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Dame Judi Dench reveals her Who Do You Think You Are? journey left her feeling closer to Shakespeare

Dame Judi Dench has revealed that her journey on the BBC programme Who Do You Think You Are? has left her feeling closer to William Shakespeare, 64 years after she made her debut as Ophelia in Hamlet. 

After visiting the Kronborg Castle – immortalised in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet – the acting vet, 86, admitted to the the Radio Times: ‘I’ve always wanted to visit Kronborg Castle and now not only have I visited it, but I have a link to it, too.’ 

She added: ‘I hope my ten-times-great aunt liked the Bard – knowing that Kempe visited the castle and presumably performed there does make me feel that I’m a step nearer to my beloved Shakespeare.’ 

Revelation: Dame Judi Dench, 86, has revealed that her journey on the BBC programme Who Do You Think You Are? has left her feeling closer to William Shakespeare

She went on to express her surprise at her newly discovered Nordic heritage. 

Judi said: ‘I just will never stop talking about it. Now I’m a Dane! Heaven!…I look in the mirror all the time now and think, ‘Aah, Scandinavia!”  

The Skyfall actress also compared the journey she’d been on in the show as like starting a new project.  

‘It’s just been an extraordinary adventure – like starting a play, not knowing your part in it.’ 

Happy: After visiting the Kronborg Castle - immortalised in Shakespeare's play Hamlet - Judi, who played Ophelia in Hamlet (pictured, 1957) admitted to the the Radio Times : 'I’ve always wanted to visit Kronborg Castle and now not only have I visited it, but I have a link to it, too.'

Happy: After visiting the Kronborg Castle – immortalised in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet – Judi, who played Ophelia in Hamlet (pictured, 1957) admitted to the the Radio Times : ‘I’ve always wanted to visit Kronborg Castle and now not only have I visited it, but I have a link to it, too.’

Judi has previously spoken out about her obsession with the Elizabethan bard, and has played a number of roles in various plays by him, including Ophelia in Hamlet, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth.  

Judi also finds out about her father, Reginald – who never spoke of his experiences during the First World War. 

Others taking part in this year’s series of the genealogy show include Pixie Lott, 30, Alex Scott, 36, Joe Sugg, 30, Joe Lycett, 33, Josh Widdicombe, 38, and Ed Balls, 54.

Family tree: She added: 'I hope my ten-times-great aunt liked the Bard – knowing that Kempe visited the castle and presumably performed there does make me feel that I’m a step nearer to my beloved Shakespeare'

Family tree: She added: ‘I hope my ten-times-great aunt liked the Bard – knowing that Kempe visited the castle and presumably performed there does make me feel that I’m a step nearer to my beloved Shakespeare’ 

Obsessed: Judi has previously spoken out about her obsession with the Elizabethan bard, and has played a number of roles in various plays by him, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, and Countess Rossillion in All's Well That Ends Well (pictured)

Obsessed: Judi has previously spoken out about her obsession with the Elizabethan bard, and has played a number of roles in various plays by him, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, and Countess Rossillion in All’s Well That Ends Well (pictured) 

Broadcaster and former footballer Alex learns about her Jewish and Jamaican heritage, and ancestors that suffered tremendous hardships.  

YouTuber and Strictly star Joe discovers a remarkable family history as far back as the Great Fire of London, and comedian Josh traces his lineage back to the Elizabethan and Tudor Courts.

Former Labour politician and Ed uncovers great bravery, and some less-admirable conduct, whilst comedian Joe discovers a darker side to his family history.   

Pixie Lott hopes to find the truth of the family story that she has Italian ancestry from Verona, but the reality isn’t quite what she was searching for. 

Amazing! Singer-songwriter Pixie Lott, 30, discovers a musical legacy three-generations strong on her mother's side of the family

Amazing! Singer-songwriter Pixie Lott, 30, discovers a musical legacy three-generations strong on her mother’s side of the family

Looking back: Alex Scott, 36, learns about her Jewish and Jamaican heritage, and ancestors that suffered tremendous hardships

Looking back: Alex Scott, 36, learns about her Jewish and Jamaican heritage, and ancestors that suffered tremendous hardships

She also learns of her great grandfather’s harrowing experiences in the First World War, along with discovering musical genes on her mother’s side of the family.

Alex Scott explores the Jewish ancestry on her mother’s side and learns that her great grandad faced down fascism in London’s East End in 1936. 

She travels to Jamaica to uncover history on the other side of the family and learns of tremendous hardship and suffering as well as some uncomfortable and upsetting history.  

YouTuber and Strictly alumnus Joe Sugg enlists help from his big sister and fellow YouTuber Zoe to explore their family tree. 

He discovers a great-great-great grandfather who was involved in the earliest days of communication by telegraph; ancestors who fled religious persecution in France; and a relative who survived the Great Fire of London.

Finding out more: Strictly alumnus Joe Sugg, 30, enlists help from his big sister and fellow YouTuber Zoe to explore their family tree

Finding out more: Strictly alumnus Joe Sugg, 30, enlists help from his big sister and fellow YouTuber Zoe to explore their family tree

Comedian Joe Lycett manages to find humour everywhere, but he discovers a darker family history as he finds out that his two-times-great grandfather was a boy chimney sweep in the 1850s who later joined the Royal Marines and travelled the world; but struggled to process his experiences.

Amongst his family history, Josh Widdicombe discovers an ancestor cut out of the family fortune and a courtier with intimate access to the King’s commode, whose story ends disastrously during the Civil War. 

From there it’s a dizzying journey back to Elizabethan and Tudor nobility culminating in an incredible ancestral line.  

Light and dark: Comedian Joe Lycett, 33, manages to find humour everywhere, but he discovers a darker family history

Light and dark: Comedian Joe Lycett, 33, manages to find humour everywhere, but he discovers a darker family history

Interesting: Josh Widdicombe, 38, discovers an ancestor cut out of the family fortune and a courtier with intimate access to the King's commode

Interesting: Josh Widdicombe, 38, discovers an ancestor cut out of the family fortune and a courtier with intimate access to the King’s commode

At first, it looks like Ed Balls will uncover an heroic story when he looks into the life of an assistant ship’s surgeon, but the grim reality isn’t quite what he was hoping for.

 However, he uncovers a more inspiring story when investigating the life of an ancestor who lived through the agricultural depression of the 1820s.

Emily Smith, BBC Commissioning Editor for Documentaries, says: ‘We are very excited for this new series of Who Do You Think You Are? and for viewers to share in an extraordinary mix of personal celebrity histories that will take them around the world, unearthing fascinating stories in family trees that are touching, enlightening and always captivating.’

Executive Producer for Wall to Wall, Colette Flight, says: ‘Who Do You Think You Are? is back with another line-up of Britain’s best-loved celebrities exploring their family histories across the UK, Ireland, Denmark and Jamaica. The incredible personal stories they unearth of their ancestors’ lives – from royal love triangles to labourers fighting for their rights, from Victorian child sweeps to battling fascists in London’s East end – reflect and illuminate all our collective history.’

Digging into the past: Former Labour politician and Ed Balls, 54, uncovers great bravery, and some less-admirable conduct

Digging into the past: Former Labour politician and Ed Balls, 54, uncovers great bravery, and some less-admirable conduct

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