Miriam Margolyes' mother was "disgusted" when she told her she was a lesbian.

The 82-year-old actress had never "hidden" anything from her mum so when she began a relationship with a woman in 1966, a time when homosexuality was still illegal in the UK, she didn't think twice about confiding in her parent.

Sharing her experience with podcaster and journalist Elizabeth Day, Miriam said: "I have profound regrets that I told my mother that I was having a sexual relationship with a woman. It was indulgent of me.

"It was partly because I told her everything. We always confided in each other. I had nothing hidden from her.

"When you have good sex for the first time you honestly think, 'Whoopee I might do that again'.

"I shared it with her and it utterly disgusted her and shocked her and her horizon was darkened from that moment."

The 'Harry Potter' star lamented the fact she told her mother she was a lesbian, who wanted her to have a conventional Jewish relationship and suggested people who don't think their families could "bear" the idea of them having same-sex relationships should stay quiet about them.

When asked about her mother, she replied: "I loved her with all my heart. I didn't know it was going to have such an effect, but I should have thought about it.

"That's what I always say to people who are working out whether to tell their families or not – tell them if they can bear it, and if they can't bear it, don't tell then."

Miriam has been happily in a relationship with Heather Sutherland, 80, since 1968 and she insisted she "couldn't bear" the thought of being in a relationship with a man.

She concluded: "I am gay and I'm happy being gay. I couldn’t bear to be straight, quite honestly. So here I am, a sad and happy old dyke."