Miriam Margolyes admits wanting Boris Johnson 'to die' during coronavirus battle

Danny Thompson
Veteran character actress Miriam Margolyes plays the nanny Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest. Photo taken at the Music Center Plaza. (Photo by Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Miriam Margolyes caused a stir following an appearance on Channel 4’s The Last Leg when she admitted she “had difficulty not wanting Boris Johnson to die” after learning he had COVID-19.

The comments prompted shocked responses from the show’s hosts but the Harry Potter star quickly went on to say, that despite her initial thoughts, she didn’t want to be “the sort of person that wants people to die” and did want him to get better.

The prime minister was diagnosed with the coronavirus late March before being admitted to hospital last month. He was subsequently treated in intensive care and then released from hospital to recover fully from home.

Read more: Miriam Margolyes opens up about self-isolating without partner of 52 years

Margolyes, a member of the Labour party and a long standing political activist, admitted she was torn about her feelings towards Johnson’s health while appearing on the show hosted by Adam Hills.

Though she did make the shocking comments about hoping he would die, she quickly clarified they were fleeting thoughts as she wanted him to “get better” both in terms of his health and as “a human being”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seen outside Number 10 Downing Street on May 8, 2020 in London, United Kingdom.The UK commemorates the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) with a pared-back rota of events due to the coronavirus lockdown. On May 8th, 1945 the Allied Forces of World War II celebrated the formal acceptance of surrender of Nazi Germany. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

The Last Leg; Locked Down Under aired Friday (8 May) with hosts Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker, appearing via the internet.

When asked about how the government were handling the pandemic, she did not pull any punches.

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Speaking from her home via video call, she answered: “Appallingly, of course, appallingly. It’s a disgrace, it’s a scandal. It’s a public scandal. I had difficulty not wanting Boris Johnson to die. I wanted him to die.”

She then clarified: “Then I thought that will reflect badly on me and I don’t want to be the sort of person that wants people to die.”

Hills, Widdicombe and Brooker were then seen looking shocked and before the 78-year-old went on: “So then I wanted him to get better, which he did do, he did get better. But he didn’t get better as a human being. I really would prefer that. 

“So we’re in the s**t, basically, here.”