Beeb blocks Mirren spot over IRA angle in ‘Son’

LONDON – The BBC has axed a TV appearance by actress Helen Mirren to promote her film “Some Mother’s Son,” because the pic might be regarded as sympathetic to the IRA.

Mirren had agreed to appear on the Saturday evening show that surrounds the live weekly draw for the National Lottery, one of the pubcaster’s top-rating programs.

But her invitation was withdrawn when bosses at the BBC and the lottery operator Camelot realized that “Some Mother’s Son” is about the mother of an IRA hunger striker. Pic opens today in the U.K.

Terry George, the film’s director, said in a statement, “The BBC’s decision to drop Helen Mirren from the Lottery Show indicates a degree of paranoia and fear that seems to infect the British media on the subject of Northern Ireland, and in particular on our film ‘Some Mother’s Son.’ ”

He defended the pic as “an honest attempt to examine the intransigent positions taken by all the political parties caught up in the hunger strike crisis of 1981, and the resultant human cost.”

Movies dealing in any way with the troubles in Ireland and with the IRA in particular routinely come under fire from the British press, and tend to have a hard time attracting U.K. audiences. Most recently “Michael Collins” provoked an extensive media debate about its representation of Irish history, but still went on the post solid numbers at the box office.

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