Dame Judi Dench, 87, truly is a doyenne of the stage and screen, having delighted countless audiences throughout her varied 65-year career. This morning, the ten-time BAFTA winner appears on ITV’s ‘Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh’. The celebrated English actress is joined by her partner, the conservationist David Mills, as she chats to Britain’s favourite gardener about Surrey’s British Wildlife Centre, which Mills founded more than 20 years ago.
Also joining Alan at Manor Farm is singer Kim Wilde, who opens up about going back to her rock and roll roots, as well as David Domoney who will present a segment on the top garden water features, while acoustic singer Jack Savoretti performs.
As one of the nation’s best-loved actresses, Dame Judi has won critical acclaim from her 1957 professional stage debut as Ophelia in ‘Hamlet’ to her steely portrayal as M in the James Bond films.
However, the thespian risked dividing opinion in January last year as she let slip her feelings about Brexit.
The UK’s withdrawal from the EU has left people “worried”, the star claimed, as she chatted about ‘Blithe Spirit’, an adaptation of Noel Coward’s comedy in which she plays Madame Cecily Arcati.
Dame Judi revealed that she hoped the movie would distract audiences from UK and European politics, and said: “I hope audiences will have a lovely time and have a laugh and be transported for a bit so that they can forget the things they’re worried about, like Brexit.”
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In an interview promoting the film, she added: “Being asked to play Madame Arcati is kind of a dream come true.
“In our adaptation, she doesn’t just come in for a couple of scenes – she goes on a bit and causes even more chaos, but subsequently has a really wonderful part to play.”
Dame Judi’s intervention in the Brexit debate is not the first time she waded into politics.
In 2017, the year after Britons voted to take the nation out of the EU, the actress was grilled on her thoughts about leaving the 27-nation trading bloc.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme, she appeared to voice her opposition to the EU withdrawal, after saying: “I shouldn’t even open this bag of worms.
She said: “There was opera from Italy and the ballet, there was everybody.
“Everybody was represented in Europe that evening. There was something so glorious about it.”
In what is more closely related to her profession, Dame Judi will later this month travel to Cheltenham as part of this year’s International Film Festival.
The first such live event since before the coronavirus pandemic, she will take centre stage at the Pittville Pump Room alongside celebrated British director Stephen Frears.
The pair will take part in a special Q&A session after a screening of The Queen, which won Helen Mirren an Oscar for her depiction of the Queen.
‘Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh’ airs on ITV from 10am today.