Judi Dench receives a lifetime achievement award from IFTA
Judi Dench has revealed the heartbreaking struggles she now faces while making movies, admitting: “I can’t see on a film set any more.”
The 88-year-old star, who is known the world over for her role as M in James Bond, has admitted that being so dependent on those around her has been a “terrible shock to the system”.
However, despite her struggles with age-related macular degeneration, she still intends to work “as much as I can”.
Telling all in a new interview with Notebook, she clarified: “I can’t see to read… but, you know, you just deal with it… It’s difficult for me if I have any length of a part. I haven’t yet found a way.”
She continued: “I have so many friends who will teach me the script, but I have a photographic memory.”
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Research published in New Scientist has suggested that the average person finds it easier to remember what they see than what they hear.
Judi’s ability to use that technique, instead of verbal recall, has been severely impacted by her deteriorating sight and the condition, which she’s had for over a decade, has also forced her to give up driving.
Talking to the Guardian, she joked previously: “I [now] have to learn through repetition, and I just hope that people won’t notice too much if all the lines are completely hopeless!”
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According to the NHS, age-related macular degeneration doesn’t usually cause total blindness, but it can make simple tasks, such as recognising faces, extremely difficult.
Judi found this out the hard way in an embarrassing encounter when she yelled a playful insult, mistakenly believing a random passerby was her pal Alistair McGowan.
“I was driving along and saw who I thought was Alistair and I shouted ‘w***er’… and it was a total stranger!” she cringed to the Independent.
Meanwhile, her condition has also affected her ability to see her food.
In one dark restaurant last year, she had to ask her partner, David Mills, to cut her food up for her and hand it to her on a fork.
She has begun to take memory supplements to give her a boost with learning lines.
Despite the issues, she’s made it clear she has no plans to retire just yet, and courageously carried on with a planned Royal Shakespeare Performance attendance this month in front of King Charles.
She was among the special guests invited by the Royal Family, which also included Vanessa Redgrave and Helena Bonham Carter.
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