Dame Helen Mirren has never considered herself a sex symbol.

Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren

The 72-year-old actress - who is married to director Taylor Hackford - has always been a favourite amongst her male fans though her roles in her early films such as 'Caligula' and 'Hussy' and from playing DSI Jane Tennison in crime TV series 'Prime Suspect'.

But Mirren has never viewed herself like as a pin-up and has never concerned herself with how her looks are perceived as she'd rather just get on with her work.

Asked about her sex symbol reputation, she said: "Honestly, I just don't think about that. I've never seen myself as a so-called sex symbol. I didn't then and I don't know. I've always just let other people get on with that - the audience, the publicists, the journalists. It's not my business, if you know what I mean. I just do what I do. I do it the best I can. I do my job and I get on with it."

In her latest movie, 'The Leisure Seeker', Helen has a sex scene with co-star Donald Sutherland and she has never been shy about shooting love sequences or stripping off in front of the cameras.

Although she has taken on those types of scenes when the script has demanded it, Mirren insists she has never "enjoyed" getting intimate on screen.

Speaking to Total Film magazine, she said: "I was a bit nervous about the sex scene. I didn't really want to do that ... I've always hated sex scenes anyway. Every part of my life. I've never particularly enjoyed that. So I didn't particularly want to do that but it was fine."

And the Oscar-winning actress was happy to let her 82-year-old co-star take charge of the scene.

She said: "Donald was great, in fact. He sort of took charge, if you like, of the situation."

The pair previously worked together on 'Bethune: The Making of a Hero' in 1990, but hadn't seen one another since then, though Helen insisted that didn't affect their work on screen this time round.

She said: "Hadn't seen him since Hadn't even had dinner with him or a phone conversation or anything. So he'd gone his way and I'd gone mine for 20-odd years and now we're making this movie and have to look as if we're a married couple who've spent the last 20 years together. But actors are quite good at that. Both actors understand what is required. We have to create this illusion of an intimate relationship. He's a very experienced actor. I'm a very experienced actress. So we know how to do that. But we also know it's essential, you can't avoid it."