Judi Dench: 'It's time for a break'

Judi Dench has told how she must finally face up to the death of her husband Michael Williams after immersing herself in movie work for months.

Judi Dench has told how she must finally face up to the death of her husband Michael Williams after immersing herself in movie work for months.

The 68-year-old star - up for her fourth Oscar nomination in five years later this month - said she was now going to rest and take stock.

She told interviewer Michael Parkinson - in a show to be screened tomorrow on BBC1 - how friends such as Kevin Spacey, her co-star in The Shipping News, had helped her through the low points.

Williams, her husband for 29 years, died more than a year ago from cancer.

Since then she has worked on a number of film projects including Iris, which has landed her a best actress Oscar nomination, Therese Raquin and The Shipping News.

But the actress, who is working on the 20th Bond film, told Parkinson it was now time for a break.

Dame Judi said she had not deliberately thrown herself into her work after Williams’ death.

‘‘Because of the supposed (Hollywood actors’) strike at the end of June, those three films had to be made and I took an enormously deep breath.

‘‘My agent asked was I sure about it, with only one or two days between each thing, and crossing the Atlantic? And I said yes, absolutely.

‘‘But now I m going to have a bit of a rest and come face to face with it all. I think I must do it, and it’s time for me to do it now.’’

Ms Dench kept a low public profile in the months following Williams’ death in January 2001 and barely spoke about her sadness.

The actress said ‘‘good friends’’, including Spacey who appears alongside her on tomorrow’s show, got her ‘‘through the tricky weeks’’.

Dame Judi also told how she would always leave it to Williams to read the scripts for her to decide whether she should take a role.

‘‘He always knew. He would read the script and would say ‘why don’t you read this line?’ And he would be right, he’d always be right.’’

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