Roundup: Helen Mirren’s Harsh Words for Her Native Britain

 Dame Helen Mirren may have won an Oscar for portraying Queen Elizabeth in The Queen, but she has a few choice words for her homeland's dwindling principles according to The Daily Mail.

"I’m under the impression that this notion is disappearing from our society where conflicts are made worse on cinema and on television, where people are nasty and cruel on the Internet and where, in general terms, everybody seems to me to be very angry," Mirren said in reference to Britain's loss of true decency in a recent interview Paris-Match.

When it comes to humor, the London-born actress doesn't care for her country's historical comic roots either.

"I prefer the finesse of French humor," she said. "English humor is harsher, more scathing, more cruel and more surreal too, as illustrated by 'Monty Python' and the TV series 'Little Britain', where situations are far-fetched and over the top."

Would you agree with Helen Mirren's sentiments?

In other news:

– Academy Award winner Jim Broadbent and John Simm (Life On Mars, Doctor Who) will play father and son in BBC's three-part drama Exile, created by Paul Abbott (State of Play, Shameless) and written by Danny Brocklehurst (Clocking Off). Set for 2011, it is described as "a psychological thriller that tells an intimate story of prodigal redemption." (The Stage)

Damon Albarn might be busy readying the holiday release of the iPad-tweaked Gorillaz album, but he also has his eye on Blur. He says the Britpop foursome have discussed doing something again in the New Year. "We did talk about doing something in January," he said. "Something small, no career-based world domination ideas." Hey, I'll take it! (NME)

Pixie Lott is teaming up with JLS' Aston Merrygold and ex-boxer Joe Calzaghe, among others, in support of the world's first-ever online march against bullying. Each celebrity participant will be on hand with their own avatar for Beatbullying's Big March, which is encouraging Britain to swiftly put anti-bullying laws into place. (The Sun)

John Cleese has found love again! The Monty Python star says his relationship with new girlfriend Jennifer Wade is very much like the one he shared with first wife Connie Booth. The 70-year-old Cleese may be 31 years older than his new galpal, but he insists the two share a lot of laughter. "I laugh with Jenny in a way I haven’t since I was 10," he says. "It’s the utterly hopeless laughter of the 10-year-old and it’s wonderful to have that back." Awww, well, good luck to ya John and Jenny! (The Daily Mail)

– It seems that BBC drama Spooks (a.k.a. MI5) is in hot water with the Chinese government. Officials in Beijing apparently think the show's portrayal of Chinese secret agents who want to "blow up London" or hack into "US-Anglo cyber-security" is vastly ridiculous. (Deadline)

– Some no-good thieves have swiped an ultra-rare copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone from the Creative Art Gallery in Oxfordshire, England. Apparently the limited edition book only has 300 to 500 copies out there, and this particular copy is worth an estimated $9,600 (£6,000). (BBC)

by MacKenzie Wilson and Kevin Wicks