Judi Dench is fantastic. She’s a masterful actor and she makes amazing needlework while hanging out on set. But she also has very interesting coincidences that tie her in with–first of all–the real Elsinore. Check out this clip:
Now…I thought that was cool, but then just the other day I heard the fragment that the BBC has extant of Dame Judi’s 1972 appearance on Desert Island Discs. (She’s appeared three times in total.) It’s not embeddable but you can find it here. It’s obviously best if you hear it in her voice, since it’s, you know, her voice, but in case you can’t click through at the moment:
ROY PLOMLEY: You did a production of Winter’s Tale in which you doubled Hermione and Perdita. Had that been done before?
JUDI DENCH: Yes, it had been done in…I think 1886 by Mary Anderson at the Lyceum with Forbes-Robertson. And actually, during this, while we’re talking about it, I was [told] a very strange thing… On the day I was married, J.C Trewin sent Michael [Williams, her husband] and myself a sepia photograph of Mary Anderson saying, “You may or may not know this but during the time she was doubling Hermione and Perdita, she got married in exactly the same church that you’re marrying today.”
It makes me wonder how many other Shakespeare-adjacent coincidences she has experienced over her lifetime. This just underscores the theory that Dame Judi is a kind of Thespian Nexus.