Sir Ian McKellen has joked that Nigel Farage “needs to get out more” after the UKIP leader claimed that most over-70s aren’t comfortable with gays.

Last week, while defending UKIP MEP Roger Helmer, Farage had said: “He’s somebody of 70 years of age who grew up with a strong Christian Bible background (…)  If we asked the 70s and over in this country how they felt about it, most of them still feel uncomfortable.”

McKellen, 74, ridiculed the comments on Channel 4 News earlier this week, appearing alongside his 73-year-old X-Men co-star Patrick Stewart.

He said: “He hasn’t talked to this over 70 or [pointing to Stewart] this one. I think, frankly, Farage needs to get out more.”

Referring to Helmer’s comments, he said: “Those nasty words that come out of people’s mouths, it’s shouting into the wind. They know it’s over.

“People will shout louder and louder because they know their opinions and their prejudices are not being confirmed by the rest of society. I’m fairly optimistic that things are changing.”

Helmer, who is running for Parliament in the Newark by-election next week, had previously said the public should be able to freely and openly dislike gay people, as they would different types of tea.

He has also said homosexuality is not a lifestyle worthy of respect, that the media are “obsessed” with sexualityand that he’s not “the anti-gay MEP”.

Watch the interview below: