‘Was electrifying!’ Dame Judi Dench says she fell in love with Hamlet co-star John Neville

Judi Dench reflects on some of her ‘special’ acting roles

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Dame Judi Dench, 87, has admitted how she is “susceptible” to falling in love with her co-stars. Speaking at an event this week, the James Bond actress recalled the time she was absolutely smitten with her Hamlet stage partner John Neville. 

Dame Judi opened up about her love life during an event at the Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End this week.

The star described her time with John in 1958 as “beautiful” in a candid confession. 

While Dame Judi met her future husband, Michael Williams, when they were cast together in a theatre production, she admitted she also fell for the late actor in a similar way.

The Belfast actress recalled: “I was in Hamlet with John Neville. He was beautiful. It was beautiful.”

Asked if she fell in love with John, who died in 2011 aged 86, she replied: “Yes. I am very prone to it. I am very susceptible.

“It does not happen all the time, and it does not go to enormous extremes.

“But it is, perhaps, sharing [stage] fright that is so electrifying,” she added to the Daily Mail.

Dame Judi married her late husband Michael in 1971, with the A Fine Romance actor dying 30 years later in 2001.

The pair share a daughter named Finty Williams, 49, who is also an actress.

Dame Judi has since found love again with her partner of 12 years, conservationist David Mills.

Meanwhile, John married his wife Caroline Hooper in 1949, and they had six children together. 

Dame Judi has delivered a plethora of memorable performances over the years, including her portrayal of the much-loved M from the James Bond franchise.

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The actress starred in eight of the action films before finally handing the role over to Ralph Fiennes. 

While she’s no longer involved in the franchise, Dame Judi has recently weighed in on the debate as to whether the next person to play 007 should be a woman.

Speaking in the latest edition of Saga Magazine, she said: “As things go, that’s fine.

“But then should you call it ‘By Ian Fleming?’ Who knows?”


The Oscar-winner also insisted she would not have wanted to play the iconic secret agent herself.

Asked if she would have taken on the role, she replied: “Certainly not!

“I haven’t got the energy to do all that jumping off the roof and onto motorbikes.”

Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond came with the 2021 film No Time To Die, which saw his character bid an emotional farewell.

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