Dame Helen Mirren describes London riots as “cannibalism”

Oscar winning actress Dame Helen Mirren, who lives in Wapping, has blamed Britain’s “streak of savagery” for this summer’s urban riots.

The star, aged 66, said she had been frightened by the disturbances.

“It was terrifying. There was a rush of crazed adrenaline and everyone, including the media, got caught up in it.

“We’re a funny, complicated country, Britain, there’s a streak of savagery and this was like cannibalism, society eating itself in a way.”

In the immediate aftermath of the riots, London Mayor Boris Johnson reportedly said he would like to see a DCI Jane Tennison figure - the character played by Dame Helen in Prime Suspect - leading the Metropolitan Police.

But the star said: “The Met have a Jane Tennison figure. They’ve got Sue Akers.”

Referring to the Met’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner, in charge of the phone-hacking investigation, she said: “I actually met Sue when I was doing research for the Prime Suspects.

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“She was very generous and gave me a day of her time guiding me through the way the Force operates.

“So they do have a Jane Tennison already. What they need are more of them - black Jane Tennisons and Asian Jane Tennisons,” she concluded.