Dame Helen Mirren says she believes the BBC licence fee has “had its day”.

The actress said “we cannot lose the BBC” but added “we are moving past” the charge being a necessity.

It comes after No10 reportedly vowed to scrap the fee and make viewers pay a subscription for the corporation’s services.

Dame Helen said: “I think that the licence fee has had its day. Possibly, I think it is on its way out.”

Some broadcasters have said the Tories are launching an attack on the BBC and that scrapping the fee would seriously harm the quality of its output.

Dame Helen, 74, signed an open letter last year alongside other celebrities urging the Government to reinstate free TV licences for over-75s.

The Tories handed responsibility for the costly funding commitment to the BBC, which then announced it was scrapping the benefit for most who had been eligible.

Dame Helen has just finished filming a movie on an appropriate subject.

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The Duke is based on the true story of the theft of a painting in 1961 in a protest about pensioners having to pay for the TV licence.

Dame Helen, speaking at the Kiln Theatre in Kilburn, north-west London, also said: “People ask how do I succeed… It’s be on time and don’t be an a******e.”