DAME Helen Mirren says the BBC licence fee has had its day.
But The Queen actress, 74, insisted the corporation should still exist.
Her comments come as senior Downing Street aides were quoted as saying the licence fee could be scrapped.
Asked if the licence fee is necessary, Helen said: I think we are moving past that. And what will follow it I dont know. I think that the licence fee has had its day.”
Possibly, I think it is on its way out, I suspect. But no we cannot lose the BBC.
Dame Helen was speaking to Downton Abbey actor Jim Carter, 71, at Kiln Theatre in Kilburn, North West London, when she made the comments.
She first worked with the Beeb in 1971 starring in TV series Cousin Bette and starred in many Shakespearean plays as well as various other dramas including The Changeling, The Apple Cart and Caesar and Claretta.
Dame Helen later earned three BAFTA gongs for her role in the ITV series Prime Suspect in the Nineties.
She told the audience: I would love to be back on the BBC or ITV as the work that is being done in Britain on both the BBC and ITV, it is so good.
I have seen a series of really such good work. Work on British TV is pretty amazing.
Her comments on Auntie come after senior Downing Street aides were quoted as saying the licence fee could be scrapped.
They reckon it could be forced to sell more than 60 radio and TV stations. But Tory MPs hit out at Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the plans urging him to reconsider.
Critics of the licence fee have suggested a Netflix-type subscription model. This week it emerged 200,000 fewer households have a TV licence despite a rise in population.