FILM star Jeremy Irons has been criticised for previous controversial remarks following his appointment as president of the jury for the Berlin Film Festival.

Mr Irons, 71, who has a home in Watlington, made comments critical of gay marriage almost a decade ago but has since gone on to express regret for what he said, adding that gay marriage was ‘wonderful’.

In 2011 he also attracted criticism when he told the Radio Times magazine: "If a man puts his hand on a woman’s bottom, any woman worth her salt can deal with it. It’s communication. Can’t we be friendly?”

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Berlin Film Festival director Carlo Chatrian said: ‘With his distinctive style, Jeremy Irons has embodied some iconic characters that have accompanied me throughout my journey in cinema, making me aware of the complexity of human beings.”

Oxford Mail:

But the appointment has prompted a barrage of criticism in German newspapers.

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Andreas Busche, a film critic for Tagesspiegel, said the comments showed that Mr Irons was the 'wrong choice' for a festival that has undergone a redesign.

He wrote: “The awards will be handed over by an old, white man with reactionary views.”

READ MORE: Jeremy Irons becomes a patron of Restore

Jeremy Irons shot to fame playing Charles Ryder in the 1981 TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited, which is partly set in Oxford, and won a best actor Oscar for his role in the 1990 film Reversal of Fortune.

In April Mr Irons became a patron of East Oxford based mental health charity Restore.

He said at the time: "I hope to use my role to get to know Restore even better as they support service users, and tackle the mental health stigma in our community."