‘That’s right’: Miriam Margolyes says trans actor changed her mind about pronouns

Miriam Margolyes has revealed that a trans actor made her change her mind about gender pronouns.

The outspoken Harry Potter actor appeared on The Graham Norton Show on Friday (3 November) to discuss her new book, Oh Miriam: Stories from an Extraordinary Life.

She appeared on the show alongside Succession star Sarah Snook, Past Lives star Greta Lee and Boy George, the latter of whom asked Margolyes whether her opinions still changed at 82.

Margolyes confirmed that she did still change her mind, choosing the example of transgender pronouns. Some transgender people choose to use they/them pronouns over he/him or she/her pronouns.

“I was very keen on grammar,” the actor explained. “So when people started talking about ‘them’ instead of ‘he/she’ I thought, ‘What the f***? It’s clear, it’s grammar, it’s the structure of language.”

However, Margolyes said her mind was changed by the Australian actor Zoe Terakes, who is nonbinary and transmasculine, using they/he pronouns.

Miriam Margolyes on ‘The Graham Norton Show’ (Isabel Infantes/PA Wire)
Miriam Margolyes on ‘The Graham Norton Show’ (Isabel Infantes/PA Wire)

“[Terakes] had a discussion with me about it and she said: ‘What does it matter to you? If you can make somebody happy by calling them they instead of he or she, why not do it?’

“And I thought, that’s right, it doesn’t matter about grammar!”

Elsewhere in the episode, Margolyes “appalled” at herself for swearing at Jeremy Hunt on Radio 4 in 2022.

The actor was a guest on the Today 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******.”

“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.”

At the end of the episode, Norton played a tribute to the late Friends star Matthew Perry, who previously appeared on the show alongside Margolyes.

Perry, who played sarcastic joker Chandler Bing on the long-running sitcom died on 28 October in an apparent drowning in his hot tub.

In her memoir, Margolyes expresses regret over asking Perry “if he was an alcoholic” on The Graham Norton Show.

“On reflection, I really wish I hadn’t,” she writes, saying the episode “was one of the few times” she “didn’t quite ‘mesh’ with another guest” on a chat show.

Paying tribute to Perry, Margolyes shared a clip of their appearance on The Graham Norton Show on X/Twitter, writing: “RIP Matthew Perry. You will be missed by so many. A great man.”