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2016 a "big pile of s**t": Helen Mirren

DAME Helen Mirren thinks this year has been a "big pile of s**t".

The 71-year-old actress was asked to give an "inspirational Christmas message" and admitted that, on reflection, 2016 - which has seen the deaths of a host of famous faces including David Bowie, Prince, and her 'Eye in the Sky' co-star Alan Rickman, Britain opt to leave the EU and Donald Trump elected US president - hasn't been too great.

Appearing on 'The Graham Norton Show' alongside her 'Collateral Beauty' co-star Will Smith, she said: "Hello. At this time of celebration and togetherness we have the chance to reflect on the year gone by, and I think we can all agree that 2016 has been a big pile of s**t. So my advice to you is to drink responsibly and be merry. Have a very happy Christmas, but above all go see 'Collateral Beauty' out on Boxing Day. That's Helen. Out."

Helen recently spoke of how she finds going to memorial services "inspiring and enlightening"

She said: "I'm of an age now that I start going to more memorials.

"My darling friend Alan Rickman died last year; I went to his memorial, great actor. The wonderful Garry Marshall, the most brilliant, incredible American producer of television and movies.

"These were such great people, so when you go to their memorial, it's so inspiring, and also very fun, because there's always a lot of very funny stories.

"Of course you feel sad that you've lost your beloved friend or colleague, but you also feel so enlightened and joyful and energised about this beautiful life that this person has led."

And the actress makes a conscious effort to take something positive out of each memorial she attends.

She explained: "It teaches you. I'm a great believer in learning, life is a constant learning curve, really, so I learn from these people's lives, and I think you learn how to be a better person.

"You think, 'Wow, what an amazing life,' (when you read their obituaries), so you can have an amazing life and in a weird way, death is the thing that reveals the amazingness of that life."

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