Dame Judi Dench reveals why she does not want to be called a national treasure

Dame Judi Dench has said she “loathes” being referred to as a “national treasure” because she does not want to be a “relic”.

The veteran actress, 85, said she would like to play more villains so she can continue to surprise people.

Speaking to David Tennant on his podcast, he asked if she felt pressure to be a national treasure.

She replied: “No, no, no. I loathe that word. It’s something very, very dusty, behind a glass, in a corner.

“I don’t want to be a relic.”

She added that she has not played enough villainous parts, saying: “I hate to play parts that are expected… I want to play somebody who you think is a benign old lady sitting in a chair, and in actual fact is bumping people off.

“I’m looking for a lot of villains to play.”

She continued: “Notes On A Scandal was my most favourite villain to play. And having a good old fight with Cate Blanchett.”

Dame Judi also addressed the death of her husband Michael Williams in 2001, after a long illness.

Asked how long it took to work out how to be without him, she said: “I don’t know. I don’t know. Perhaps I’ve never done that, quite. Although I have met David (Mills, the conservationist), who runs the British Wildlife Centre.

“And he’s about four miles away, and that’s just lovely because we laugh about the same things. But I suspect I shall never, ever get over Mikey.”

She continued: “It changes who you are completely, I think. Because it’s like you’re walking along, and suddenly you’re not looking and there’s an enormous chasm in front of you.

“And suddenly all sorts of things take you, expected kinds of things happen… I don’t expect you ever get used to it. Sometimes the door in this house just opens and I think that he’s just wandered in.”

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