Dame Judi Dench’s Shakespeare connection delights Who Do You Think You Are? viewers

Virgin Radio

8 Mar 2023, 08:59

Dame Judi Dench on the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are?

Credit: BBC

National treasure Dame Judi Dench discovered links to royalty and Shakespeare when she was on Who Do You Think You Are?.

The Shakespearean actor and movie star’s appearance on the popular series originally aired in late 2021, and was shown again on the BBC last night (7th March). In it, investigations led her to 16th-century Denmark and nobility, with a remarkable Shakespearean connection!

"I'm passionate about Shakespeare," said Dame Judi, who made her professional debut playing Othelia in Hamlet in 1957.

The beloved actor - who recently opened up about her eyesight condition - continued: “I would like to meet him and say, 'Have you got any other plays up your sleeve? Have you anything for someone in their 80s? A rather good part, sitting down most of the time.'"

Research would go on to show that the Bond star’s 10 x great-aunt was a Lady in Waiting to the Queen of Denmark in the 16th Century. Incredibly, she served the Queen in Kronborg Castle, which was immortalised as Elsinore in Shakespeare's play… Hamlet!

"This link, the very first part I played at the Old Vic was Ophelia in Hamlet," a clearly emotional Dame Judi explained. “To suddenly be told an ancestor of mine was actually in Elsinore. That’s very, very, very difficult to take in with everything else.”

With a tear in her eye, she added: “I’m going to bore the pants off people."

Viewers took to social media last night to praise the episode. One person commented: “Absolutely amazing revelations on Judi Dench’s Who do you think you are. Excellent show 💙”

A fellow Twitter user wrote: “How extraordinary! To think Judi Dench is connected to Hamlet & Shakespeare in this way... #WhoDoYouThinkYouAre”

“What a connection!! #wdytya #whodoyouthinkyouare,” somebody else noted.

Another said: “Forget Danny Dyer and Josh Widdicombe (ok they’re great too), the best #WDYTYA episode ever is being repeated on BBC1 now #DameJudiDench”

Someone else added: “This is simply extraordinary. What wonderful telly! Dame Judy, or now Dane Judy! Related to someone who worked at Elsinore? Truth stranger than fiction!!  #wdytya”

Who Do You Think You Are? is available on BBC iPlayer.