Dame Judi Dench: A Profile

At 67, Dame Judi Dench is a multi-award winner in theatre, television, and film, with notably six BAFTAs, two Golden Globes, and an Oscar. She storms into 2002 with two Best Actress nominations for for her performance in "Iris" and, as recognition of her achievements, entry into BAFTA's British Academy Fellowship.

Dench made her debut with the Old Vic Company in Liverpool playing Ophelia in "Hamlet", and throughout the 70s overlooked cinema and carved her career mainly in theatre and television. Her screen debut was in "The Third Secret" (1964) and by the mid-80s Dench had supporting roles in the successful "A Room With a View" (1986), "84 Charing Cross Road" (1986), and "A Handful of Dust" (1988).

While Dench continued to secure lead roles and critical recognition in theatre and television, it still eluded her on film. But as she reached her 60s came stronger roles, and nominations galore. Her steely stance made her perfect for James Bond's tough-talking (and first female boss) M in "GoldenEye" (1995), "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997), and "The World is not Enough" (1999).

She was Oscar-nominated for her roles in "Mrs Brown" (1997) – her first cinema lead – and "Chocolat" (2001). But it was for her eight on screen minutes as Elizabeth I, in "Shakespeare in Love" (1998), that she eventually won one.

This year Dench is as busy as ever. She's reprising the role of M in "Bond 20" (2002); playing Madame Raquin in "Therése Raquin" (2002); and is Lady "A handbag!" Bracknell in a remake of "The Importance of Being Earnest" (2002). Oh, and look out for her in "The Shipping News" in February. Makes you wonder how she'll fit all those award ceremonies in.