Judi Dench recalls rude blunder during Shakespeare play


Judi Dench once made a “terrible mistake” and said a risque word while performing in a production of William Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice.

The Skyfall actress made an appearance on The Graham Norton Show alongside Kenneth Branagh to promote their new movie All Is True, in which he plays the legendary playwright and she portrays his wife Anne Hathaway.

During the chat, which airs in the U.K. on Friday (25Jan19), Judi revealed that one of her least favourite Shakespeare works is The Merchant of Venice, but recalled that she signed up to play Portia in a 1970s production of it alongside her late husband Michael Williams “against her will” , and during one of Portia’s speech she made an embarrassing error.

“I had a speech to him and I made a terrible, terrible mistake. Instead of saying, ‘I speak too long; but ’tis to peize the time, to eke it and to draw it out in length, to stay you from election.’ I said ‘Erection,'” she recalled. “The wind band that was about to play put down their instruments and walked off the stage in shock. It caused a lot of unrest!”

Judi and Kenneth are well-versed with Shakespeare, and even starred alongside each other in a 2015 stage adaptation of his play The Winter’s Tale. The duo have worked together many times, so Judi immediately said yes to All Is True, Kenneth’s latest turn as director.

“All the films I have done with Ken is the same story. He just says, ‘I wonder if you would be interested… and I say ‘Yes,’ and for this one I got a call from my agent to say Ken wanted to come down and talk to me about something, and I said, ‘Tell him not to come, I’ll do it,'” she recalled, while the Dunkirk actor added, “It is absolutely true. She said, ‘Don’t waste the petrol.'”