Poor Ian McKellen. He went on The View this morning to promote his new Prisoner miniseries, but the gals had other things on their minds. Whoopi wanted to know whether he was going to be “coming back in Harry Potter?” Whoops: He politely informed her he was in The Lord of the Rings. Understandable mistake — if you’re not into the fantasy genre, these things can seem similar, and Goldberg has been fighting off an illness the past few days that may have contributed to her minor confusion.

Then Sherri Shepherd referred to McKellen’s popular turn as the X-Men villain Magneto. Except she pronounced the character’s name “Mag-NETTO.” Again, maybe Sherri’s not into comic-book movies, okay, but you’d think she’d have done a little pronunciation preparation, since the X-Men franchise was clearly her designated question on those little blue note cards the hosts clutch.

But before all that, Elisabeth Hasselbeck was spoiling for a different fight. It looks as though someone had told her that the British McKellen had been given the swine-flu vaccine from his country’s nationalized health-care system.

Uh-oh: “nationalization” + Hasselbeck = Blonde Hulk See Red. Check out their exchange:

So, to sum up: McKellen was not given the swine-flu vaccine (Hasselbeck’s error). But he could have it free from the National Health Service, which he said is “not run by the government, but by the doctors and the hospitals.” To which Hasselbeck said, “Yeah, that’s what they’d like you to believe, I’m sure.” (Not the most gracious response from a host, would you agree?)

Then after McKellen gets applause from the (presumably American) View audience when he says, “I wouldn’t be as healthy as I am if I hadn’t had the National Health Service,” Hasselbeck yells over the clapping, “It’s my personal belief and the belief of many others than I do not want the government running our health care!”

But, but… you brought it up, Elisabeth; McKellen was just answering an initial (again, erroneous) statement you made about him getting the vaccine.

Thank goodness Whoopi then spoke loudly over Hasselbeck and the noisy audience (which was clearly getting agitated) to say, “But what about The Prisoner?” You know, the subject the luckless McKellen was there to talk about before being blindsided…

As they say at the end of every show, take a little time to enjoy The View.