I first met Helen Mirren when I was assistant to her boyfriend of the time, the photographer James Wedge (we're talking early Seventies here!). She wasn't very well known then, mostly working in rep. Whilst waiting for us to finish a session with some soppy women's magazine, she would pretend to be James' less than bright secretary. James would play his part in reprimanding her and putting her down for some mistake she'd made and generally humiliating her in front of everyone, which would upset the women from the magazine who obviously felt sorry for her!

These pictures below were shot years later in Dublin on a pub crawl with Helen, researched the day before with a cab driver who I hired and asked to take me to all the traditional old pubs still standing, and inspired by a fashion picture I remembered of Norman Parkinson's from the fifties (the picture below with the old guys I'm talking about).

Helen was in-between takes on the film 'Cal' at the time so the magazine (The Sunday Express), wanted it to look typically Irish, but it's difficult to get anything that instantly sums that up, especially with limited time and buget.

Thought it was great, and very her when speaking about her recent ‘Dame’ honour: -‘I took it because of my parents, really - which was silly, since my parents were both dead by then.’ And then adding ‘They didn’t give a damn...They were anti-monarchists anyway.’ On the eve of the Bafta ceremony, when all the papers were speculating on her getting an award for her lead in The Queen, she added -‘I sometimes feel like a dog at White City - she's coming in at 25 to 1, the bitch is coming in to win, she's coming in, the Queen is coming in to win!’