After living in Australia for seven years, Harry Potter star Miriam Margolyes says she’s seen a side of her adopted home country that has soured her opinion some.
The 78-year-old actress, who is best known for playing Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter films, recently filmed ABC documentary series Almost Australian and said the process left her feeling slightly disenchanted with the country.
In particular, she said she found popular tourism destination Surfer’s Paradise confronting.
“There is a brutality there and a greed in Australia, which I don’t like,” she told TV Tonight of her visit to the highly developed Queensland stretch of coastline.
“You know, the developers. Those horrible structures along the coast, that people should be ashamed of living in Surfers Paradise, it’s disgusting. I think that actually shocked me because I don’t go there. It’s not my world and I don’t want to go there.”
In a bid to learn more about the country she now calls home and understand what it means to be Australian, the actress travelled 10,000 kilometres around the nation, revealing the two-month trip led her to the realisation the country was “much more complicated” than she initially though.
“We think we know what (Australia is) like, but we don’t. It’s quite complicated. It’s layered. Lots of things happen. I do think I was right that it’s harsher than it was. Maybe that’s true in the world,” she said.
“There’s a harshness about it, which I didn’t expect.”
The BAFTA-winning actress became a citizen in 2013 after years of dividing her time between London and Australia.
She now lives in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales with her longtime partner, Heather Sutherland, a retired Australian professor of Indonesian studies. The two have been together since 1968.
In an interview with The New Daily, Margolyes said her partner did provide a word of warning before she embarked on the epic journey.
“She said, ‘Be very aware that Australians do not like criticism’. And they don’t, so I knew that I was doing something quite risky by, you know, having an opinion,” Margolyes said.
“Because I think Australians are a bit tired of Brits mouthing off about Australia, and I don’t blame them.”
Margolyes added: “I hope people will not be too annoyed about the things I have to say, but in the end, to be honest, f**k ’em if they are. That’s tough. I’m telling it like I see it.”
It wouldn’t be the first time the star’s blunt delivery has caused offence.
Margolyes recently sparked outrage after commenting that she wanted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to die from coronavirus in a rant on The Last Leg Locked Down Under.
Her tirade against the British Prime Minister kicked off after she was asked what she thought about the government’s handling of the pandemic.
Speaking from her home via video link, she replied: “I had difficulty not wanting Boris Johnson to die. I wanted him to die. 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.
“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. And I really would prefer that.”
Presenters Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe appeared shocked by her comments.
Britain’s Prime Minister was admitted to an intensive care unit at a London hospital last month after falling dangerously ill with COVID-19.
Almost Australian airs from Tuesday at 8.30pm on ABC and iview