The Archives: 1971


In Pictures
As Rachel in her television debut, ITV's "The Silver Collection". The year brought four more performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company, including Harriet in George Etherege's "The Man of Mode" and Elyane in Jean Genet's "The Balcony".
Helen Mirren made her television debut in "The Silver Collection", she played Rachel, a girl working at an art gallery who falls in love with a colleague despite them being intellectually poles apart. Then, she played Valerie in a lengthy five-part miniseries based on Honorť de Balzac's "Cousin Bette", with Margaret Tyzack in the title role. And there was no shortage of leading roles coming from the RSC. She played Tatjana in "Enemies", Harriet in "The Man of Mode", the title role of "Miss Julie" as well as Elyane in "The Balcony". It would be her last performance with the RSC for three years, as Peter Brook made her an offer she couldn't refuse...

In the Summer of 1971, Helen Mirren auditioned for Alfred Hitchcock for the role of Babs Milligan in "Frenzy": "When I was just starting out, I was sent for an audition - or a meeting with [Hitchcock]. I donít think he would have auditioned me; I think he either thought you looked right or you didn't. I was arrogant and ignorant and, at that time, he was just not my kind of film director. I was into Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Roberto Rossellini; those were the directors I loved. I was, you know, as one is when one is young, just ridiculously self-opinionated. So, I didnít really like him, and I know he didnít like me very much. He certainly didnít cast me. He took one look at me and went, "Oh, good God. Sheís going to be a nightmare." Anna Massey, probably best known for her role in Michael Powell's "Peeping Tom", went on to play Babs.
Productions (6)