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Dame Judi Dench fondly remembers late husband in new Louis Theroux interview


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ame Judi Dench has fondly remembered her late husband Michael Williams and his great sense of humour in an intimate interview with Louis Theroux.

The stage and screen veteran discussed her husband’s death in 2001 as she looked back on her life and lengthy career with the documentarian.

The pair met at Dame Judi’s Surrey home during the second episode of the new BBC Two series, Louis Theroux Interviews.

Speaking about her marriage to fellow actor Williams, who she married in 1971, she said it was “impossible to tell” what had been the foundation of their successful marriage.

“(His) sense of humour mostly,” she said.

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“Michael used to laugh and when he used to laugh he used to cry. I think mostly, interest in the same things of course, but I mean what is it? It’s impossible to tell.

The pair had purchased their house after a lucrative series of adverts for Clover Butter, which they had starred in together.

Dame Judi became emotional when discussing her husband’s death from lung cancer, admitting “I’m not good at it”.

“I was in New York and they said he was not well so my agent flew out and we came back on Concorde the next day,” she said.

“And it aborted take off and we got off and went back and they said ‘oh it’ll be alright’ and we got on another plane and the same thing happened.

“So it took us a long, long time to get back, but we were back, and got back here so we were all in the house together and that was very, very good indeed.”

The actress added that she had immersed herself in work following Williams’ death in order to “use up a bit of energy instead of thinking about it”.

As well as her extensive career on stage playing numerous Shakespearean roles, Dame Judi is well known for multiple film roles including the famous character of James Bond taskmaster M.

She played the role in eight Bond films beginning with 1995’s GoldenEye until a final cameo appearance in Spectre in 2015.

She revealed that it had been Williams who had encouraged her to accept the part, telling her “you’ve got to do it, I’ve got to live with a Bond woman”.

Speaking about her first appearance as M, alongside Pierce Brosnan, she said: “I hope Pierce wouldn’t mind me saying, but we were both very frightened, suddenly taking over those two roles, it was very demanding and one was nervous about it.”

Dame Judi also admitted that filming was “agony” and that she had not seen many of her own films “because I will be irritated”.

The interview also briefly addressed issues surrounding disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, with the actress saying she had never experienced his darker side.

“I don’t know any other side, although I don’t in any way not have immense compassion for anyone who had another side presented to them,” she said.

As the series continues Theroux is also set to get up close and personal with other big names in the entertainment industry, including Rita Ora and Bear Grylls.

The first episode of Louis Theroux Interviews featured British rapper Stormzy.

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