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How are you coping? How's it going? Well, it's a bit vacuous, isn't it? Oh, no, because we're doing this today and I didn't know the date or the time. Yes, in the middle of the night, I suddenly woke up and I thought of two lines. I wasted time and nerve gas time waste me. Oh. Which is the second day I have you. Yes, of course you have. Yes. And but you know.
Yes, I know how much of it to waste this time. I just think I got 85. I can't waste any more days.
I know it's all a bit weird when we've got home schooling going on here, which is it's hard to really follow up with your own children. How old are they? Oh, we've got a range. We've got an 18 year old. So he's done he's not in school, but then we've got nine seven. I have to keep thinking four and seven months.
Excuse me. Yeah, we've got it all very busy. I know. I do. I wish someone would explain to me how would stop.
David Tennant does a podcast with Judi Dench. Thank you so much for doing this. It's a real joy to me that you're here. And for me, when I tell people that I was talking to you today, everyone without fail goes a little sort of glassy eyed and they immediately say something.
But I love her. And that's from people who know you very well, who've worked with you, other people who've never met you, who just admire you. I mean, universally, you receive adoration. And I do. I do possibly. Even if only Queen Elizabeth herself demands more loyalty from the people of Britain. And she's probably a more controversial figure.
So I think you are Stephen Fry said that you should have railings built around you so that you could cover admire you.
I know he's the one with the railings. He's a great big prince and railings and stuff. Well, this is undoubtedly lovely and right and proper that you're regarded as such. Does it not feel like a terrible pressure to be so adored?
And because people do feel you and there are plenty of people who don't take it like don't believe you. I can't find a single one really spiteful.
But you just get on with life, you and I, and the job you've chosen to do, you do as well as you can as all you worry about. Do you see the kind of people that's what's so wonderful about this lockdown is what's really incredible is these people's amazing kindness. The general public are very, very kind.
And to each other and to and that's very much the overwhelming sense you get. Kindness of people are, I imagine, delighted to see you when they bump into you in the supermarket or whatever. Not not that that's happening at the moment.
But, you know, sometimes. But you don't feel a pressure to. Well, I suppose what I mean is you don't feel do you not feel a pressure to be a national treasure or something?
Oh, I love loathe that word, I'm sure. But it's often attributed to something very, very just isn't it behind the glass in the corner. Hmm. It's a relic mean. Do you think that gets in the way of acting notions like that? Well, yes. I mean, that's why it's such fun to, you know, to pay parts that I hate, to play parts that are expected, you know, part comes through the thing and it's some old person dying in a chair somewhere, I think.
Oh, no, no, it's not that it's not that I want to play, you know, somebody who you think is a benign old lady sitting in a chair in natural that she's bumping people off about. Right, for example, are really looking for a lot of villains to play. You haven't played a lot of villains, have, you know, not enough. Not enough now. But a couple of cracker's notes on a scandal, notes on a scandal, might want to play right.
And having a good fight with get it right. You were I mean, for most of your career, I suppose statistically, you were a theatre star and then actor. Sorry, of course. Quite right. And it's sort of relatively late in life. You are reasonably late into your career. You were already established when you became a star on television and in the cinema. Did that? Yes. Yes. Does that give you a different. So suddenly you you become public property in a slightly different way.
Is that something that you. Well, it's just different. I never wanted to make a film at all, ever. Right. And was told I would tell the story. So I told I wouldn't have had the wrong kind of face to make films. And so I was told that I wouldn't you know, it said very nice to meet you, but not rap for the partner. You're ever going to make films because. No way. That was when you were brand new.
You got your toys when I was at the vic. Right. And I only ever wanted to do Shakespeare and in a theater. Right. Except if I change as a theater designer before that rise, which I originally wanted to be. Yes, but the theaters in at it, I think there's no substitute for it. And also you when you've done a film, that's it. Kind of change it and you go to see it, you know, irritated intensely about the fact of the buttons that you chose to push to do that part.
You think, oh, what a chance missed. Right? I hate it. I really hate having to see myself. But in the theater, you know, you can go on until you get it right. Yeah, sometimes you're lucky. I mean, you were you got off to a fairly cracking start, didn't you?
Straight out of central cracking casting start ups. Yes. Yes. How did that come about? How did you end up going straight from drama school to to the Old Vic? We did a final show, Wyndham Central, you know, Central that I was three years at the Albert Hall. We were we did a final show, Wyndham's and at that show were about, I think, half a dozen people, probably somebody from film, somebody from the vic and several other people.
And then a couple of days later, I had a call saying, would I go and see Michael then at the vic? And so I went and it was to audition for Ophelia. Right.
And this was all your dreams coming true. I mean, this is what you are hoping. He said you're not allowed to tell anybody at all. Yes. Because that was in kind of the spring and I wasn't there until the autumn. And I was going back to do the mystery place in New York, my hometown. Right. And I only was allowed to tell my parents. Couldn't tell anybody. What did they say? Well, they were absolutely thrilled because they were theatre fans.
All right. Yes. We were taken to the theatre all the time. Right. All the time. I want to ask you all these questions. Well, that's you know, I want to be asking you.
You have to do your own podcast to do that. You have to do it. So tell me about that.
First that suddenly what are you are you at this point? Twenty to twenty two. And you're at the Old Vic. John Neville's playing Hamlet. Suddenly you're Ophelia. What was that first night, do you remember? Is it vividly opened? Michael, I thought it would be a good idea if we opened a week out of London. Right. So we were all caught in Liverpool. Right.
And I went up there with my great friends, Barbara Lee Hunt and Juliet Cook and Adrienne Hill at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Liverpool. When we got there, they said we can't go in because there are three men in one bed in this room. We were quite right. They're wonderful things. Funny. Isn't that something you think about? Anyway, we opened in Liverpool and it went very well. And then we came to Vic and then I got not good notices at all.
And they said, how dare the so-called we didn't have a national theatre that the so-called National Theatre get somebody who's just out of drama school. But that must have been that must have been devastating, wasn't it? Is it was it was devastating. I mean, you're a very, very long hair. Let can cut it all off. But Michael Bentall just stood by me all the time. And for that whole season I played, Oh, The First Fairy and the Dream and understudy in there and understudy in the Henry Sixes and played the spirit conjured up by Eleanor and played Morag Twelfth Night.
And he just he just kept me there and he his belief in me was why I stayed.
How resilient were you as a 22 year old? I mean, did you know so when you read those reviews, did you cry? Did you.
I went to pieces. Completely to pieces, but with Johnny Neville and Michael and that company and and my friend Hunt and, you know, they didn't let me go to pieces. And do you think was there any truth in it or was it just were you just being punished for doing that? Oh, yes. Well, I'm sure there was truth in it all. I could do it better now, right? Grotesque of marvelous that I could do better now.
I've had the pleasure of seeing you many times in a whole variety of things, and you always seem very at ease. It feels like when you're on stage, you you you feel like you've arrived, like you're at home. I wonder how much of that is you faking it. And I wonder whether that is just whether you do feel like when you're on stage or you're home. I do feel that right. If anything about work, that's the place I'm most comfortable, right?
Absolutely. No question about it. That kind of business of getting ready. And I say what kind of jokes and things and preparing yourself for it or not preparing yourself for it and either having somebody there that you're doing it for or then just inventing somebody that you're doing it for. But I do love it. Just a process of going through, you know, how nervous do you get? I get nervous. I get very nervous. I wouldn't like to be without the nerves because they're the fuel for that wonderful fuel to have fear as long as it doesn't overbalance, I suppose.
Yeah. Yeah. Have you ever come close to a proper stage fright? I'm sure I have. I've drag in the middle of songs. That's tricky. Oh yes. Yes. Because the music keeps coming music all the time, but nobody take advantage of notice of you. Not. That's tricky. Yes. I remember when when Johnny Neville came to see Cabaret and I wanted it to go so well and I dried in the middle of a song I wrote and sang.
What do you have strategies for? For calming yourself or do you lean into that? No, I don't have any strategies at all. Had not made any plans ever. Right. Right. I'd just like to put it out to chance. Right.
When you're rehearsing something, do you are you aware of what sort of when the light comes in or do you do you feel yourself sort of things beginning to fit? Or is it is it purely instinctive and gradual or I mean, do you have a process that, you know, process right now?
Process? No, I judge it by the jokes. I have wonderful laughs and things. Oh, God, I never would. Never to. But if it's very tense and, you know, and uneasy and I get there. I do I do J.A.G. you do you enjoy rehearsals as long as everyone's laughing. Oh yeah. As long as, as long as there's a sense of, you know, if there's an ease, therefore people work together better.
It's about everyone feeling as if as if they just can do what they like. It's a rehearsal time, for God's sake. You can make mistakes and you can try anything. But if you if you feel inhibited or nervous about somebody else, it's about the presence of somebody else or something. Then you can't get out. You know, you you don't you deserve something. And rehearsals, the time for not reserving anything, chucking it all in and then sorting out the bits that you think would you.
Yeah. You need to use. So you often the principal joker in the pack. No, I'm just a jobbing joker. Right. But very much willing to go along with whatever they liked.
And you see now sit down because I can't see very well now. And I'm in The Winter's Tale with Gambro Brown. I used to miss a lot of jokes. I know I used to write me during and after we'd been doing doing it for about three weeks. He can say to me, to you in that in the last scene, when you have that speech to me, if you were to say it about eight feet to your right, you'd be talking to me and not the boss.
Oh, this is wonderful. Do you are you sometimes and I don't mean to be indelicate, but are you sometimes guilty of giggling during a performance when that's not entirely what this. Riped quires indelicacy, will you say this? I'm just saying Mr. Well, I've heard it might have been reported hay fever. We were we got into terrible trouble escort only because Peter Bowes called the woman the wrong. There are only four of us around the breakfast table.
You suddenly called this woman, Jane Seymour, suddenly called Seymour. We went to pieces, we went completely to pieces, and then the audience found out and realised he had to repeat it. And that there is a sort of delicious agony to that. The exquisite agony, exquisite agony, agony. It's what's an art school, which I think, isn't it? Right. Right. John Gielgud. Really, he was terrible. Absolutely terrible. Oh, God.
He said to me, you know, he was terribly behaved during the cherry orchard in the last act. He the all he and patients Colerain and I want to come home together. I just came on.
He produced an enormous cucumber from under his coat and said, patients, could you see if you can you what have you been told off by company managers and directors and for misbehaving total.
Yes, ingenuously in everything I've done. It's it's no right. Of course. Yes. But that is not to say that it's not exquisite. Is it true?
I've heard you say that when you directed for the theatre, you suddenly were rather less forgiving? Of course I was. Of course, I was furious with where are you? Right. And I used to want to go when they went on tour, it was much ado can run. And they went on to Ken, left that data before I gave the notes, left his costume because he thought you were going to give him a row.
Are you more satisfied by making an audience laugh or cry? We don't know when they're crying. You say you don't know if they're crying. No, no. They go very quiet when we get she up. I knew I knew that was a line that should get a laugh. Right. And we did 100 performances. And on the hundreds, I got the laugh. Oh, that's infuriating, isn't it? Yes. How absolutely infuriating is that?
And were you aware of what you did differently now? Oh, that's a different well, not, you know, subconsciously perhaps.
But, you know, you've never done a one person in front of that. I really wouldn't know who you are, where do the jokes and you're getting ready. Yes, we are getting ready for something a made up. Where are the jokes? You know, when we didn't prepare, we were like children, all of this completely. But in a way, I kept thinking that's in a way that blowing the froth off the beer before we actually get to the beer, people throwing pets there, you wouldn't believe we all grown people going to do a very serious ballet.
Yes. The jokes are terribly important to you. Oh, the most important of all. Yes, the most.
Do you regard successes on how much fun you've had then rather than any sort of critical upsets?
A lot of it. Yes. Yes, a lot to do with it because. Well, I didn't want to do it if you don't have a good time doing it. And by that I didn't mean singularly a good guy. I mean a good time all together. Yes. I mean, the thing of a good company together working is thrilling that that camaraderie, that being in a company is the thing that's always been cherished, I think.
And you recently became British Vogue's oldest ever cover star, which was discontinued. Well, with got do I have to do a radio interview? And I don't know whether it was somebody very far away anyway. A man and he rang ABC. Well, what does it feel like? The first Vogue covers 85.
Actually, you don't have to remind me. Yes, please don't remind me.
They just never asked before. No, no, no. Sure, David. Oh, come on. You want to. Come on. Do you enjoy all that?
Do you enjoy getting spruced up and photographed?
No, I get much enjoy that. But I did enjoy doing that one. That's so nice. Right? They were so into the it wasn't doing my makeup and person hair and the cameramen, they were all so nice. Very, very good film. And I usually, you know, I'm usually not I'm usually squeamish about about having to get into ground clothes and get ready for something that I have gone to the hot and sweaty thinking of it. But they were lovely.
And we had at one point we had three wind machines when I was in my seventh. No action. One just blows everything up. Oh, I love I love it. I said I never want to do about it. I don't have a wind machine.
Oh, how are you with that promotional side of it? Well, obviously, Vogue was a lovely experience, but increasingly that's expected, isn't it, with every job you do that, you must talk about it. And he said, you know, to do your version of yourself on television very much right now, just, you know, let people pick the bones out themselves. Yeah.
And you enjoyed one of the most unusual things amongst actors, at least, which is a very happy marriage that lasted for 30 years or 30 years, last three weeks. Well, Michael Williams, your late husband, was a very successful, busy actor himself. And it's not a profession that necessarily lends itself to a sort of contented family life. But you seem to achieve it. Is that just down to. Luck, right? Yes, and the combination of individuals, presumably you didn't have to work at that, you just I can't I can't ever had to work at.
Hmm. But, I mean, sometimes my kids to have black dog days sometimes. Right. But he was. He was incredibly unselfish man, and he wouldn't ever attribute that. To anything that might be between us, you can explain, right, any time. Yeah, yeah. And oh, God, Harry used to make me laugh. Oh, he used to make me absolutely how we give Mr. and Mrs. Nobody together, right. You said after you would have a lovely time doing now, you said it's very, very funny piece that laugh.
It doesn't last long. And then we'll go home afterwards. Well, it was the most exhausting piece was because we played every part in it except Penny Ryder and Gary Fair, who were both in it playing, playing the maid in the bathtub. They never had anything to say, but it was just lovely having them both there. But it was Mark. At one point I wore three costumes, one on top of the other. And it was a huge except the Garik huge success.
And it was hugely good fun to do, but it was so exhausting. You worked together a lot, didn't you? On stage and on television. Yes. Comedy that as it started in London. Insurance, right. That was good fun. Do you remember the first time that you met? Yes. Was it? We met in that pub opposite Jerry Yang. I think it's sweet. Nativo Drewry. I think it's cool. And did you did something?
No, no, no, no. Immediate twinkle. Yes. You said something which made me laugh a lot. And then I didn't see him for ages. And then we went the I.R.S. went to Australia, Japan and Australia. And in Australia, Charlie Thomas, who's playing Orsino. Died and we were all in a very, very bad way, and Mikey, who was in the other half of the company, got a plane and came out.
CSU and the saving grace, really. And then he said, Will you marry me? I said, will you please ask me on a rainy day and back to see. So it felt more real? Yes. Yes. Then it would feel real. And so that's what happened.
You yourself came from a very secure, happy home. Do you think that did that inform how you regarded your own marriage and what you expected in a marriage? Do you think? Do you think that. No, I think I was just very lucky to meet my right. But I mean, there is no doubt I did come from a very, very secure and happy home. And that may have had something to it. But she used to make me laugh.
Wonderful. Wonderful. And since you would say that now to write and laugh a lot, we asked you, what did you and how would you cope?
Because acting alone is very unsociable hours. One is often away a lot. How would you sort of juggle all that?
Well, in the best way we could, really. I had to go to Bangkok to film. With Stephen Frears and David Hare and and Finch came out, which was absolutely lovely, which they're so used to, you know, we used to try and be as much as we could all together. Right. I never remember being away for a long time. Yeah. And was that part of the reason you would you would try and work together? That was luck, right?
Yes. Because when we came back from Australia, because Mikey only came out for a week to see us. And so after the week, we were all going off to the theatre and his playing was later that night. And we said our goodbyes. And when we came back, he was still in the bar. Oh, so he said I thought I thought I'd just stay a few more days. So after another week, we all said goodbye.
He came back, he was in the bar. So he stayed for the whole of the rest of the tour. And we got off the plane and Trevor was there, I think because I was going to be a great Harkaway London insurance and looked at the two of us and thought, gosh, Michael would be very good in that other part and say we were in that together.
And did you work well together? It was nice to be around each other, but were you good? Were you good for each other when you were working? I hope yes.
I mean, we enjoyed it enormously. I hope you were good for each other. But we we had a lovely time, you know, it was never a tricky time. Right. Right. Would you sort of monitor each other? Would you be would you be honest about each other's work or is that not what you would do?
I think that you just you know, we might think that something had gone better. We might perhaps, but we never discussed never discussed the theatre at home, OK? Never discussed today's rehearsal at home or anything.
And Michael died in 2001 after a long illness. How long did it take you to. Work out how to be without him. I take now. I don't know, perhaps I've never done that quite. Mm hmm, although I have met David who who runs the the British Wildlife Center. Right. Right. So. And he's about four miles away, and that's just lovely because he loves about the same things, we love about the same things and.
But I don't I suspect I should never, ever get over my right. Do you think going through that sort of grief changes? Who you are at work or changes, the work, even changes you are altogether right? I think Mom and. Yes, changes you are because it's like it's like you're walking along and suddenly you're not looking. There's an enormous chasm in front of you and all sorts of things take you. Unexpected kind of things happen.
You know, suddenly you're walking somewhere and there's a there's a photograph or something and, you know, so. I don't expect you ever get used to it. Hmm. Sometimes the door in this house just opens. And I think that he's just day as. No. And of course, your daughter is an actress. She is indeed. Do you think was that an inevitability to that growing up in your household?
And maybe I think or she could have been a dancer. I think if she. Right to be. Yes. I suppose it was a bit dyed in the wool. Yeah. That she that she wanted. She was always I remember I remember when I was in the National with Gandhi Lewis, she was she came and she was in the dressing room that evening. She'd been to something I think came back. And when I came up, she was wearing my dress from the closet.
And that was like, oh, hello, I don't watch it. Will get it. And she did a pack of lies not long ago. The piece that Mike and I did together, she was she and Chris Rock. And they were so wonderful, really wonderful. So you didn't attempt to discourage her from that life? We didn't. No, we didn't. I mean, you know, if you if you have that kind of feeling that you want to do to any of your children, going to has one as the 18 year old is already acting.
Yeah. Is it. Yes, he is. Yeah. Which is lovely. You know, it's it's because he seems to be quite good at it. So that's the relief. So yeah.
But he enjoys it. Oh he loves it. Yes. And does he talk to you about it.
He does a bit, yes. He's he sort of we sort of talk about the kind of little but the acting itself and more about the how to be and how to you know how to be on a set and how to you know, I think there's a terrible danger that actors can become terribly entitled and and monstrous. And there's no reason not to believe too much in themselves. Well, quite. Yes. Yes, I agree. So that's we have conversations about that a lot.
But he's good. He's very aware and he's a very respectful man.
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One of the things that you did do, of course, very successfully with Michael was a fine romance on television, which was a huge hit.
Was it when you when you started doing those very popular TV shows that you started, that you lost a sort of layer of anonymity that the theater allows you to keep?
I suppose you become better known by people who don't like the theater. Yes, yes.
Well, would you go from you go from being in millions of people's living rooms, from being which is unless you become public property. Yes, that's very true. I remember once when we were doing. A fine romance. I got a letter. Yes, Jean Pargeter, that was my name in it, I got a letter from the American lady saying, Give you what? Ginger Jean Pargeter would have never had that quilt on her. Yes, but she did.
Yes. Quote, I think she sent another. I think it's so funny, isn't it? Well, it's because you're in their sitting rooms. Yes, quite. You know, it's a different thing from playing, you know, my lord of Burgundy is not that part at all, is it's not. It's the old iron ore part, old iron ore. Why would you like a gin and tonic? It's that kind of. Well, I suppose.
Yeah, but of course, you then become even more public property in 1995.
I think there's a picture of it on your wall behind you. In 1995, you become James Bond's boss. There is. You see that icon. Yes. Looking down on yourself there, it's a glorious photograph is the only war in the whole of this house that can take that picture. That's right. That's right. It was given to me on my last last day. Right. Was that a surprising phone call to get asked to become rising coming from the Secret Service?
I'll say. And I was very, very kind of nervous about it. And my guess is you've got to do it. You've got to do it. Is it I can say I'm living with a bond woman. I've got to tell you, were you did seven, but I did read it. I did half an hour on Spectre. Oh, well, that counts. Of course, I haven't seen Spector, but they see they see a little television thing of me saying something, right?
Yes. Yes. And so wait, so that's more than any James Bond has ever managed, I think.
Yes, quite well. Jim was eight. Maybe he didn't make it right. But you're up there. Certainly. Were you disappointed to be killed off? Would you have kept that one? I'm not sure. I want you never being sent anywhere. And we went to school on one of her. Many I complained about always being in that office, as you will get to go everywhere I go. And so they put me in a trailer, one of the surrogates at Innsbruck, and said to me, You never complain about never being glamorous.
I had a lovely time. No, they were lovely. All of them. Yes.
And but then it was for Mrs Brown, which was a movie originally made for television. I believe it. That ended up you were playing Queen Victoria and it became a theatrical release and you are summoned to the Oscars for the first time. And were you able to enjoy the carousel of all that? Oh yeah. Oh God. The make and the orange juice and the makeup and the nails. Right. And a great big basketful of goodies in your room.
Right? When Max went when Maggie Smith went, they gave her a massage chair. How would you get that? I did. She it. But we are very spoilt, right? You get very, very small. And I took Fent with me and Antonio Banderas asked if she had a light on her and she was. Absolutely and this is a wonderful thing of saying is that if I tried to try to hold it steady, I couldn't eat.
I think it was nothing. Yeah, it's great. And since then, you've been nominated multiple times. You've been back at the ceremony. Does it feel like after all that time you were suddenly let into a club? No.
Each time different. Each time, you know. Each time frightening, it's just chance that you're there. Do you know what I mean? Right. Giants, they don't. That's not any kind of false modesty in any way. But it's just, you know, it's just, ah, you go and you're naturally nervous and. And it's not like anything here, really. Hmm. And it doesn't I mean, it's quite a palaver. It is.
And you keep seeing people who are your heroes, and it's right. And you can't kind of get you can't go you can't do that. Right. How do you do? Right. And then you go. So who do you get? Who's who do you get starstruck to meet? Who were you gobsmacked to me? Meryl Streep. Right. And I bet she thinks that about, you know, I get it. She thinks you're talking to Robby Robin Williams.
Yes. And I mentioned before that is because Billy Billy Connolly, of course. Yes. He used to have a wonderful yearly party, lasting about three days at his at his house up in Scotland. And Robin Williams was always there.
Right. Right. I bet they're fun together, and Steve Martin and Eric Idle, Eddie Izzard. Wow, got quite a few laughs, of course, because. Oh, it's wonderful. It's wonderful. So that could. And then in 1998, of course, you you win the Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, by which time in your career you've won pretty much every other acting prize going multiple times often. Is an Oscar different?
So did you go for it? Sure was every way to go. And yes, some people talk about the Oscars here and there and and it's a kind of night put aside to watch the Oscars. And I suppose it's all frightening. I think it's really frightening and anxious making. And does it change anything, winning an Oscar? Does that alter the way your things you're asked to do the way you're regarded? I don't know. Right. But my 10 cent were with me and I was going to New York the next day to be, in Amy's view, OK, and so Mike and Oscar back and it went to the pub.
I did. What do you do with all your prizes?
Where are the whole script? Where are they? Well, I was there about the place. It's a lot of polishing, isn't there, about the place? It's a lot of buffing. I go to the bathroom. Right. Somebody actually came to see me not long ago who got one and who complained to Barbara, who comes on a Monday and a wedding student Friday that looked very unpolished, said, oh, that hasn't been very well looked after.
Well, that's the way I like it here. So do you feel do you feel no more like a film actor or more like a stage?
Oh, no, no, no, no, David. I'll never be a film actor. Never. What I mean by definition films. No. Right, OK, I've been in films, but I'm a stage actor and primarily I'm a Shakespearean stage. Right. That's my idea of heaven. I assume. I assume you have no intention of retiring. No. But does does how you approach your job changes as you get older? Well, it changes in the fact that, you know, you your work, you're worried the next job.
Right. You know, I get no, I don't want you I don't want to put my assets so bad now that that's quite tricky. But I have ways of learning things as long as I've got enough time to prepare for it. Mm hmm. You know, I've got great friends. Right. To help. And you would help me with loans and things. And, you know, if you're filming and somebody says, look out, there's a cable there, a cable, they're very dark and then you're in the lounge.
And then I kind of learn that, you know. Right.
Do you allow yourself to feel proud of everything you've done? Can you enjoy that?
No. No, because nearly always in every case, I think oh, in retrospect, I always think that's what I should have done. Some things I've kind of well like that. First, for the first preview of Antony and Cleopatra, first preview was we did it as well as we'd ever done it at that first preview. But that, of course, never goes goes to the next night. Yes. But on the very first preview, it went as well as it had ever gone.
Mm. And I can remember that night more than any other night in the theatre, probably just quietly afterwards it Peter say, you know, well now it can go on from that. Mm. But that, that very rarely happens doesn't it. Yes. Quite, very, very rarely happens.
However long you rehearse that must have felt particularly vindicating because there have been quite a lot when you when it was said you were to play Cleopatra, quite a lot of people were rather you beloved openly.
Yes. Yes, yes. Yes they did. And how did that did that make you feel intimidated? Do that make you think? Fuck, yes. A bit challenged. Right. Right. But you never doubted you could. I did. And I certainly doubted I could. Right. But it's always, you know, the bigger the doubt, the more you gergich, the more you try. And Gregory Dawran from the Royal Shakespeare Company told me a story where you and he recited the entire play of Midsummer Night's Dream together.
Yes. You've got the whole thing in your head, I would have thought almost raunchiness, certainly. You're right. Well, I've done that play five times to delight line. Stay with you. Yes, they do. But when Jeff, my brother, who was only ever he's a person who stayed at Stratford longest of any any actor who's ever done. And when he was little, what would have been that little. But he he he used to.
He used to suddenly launch into Shakespeare for anyone, anyone who was about and he used to do for once upon a raucous today, the troubled type of thing with a short season said to me, Desiccate is now leading with many angry, flattened Swiftian to put up on the word of truth, which as I was, I plunged in about him follow. So indeed, he did the rule and we did it with justice in you, throwing it aside and standing it with hearts of controversy.
But er we could arrive the point proposed. She's a great help me Cassius or I think and eyes and there's a great answer. With the flames of prayer up his shoulders, the old cases bear. So from the waves of time every day the tide Caesar and this man is now become a God. And Cassius is a wretched creature that misspend his body if Caesar carelessly but not on him. Now, I'm curious. I have known that since I was eight, I think.
Right. Never been. I've never been in Julius Caesar. Right. I kind of want to be that I could join in in that picture if used to do it was wonderful.
So those are the plays that stay with you. Most of them. I don't remember any lines from anything else. Interesting. But it's Shakespeare that just. Yes. Accompanies you through life. Yes. Well, because, you know, it's why he's the genius. Yes. There's always something. Was something you can think of at an appropriate time that fits, the bill said brilliantly. I've been trying to learn the sonnets, but there are a lot of them.
Yes, there are. But my God, how beautiful.
How do you ever have days where when you think when you're all dressed up as a, I don't know, a duchess or a or the head of MI5, do you ever have moments? Because I do. We every now and again, even though you'd love your job and you're very committed to it. You're so silly. Yes. Yes, dear. Oh, I'm glad you said that.
When's your birthday? April. Oh, April 18th of April. Yes. Well, when's yours? December. Right. But it's a December. Straight to that. Am I doing. But again, I remember at No. Nottingham when I was at Nottingham playing St. Jude, I can remember standing dressed in that knitted chainmail and standing at the window, looking out, waiting for my call and seeing somebody going along with a pram and a whole lot of bags and.
And weighed down with things and I'm rethinking. What am I doing right? Yes, what am I doing in this chamber? And there's that person out there living life. Yes. Does it all feel like an escape from where you all have huge stones that you get in that? I get that. I'm sure I'm sure I face up to things. Oh, sure, I hope so. Well, it may be silly sometimes, but we're all thrilled by everything you've.
We've ever seen you run and you do all with laughter and kindness is I think those are the two words I think you've mentioned most. I think it's very telling and I think it's a tribute to your work and who you are. So thank you very much for spending this time with us today.
Oh, David, I have enjoyed it so much. So I want to now talk to you. Sure. We'll do that when we stop. We will. Thank you, Judy. Thanks so much.
Next time a little TV, yeah, yeah, yeah, got other cast members would sort of describe him watching the monitor as well. You know, myself or my sister were acting and kind of mouthing the lines.
Oh, well, it's like some kind of stage parent or like dance mom or something. And in the Times. Right, you know, I had to be kind of in the intimate moments with my boyfriend on the show. I did often sort of ask the P.A. like, can you just make sure my dad and you don't he doesn't need to watch me kiss my boyfriend a hundred times today. You can go off and do something else.
David Tennant does a podcast with he says Something Else and No Mystery production produced by Zooey Edwards, additional production from Harriet Wells, Sarah Hamlet, Steve Akerman and George Tenet.
The sound engineer was Josh Gibbs, the executive producer is Christina.