Dame Judi Dench: Acting on Zoom is unnerving

Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent
·2-min read

She has conquered the stage and screen, but Dame Judi Dench says it is acting on Zoom that is “unnerving”.

The veteran actress, 86, makes a cameo in Michael Sheen and David Tennant’s virtual lockdown show, Staged.

She said that filming on Zoom means being watched by other actors.

“(Acting) on Zoom is very unnerving,” Dame Judi told Zoe Ball, on the Radio 2 Breakfast Show.

“On stage, actors never really look at each other – they do a bit if they’re doing a bit of a scene.

Michael Sheen and David Tennant had worked together before Staged
Michael Sheen and David Tennant had worked together before Staged (KIrsty O’Connor/PA)

“But on Zoom, everybody’s looking at you.”

And she added: “It’s very, very disconcerting.”

The hit BBC comedy, featuring Tennant and Sheen as themselves as well as their partners, is filmed in the stars’ homes on their laptops.

“They say, ‘Look at the top right-hand corner’,” Dame Judi said.

“But then you’re looking at a tiny little button thing, you can’t react, it’s all mad!,” she said of filming with the technology.

The Oscar-winning actress also revealed that she is an “avid watcher” of University Challenge.

Watch: Leslie Mann reveals what it's like to get into bed with Judi Dench

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“I’m poised on a Monday night with my paper and pen,” she said.

Asked how she performed on the quiz show, she replied: “Not too well, sometimes I get two and sometimes I get eight, there has been a time when I’ve got 15.”

And on the prospect of her one day appearing on the show, she said: “Oh no! Please don’t even suggest it!”

Dame Judi recently said she had her first Covid-19 jab, calling it a “great start”.

She told BBC News: “I had one a week ago. I think my next is in something like 11 weeks’ time.”

She follows in the footsteps of fellow stars such as Sir David Attenborough and Sir Tom Jones.

Watch: Dan Stevens shares Judi Dench's reaction to the 'Cats' backlash