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Dame Judi Dench

Kirsty Young talks to actress Dame Judi Dench.

Kirsty Young's castaway this week is Dame Judi Dench.

Born into a family with dramatic leanings, she followed one of her older brothers, Jeffery, to drama school. Having abandoned ideas of becoming a set designer, she made her professional debut as Ophelia at the Old Vic in 1957. An illustrious stage career followed in Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet in 1960, in Cabaret in 1968 and as Lady Macbeth for Trevor Nunn in 1976. On TV she found huge success in sitcoms - appearing with her husband, the late Michael Williams, in A Fine Romance and with Geoffrey Palmer in As Time Goes By.

She received an Oscar nomination for her first big-screen part as Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown; Shakespeare in Love won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress; Mrs Henderson Presents, Notes on a Scandal, Iris, and Philomena followed. She played the part of 'M' in the James Bond films seven times and is about to appear as Paulina in Sir Kenneth Branagh's production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.

Married to Michael Williams for 30 years, their daughter, Finty, is also an actress.

Producer: Cathy Drysdale.

Available now

39 minutes

Last on

Fri 25 Sep 2015 09:00

Music Played

  • Peter Maxwell Davies

    Farewell to Stromness

    • Peter Maxwell Davies - A Celebration of Scotland.
    • Unicorn-Kanchana.
  • Count Basie

    All Right, Okay, You Win

    • Count Basie at Birdland 1956.
    • Storyville.
  • Jeffrey Dench & Jackie Williams

    Sonnet 18, Shall I Compare Thee …

    • Shakespeare Exits and Entrances - A Celebration in Words and Music.
    • EMR Dench Classics.
  • Billie Holiday

    Strange Fruit

    • Lady Day: The Very Best of Billie Holiday.
    • Columbia.
  • Dorothy Collins

    Losing My Mind

    • Follies: Original Broadway Cast.
    • Capital Records.

    • Frank Sinatra

      I've got you Under My Skin

      • Classic Sinatra.
      • Capitol.
  • Cory Corfield

    Shipping Forecast: issued by the Met Office at 05:05 on Sat 01 Dec 2001

    • (BBC specially recorded for DID).
  • Miles Davis

    Blue In Green

    • Kind of Blue.
    • Columbia.

    Other Men's Flowers by A P Wavell (audio book read by her daughter Finty Williams)


    Cut-outs of all her friends and family


Role Contributor
Presenter Kirsty Young
Interviewed Guest Judi Dench
Producer Cathy Drysdale


  • Sun 20 Sep 2015 11:15
  • Fri 25 Sep 2015 09:00

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