That picture of Helen Mirren in a bikini has been in the papers again. I’m not going to say she looks terrific for her age (63 then, 66 now). She looks terrific for any age. I interviewed Helen as a trainee journalist. I was 18 and had only been on the paper a few weeks when I was told, ‘Jenner, go and interview Helen Mirren for the showbiz page.’ I hadn’t the slightest idea who she was. In fact, I assumed she was in one of the amateur theatrical societies in Southend. So I arrived at her mother’s house and was greeted by a young woman in a leather skirt and leather waistcoat. It soon became apparent that I was embarrassingly uninformed and out of my depth. A few minutes later the photographer arrived. He nudged me in the ribs. ‘Look at the tits on that!’ he said out of the corner of his mouth. ‘My God, just look at the tits on that!’ He fired off shot after shot and a few, I’m sure, were for his personal collection. I decided I must ask her out. When would I ever encounter such a vision again? Then reality set in. ‘I’m just a pathetic junior journalist,’ I told myself, ‘and I’d have to save up for a month just to take her to dinner. And, anyway, this is a woman who has been in a film with James Mason and shown her breasts.’ At that point I was still to have fondled a breast, yet alone done anything more sophisticated. What would have happened if I had plucked up the courage? Who knows (but I can guess)?
There are two morals. The first is that you’re more likely to regret the things you don’t do than the things you do do. The second is that you can be very sexually desirable in your sixties, if you look after yourself. If you’d like to see Helen on youtube click on www.youtube.com/watch?v=hng_fKWW3wk