Miriam Margolyes ‘appalled’ at herself for swearing at Jeremy Hunt on Radio 4

Miriam Margolyes may have had the nation gasping when she swore at Jeremy Hunt on BBC Radio 4, but the famously outspoken Harry Potter star has admitted that she found the whole thing more upsetting than funny.

In October 2022, the 82-year-old actor was a guest on theToday programme when she crossed paths with the Tory minister one day after he had been appointed as the new chancellor.

Live on air, Margolyes said that she’d offered Hunt a “good luck” message, but had really wanted to tell him: “F*** you, b******.”

Appearing on Friday (3 November) night’s episode of The Graham Norton Show, however, Margolyes admitted that she was deeply ashamed of the incident

“I would never swear on Radio 4 because to me, it is a temple,” Margolyes told Norton. I truly didn’t know what I had done.”

The actor added that she had found the whole experience to be “upsetting”, saying: “I was shocked and appalled at my own rudeness.”

During her appearance on Today, Margolyes told hosts Justin Webb and Martha Kearney: “When I saw him there, I said, ‘You’ve got a hell of a job, best of luck.’ And what I really want to say was, ‘F*** you, bastard.’ But you can’t say that.”

Margolyes admitted she was genuinely ‘upset’ after swearing on Radio 4 (BBC / Southern Pictures / Ela Furdas)
Margolyes admitted she was genuinely ‘upset’ after swearing on Radio 4 (BBC / Southern Pictures / Ela Furdas)

“Oh no no no, you mustn’t say that,” replied a panicked Webb. “We’ll have to have you out of the studio now.” “We will,” added Kearney. “With many apologies.”

Margolyes had appeared on the show to discuss the recent death of her late Harry Potter co-star Robbie Coltrane.

It’s far from the only time Margolyes has uttered expletives live on air. In July, she was dishing out love and sex advice as a guest on This Morning, when one woman called in to complain about a partner who paid no attention to them when they got home from work.

In response, Margoyles suggested the caller strip naked and “showed him what she’s got”. She then added that the caller’s partner should put the “f***ing phone away”, mouthing the swear word. Willoughby was forced to step in and apologise, explaining that most viewers would be able to work out what she had said.

But while Margolyes might have regretted making the comment on Radio 4, the actor has never had an issue calling out people publicly.

In September, she released her second memoir Oh Miriam, where she took aim at everyone from Steve Martin to Mick Jagger.

Of Martin, Margolyes claimed that the Only Murders in the Building star was “horrid” to her on the set of movie musical Little Shop of Horrors, where she appeared as the assistant to his psychopathic dentist.

Margolyes alleged that Martin was “repeatedly punched, slapped and knocked down” while filming the musical number “Dentist!”. “Perhaps he was method acting,” she joked.

However, Martin refuted Margolyes’ version of events, saying that he took “extreme caution” while filming the scene. “When I first read Miriam Margolyes’ pejorative account of our scene in Little Shop of Horrors, I was surprised,” he said. “My memory is that we had a good communication as professional actors.

“But when it is implied that I harmed her or was in some way careless about doing the stunts, I have to object. I remember taking EXTREME caution regarding the fake punch – the same caution I would use with any similar scene.”

The Graham Norton Show airs Friday 3 November at 10.40pm on BBC One.