Dame Judi Dench gave a dramatic reading of one of Shakespeare’s ballads from memory, on Friday night.
Appearing on The Graham Norton show, the award-winning actress, 88, left the host, 60, ‘spellbound’ with her impeccable rendition of Sonnet 29.
Dame Judi appeared on the chat show alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Whitehall and The Repair Shop’s Jay Blade.
The Queen actress was promoting her new memoir, Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays The Rent.
She explained of the title: ‘Michael [her late husband Michael Williams] and I were both in Shakespeare plays for four years when we first met, so he literally was paying our rent.’
Incredible: Dame Judi Dench, 88, gave a dramatic reading of one of Shakespeare’s ballads from memory, on Friday night’s instalment of The Graham Norton show
Wow! The award-winning actress left host Graham, 60, ‘spellbound’ with her impeccable rendition of Sonnet 29
In good company: Dame Judi appeared on the chat show alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger , Jack Whitehall and The Repair Shop ‘s Jay Blade
Graham asked how much Shakespeare was ‘constantly in’ her head, to which the talented star admitted: ‘Well, as much as it is all of us, of course. We don’t realise, Graham. We quote Shakespeare all the time, perhaps without knowing it.’
Jack Whitehall then challenged Graham to quote a passage from Shakespeare.
Host Graham responded: ‘How all occasions do inform against me,’ reciting Hamlet’s soliloquy in Act 4, Scene 4.
In turn, Graham asked whether Dame Judi would read some Shakespeare for the audience, with the actress swiftly proceeding to read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 from memory.
‘That is spellbinding,’ Graham told Dame Judi as she finished, while the audience cheered in delight.
Back in 2021, Dame Judi discovered that her ancestors had multiple links to William Shakespeare himself.
Taking part on the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are, the actress was told that her maternal ancestor was at the court of a castle with links to Hamlet.
In addition to this, another ancestor attended performances by a travelling English actor who happened to be one of Shakespeare’s favourite players.
Connections: In 2021, the Oscar-winner discovered her ancestors had multiple links to William Shakespeare himself
‘I hope my maternal eight times Grandmother liked Shakespeare otherwise she might have given the evening a miss!’ Judi quipped.
‘But knowing that Will Kempe visited the castle and presumably performed there does make me feel that I have got a step nearer to my beloved Shakespeare.
‘The Castle was Kronborg Castle and was the Castle of Elsinore in Hamlet, a place I have always wanted to visit and now I have!
‘Not only have I visited it but I now have a link to it too.’