Judy Dench’s outrageous behaviour made co-star ‘wet herself on stage’June 4, 2023
Judi Dench jokes Dame Maggie Smith was a ‘complainer’
Don’t be fooled by the plummy vowels and elegant intonation. This dame can swear like a navvy and loves nothing better than shocking her co-stars with a well-chosen profanity. It’s yet another reason why she is a national treasure, of course. Co-stars have revealed tales of delicate needlework spelling out four-letter filth or Dench purposefully trying to put them off while the poor luvvies were actually on stage.
Another of our great stage and screen actresses, Lesley Manville, described the hilarious antics on the Graham Norton Show in 2022.
Manville is currently starring in the absolutely delightful new period romp, Mrs Harris Goes To Paris. It’s a true charmer of a movie. The actress herself calls it: “a musical without music, a soothing balm. It is two hours of gorgeous escapism.”
Audiences have agreed, she added: “People like it which is great.” It’s certainly highly and heartily recommended by this critic, as well.
But, during the show, the star also looked back on her highly acclaimed stage career and reduced everyone to tears of laughter with one anecdote about Dame Judy.
Manville described the moment, during a 1980s run of a certain Chekhov play said: “We were in the Cherry Orchard and I was on stage on my own and she was in the wings trying to make me laugh.
“She was pretending she was being pleasured from behind! I laughed so much I wet myself. Luckily I had a long dress on but the stage was raked and I could see my pee trickling down and over the edge into the stalls. She is so naughty!”
It seems this is just the tip of Dench’s devilish behaviour.
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Her long-standing mutual appreciation society with outrageous comic and actor Billy Connolly is well known. The pair famously bonded on the set of Mrs Brown over the mutual love of bawdy jokes.
However, he is also one of the few to receive a non-rude gift from her, describing a lovely hand-sewn cushion embroidered with “To JB (John Brown) from VR (Victoria Regina).”
Her Pride and Prejudice co-star Matthew McFadyen said: “She makes these like needlework embroideries on set in the tedium of filming, but they are all: ‘You Are a C***’. And she gives them as presents. And it’s Dame Judi Dench. And she is doing this beautifully, intricate, ornate… You kind of see the work materializing as the shoot goes on. Like: ‘You Are a F***ing S***.’
Co-star, Keira Knightley added: “She gives this fantastic air. She just sits there and she embroiders and you think: ‘Oh, that’s so nice! It’s Judi Dench. It’s so quaint; she’s embroidering a cushion’, and you go: ‘What are you embroidering?’ And (it says): ‘F***!’ Apparently she’s got hundreds of them just covered in swear words or rude sayings.”
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris: Lesley Manville stars in trailer
Dench even managed to shock the now disgraced Harvey Weinstein. After winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, which he produced and heavily promoted, the actress told him she’d had his name tattooed on her behind.
She added: “We went out to lunch, to the Four Seasons. Beforehand, I got my makeup lady to actually write Harvey’s name. Then I brought it up at lunch and said, “You know, I do have it on my bum” – and then I actually got up and showed him! I’ve never seen a man more embarrassed and I’ve never let him forget it. Perhaps I should have it done and really shock him!
The Graham Norton Show is available on BBC iPlayer
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