An Interview With Dame Judy Dench
Multi-award-winning drama Cranford returns this Christmas, as Miss Matty adjusts to life following the loss of her beloved sister, Deborah, two years ago.
Here, Dame Judi Dench talks about how she couldn't wait to return to set.
Were you surprised when you were asked to return for another series?
We thought that was it after the last series. But it's lovely that it did come back. It's so beautifully created again from Elizabeth Gaskell's novels really, really well-written. I initially wanted to do Cranford because it seemed like a very different proposition. I knew the book, because I had to read it at school. I was very bored reading it, but I was very intrigued by the script when it arrived.
How did the new members of the cast fit in?
Oh we gave the newcomers a really horrible time especially Jonathan Pryce [who plays Mr Buxton]! And you know what they say about not working with children or animals; well, I'd like to have a two-hander with Sykes the dog he was sensational and never put a paw out of line. He was wonderful.
What's going on in Cranford this Christmas?
The town is resistant about the railway, which they want to bring into Cranford. Mr Buxton, his son, William, and his ward, Erminia, all come back to Cranford, so suddenly there's a lot of young blood about the place, which is lovely, but we spend a lot of our time resisting the railway so there's a tremendous kind of fight.
And your character, Miss Matty?
Poor old Miss Matty! She deserves a bit of happiness it's about bloody time! She starts to have a really nice time, though wait until Cranford 3!
Would you have liked to live in the 1840s?
Oh no. I wouldn't have liked to have lived back then all that washing! Mind you, when I was little we didn't have a dishwasher, we didn't have a washing machine we didn't have any of those things, so we had a bit of that at the end of the Thirties. But I don't think I would have liked it, other than to experience the community of the people, which is what is important.
Your career has spanned many genres - do you like working in TV?
I prefer the theatre. TV takes quite a long time. It's an enormous amount of work to do in a very short schedule, so you really have to be on the ball. But the crew was phenomenal I don't know how they do it. They were brilliant.
What are your plans for Christmas?
I'll be spending Christmas at home with the family and friends. It'll be lovely. If I'm not actually doing anything then I will be watching Cranford. I don't like watching myself, though, but I don't mind watching television.
06 December 2010
A Chat With Twiggy
Twiggy tells us a little about her life, past and present.
I have a very normal life away from my working life. It's important, otherwise you would go mad. I'm lucky that I have Leigh. We work well together I'm the artistic side and he's the business side.
Leigh and I have been together 25 years. It was an advantage that we met each other when we were a bit older, when we had both been through a relationship that had ended. I think maybe then you are more careful.
I'm quite a private person. If I have a problem I would probably talk to Leigh or my daughter Carly. I think you can usually sort things out within the family.
I've just started singing lessons again after being out of kilter with it for a couple of years. It's such a lovely thing to do and it's so good for you body and soul.
My escape when I want to calm down is to buy some fabric and a pattern, and sew. And in the end you get something out of it, it's lovely.
Back in the 60s, there was a car sticker that read "Forget Oxfam, Feed Twiggy", but I ate like a horse. These days, I'm much more careful with what I eat, not because of my weight but for my health.
Sleep is one of the great pleasures of life. Designing my bed linen line seemed like a natural progression for me. Everyone loves getting into a bed made up with beautiful linen. I love sewing, I love fabrics and I love sleeping.
We often go for walks and you very rarely pass anyone. Our house is near marshland and about three miles from the coast, so you get wonderful wildlife and big skies.
It was at the end of a long walk that I was spotted by Marks & Spencer in 2005. I was having lunch in Southwold, wearing Wellington boots, jeans and an anorak. I didn't exactly look my best, but the new marketing director saw me and got the idea. Who knew that would happen?
Ageing is hard, but it's no good getting depressed about it because it's inevitable. We are all born, we all have our life, we get old and then hopefully go somewhere else.
I am proud of being 60, but I don't want to talk about it every day. I want to look good for my age, but I don't want to look 25 because that would be ridiculous.
Being young isn't about age, it's about being a free spirit. You can meet someone of 20 who's boring and old, or you can meet someone of 70 who's youthful and exciting. I met Fred Astaire when he was 72 and I was 21, and I fell in love with him. He certainly was a free spirit.
I've always loved life, and I've never known what's ahead. I love not knowing what might be round the corner. I love serendipity
25 November 2010