At 88 years of age, an Oscar (for a six-minute performance in only four scenes as “Queen Elizabeth I” in ‘ the Oscar winning ‘Shakespeare in Love’), 10 BAFTA’s and a BAFTA lifetime Fellowship award and a back catalogue of 134 films Dame Judi Dench has nothing to prove and and her forthcoming film ‘Allelujah (watch the trailer HERE) is about to be released. And yet Dame Judi Dench might not be making any more films ! It is all due to an age-related degenerative eye condition, a macular degeneration she has suffered from for more than ten years, and that is affecting her ability to remember lines.
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Appearing on the BBC’s The Graham Norton show she said, ‘“It has become impossible and because I have a photographic memory, I need to find a machine that not only teaches me my lines, but also tells me where they appear on the page,” Dench said. “I used to find it very easy to learn lines and remember them. I could do the whole of Twelfth Night right now.”
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She has soldiered on through a whole load of films most notably in the Daniel Craig era of Bond films as ‘M’ and might well have contributed to her stepping away from such big blockbusters for smaller films such as ‘Allelujah’ which is geriatric ward in a small Yorkshire hospital threatened with closure and is based on the stage play by Alan Bennett and is something of an ensemble piece with a all star cast of great British actors that includes Jennifer Saunders, David Bradley, Derek Jacobi, Julia McKenzie and Russell Tovey.
Despite a huge array of roles as an actress she has only directed once and that was a 1989 TV version of Look Back in Anger which starred Kenneth Branagh who would go on to direct her in the Oscar nominated, ‘Belfast.