Judi Dench

'Great Performances' to Air National Theatre 50th Anniversary Celebration in February

Britain’s National Theatre celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – much like several other well-known British institutions, including the Rolling Stones and, of course, Doctor Who. For those that don’t know, the NT is one of the UK’s two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company. It presents a varied program, staging everything from Shakespeare and international classic dramas to new and modern works by contemporary playwrights.

Many of the British actors we all love have done stints at the NT, performing a wide variety of roles in various productions. And by many, we really mean pretty much everyone ever who works in British entertainment. Familiar faces like Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren and many, many more are all alumni of the National Theatre and clearly remain very fond of it.

Earlier this Fall, the BBC held an all-star gala event in honor of the 50th birthday of this cultural institution and the stars turned out in force to celebrate. The program was basically a dream for anyone who loves theater or has been any sort of fan of British television or film over the past couple of decades and we all were basically green with envy that we had to miss out on seeing this once-in-a-lifetime line-up for ourselves. Well, we can all turn a little less green – because the special is going to be aired in America.

Read on for more.

Celebrate 50 Years of the National Theatre with Every British Actor Ever

Well, not quite. But that’s what it feels like.

Britain’s National Theatre celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – much like several other British greats, including the Rolling Stones and, of course, Doctor Who. For those that don’t know, the NT is one of the UK’s two most prominent publicly funded theatre companies, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company. It presents a varied program, staging everything from Shakespeare and international classic dramas to new and modern works by contemporary playwrights.

Saturday night the BBC ran an all-star gala event in celebration of the British theatrical institution – which has featured many of the UK’s acting greats treading its boards over the years – crossing the half-century mark and it was basically a dream program for anyone who has ever been any sort of fan of British film, television or drama. The celebration featured snippets from some of the NT’s most celebrated plays and musicals from the past fifty years, performed by a wide array of British acting greats. Dame Judi Dench sang Send in the Clowns from Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. Dame Maggie Smith (one of the six members of the original NT company in 1963) performed a scene from The Beaux Strategem. Dame Helen Mirren did a scene from Mourning Becomes Electra. James Corden reprised his role from One Man, Two Guvnors, Alan Bennett performed Richard Griffith’s famous role from The History Boys. Michael Gambon and Sir Derek Jacobi did a scene from Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land together. Joey, the amazing puppet from War Horse, put in an appearance. And that’s not even close to everyone who participated. All in all, you couldn’t ask for a more magical evening.

Watch a video montage of scenes from the gala’s rehearsals and play spot the famous face as you go.

A Sequel to 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' is Actually Happening; Filming to Begin in 2014

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a heartwarming British film about a group of retirees who are duped into spending their golden years in an over-hyped Indian retirement hotel, features an all-star cast that basically reads like an wishlist of British acting royalty, including Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Dev Patel, Celia Imrie and more. It also grossed more than $130 million dollars at the box office worldwide.

Thus, you can probably guess why rumors of a Marigold Hotel sequel have been swirling around the internet for well over a year. Yet, despite the strong likelihood of a sequel happening – and the obvious excitement with which such a film would doubtless be greeted – no concrete details managed to emerge.

Until now.

WATCH: Dame Judi Dench in the Trailer for 'Philomena'

The great Dame Judi Dench making a new movie is almost always worthy of comment – and her latest project looks like no exception. Add in the fact that it’s directed by The Queen’s Stephen Frears and you have what ought to be a surefire recipe for a great film.

Dench stars opposite Steve Coogan in upcoming drama Philomena, which tells the true story of one woman’s search for her lost son, and the unlikely friendship formed with the disgraced journalist who helps her along the way. Dench plays Philomena Lee, a woman who was sent away to a convent as a pregnant teen in 1952. She gave birth to a son, who was subsequently taken away from her and sent to America for adoption. Threatened with damnation if she ever revealed the secret of her illegitimate child, Lee nevertheless spent the next fifty years of her life searching for her lost son with the help of journalist Martin Sixsmith (played by Coogan). Just guessing we should probably bring some tissues.

Rumor Has It: Dame Judi Dench as Mrs. Hudson in Another Sherlock Holmes Adaptation?

Is there room in the world for yet another Sherlock Holmes adaptation on television, with both the brilliant BBC Sherlock and not-quite-as-brilliant-but-mostly-serviceable-I-suppose CBS Elementary already on the air? Even if your gut response is to say no, this rumor might just change your mind. Because it’s that awesome.

It’s being reported that none other than Dame Judi Dench is under consideration to play Mrs. Hudson in a new TV adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classics. (Yeah, just let that sink in a minute. Judi Dench! Oscar winner and all around amazing actress!) Of course, there is no real confirmation for this story anywhere, other than a bunch of sources linking to Daily Mail piece that’s since been pulled from their website, but the rumor is so fantastic it’s hard to not to want to believe it. Want details? Read on.

Pages