Dame Helen Mirren says the famous photograph of her in a red bikini will ‘haunt’ her for the rest of her life.

The actress was snapped by a photographer on a beach in Italy three years ago on holiday and the pictures went round the world – cementing her reputation as a sex symbol.

The 66-year-old said: “I think the thing that will haunt me for the rest of my life is that bloody photograph of myself in a bikini.

“In and of itself, it is a lie because I don’t actually look like that and I know that that is going to haunt me forever and I’ll be forever trying to bury it unsuccessfully.”

The Oscar-winning actress learned her trade in the theatre before going on to star as detective Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect and in dozens of films.

She was speaking at a press conference in central London for her new film, The Debt, in which she plays a retired Israeli secret agent.

The cast also includes Tom Wilkinson, Ciaran Hinds and Jessica Chastain who plays Dame Helen’s character in a flashback to the Cold War era where she is hunting a Nazi war criminal.

SUBSCRIBE to TV Times magazine NOW and you could save up to 29%