‘I can’t even see’: Judi Dench has no more acting plans

Dame Judi Dench at the Chelsea Flower Show, with her gift of a seedling from the fallen Sycamore Gap tree.

Dame Judi Dench at the Chelsea Flower Show, with her gift of a seedling from the fallen Sycamore Gap tree. Photo: Getty

Dame Judi Dench says she has no plans for any more acting jobs as she “can’t even see”.

The Oscar-winning actor, 89, has not appeared on the big screen since she appeared in 2022’s Spirited.

She is losing her sight to macular degeneration, revealing last year it had grown so severe she could no longer drive or read scripts.

Asked this week if she had any acting work planned, Dame Judi told a reporter at London’s recent Chelsea Flower Show: “No, no, I can’t even see!”

The Daily Mirror has reported her agent was approached for clarification on the Bond star’s acting plans.

“Judi has nothing more to add than all she mentioned to the journalist,” her representative said.

Dame Judi is still busy with off-screen projects, and is promoting her 2023 book, Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays the Rent.

She plans to appear at Cheltenham Book Fair and has three shows planned with raconteur Gyles Brandreth.

In late 2022, Dame Judi said she was refusing to retire despite her eye condition.

“I don’t want to retire. I’m not doing much at the moment because I can’t see. It’s bad,” she told Louis Theroux on the BBC’s Louis Theroux Interviews show.

“I have a photographic memory so a person saying to me, ”This is your line’ … I can do that.”

Dame Judi, who has also won BAFTA and Tony awards, had ‘carpe diem’ tattooed on her right wrist a few years ago and recently told Yours magazine she refused to slow down as she aged.

“We’ve got to keep going and not think of age too much. You have to think you are about 56,” she said.

“I’m a great advocate for not sitting back. I can never think, ‘Oh, my eyesight’s bad, I can’t possibly do this’. I refuse to be beaten by age.”

However, the condition has already led to several embarrassing moments for the star.

In an earlier conversation with Brandreth, who is a close friend, she revealed she mistook a stranger for her friend, the British artist Alistair McGowan.

“I was driving along and saw who I thought was Alistair McGowan and I shouted ‘w—er’… and it was a total stranger,” she said.

In another awkward incident, Dame Judi thought she saw director Howard Davies in the audience while on stage.

In a cheeky move, she wrote a note asking if a “sh-g” was out of the question – only to realise it was yet again a complete stranger.

Age-related macular degeneration is a chronic painless eye disease that causes central vision loss.

It becomes more common as people age.

-with AAP

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