROP ALL OF THE MICS. Yet, Parkinson still decided to take it a step further.
"I think it might detract from the performance," Parkinson continued, "if you know what I mean."
"I can't say that would necessarily be true. I mean what a crummy performance if people are obsessed with the size of your bosom over anything else. I would hope that the performance and the play and the living relationship between all the people on the stage and all the people in the audience would overcome such...boring questions, really."
As much as this interview may irk you, it irks Mirren even more, still to this day. "That's the first talk show I'd ever done," she later told The Telegraph. "I was terrified. I watched it and I actually thought, bloody hell! I did really well. I was so young and inexperienced. And he was such a f--king sexist old fart. He was. He denies it to this day that it was sexist, but of course he was."
Slay, Helen Mirren. Slay.