Judi Dench at the BBC View large image
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Film Details

Directed by: Various (TV)

Produced: 1991

Countries & Regions: United Kingdom

DVD Details

Certificate: 15

Studio: 2 Entertain

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 5 November 2007

Cat No: BBCDVD2425

Moviemail Details

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Judi Dench at the BBC

Cast: Robert Hardy , Michael Williams , Judi Dench

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A collection of classic, early performances from Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench. ’Talking to a Stranger’ (1966): A quartet of... Read More

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A collection of classic, early performances from Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench. ’Talking to a Stranger’ (1966): A quartet of plays by John Hopkins that look at the same weekend through the eyes of four different people. ’Make and Break’ (1987) is Michael Frayn’s adaptation of his own play stars Robert Hardy and Dench. Hardy is the boss of a building components firm who is so devoured by his work that he is blind to his devoted secretary’s adoration. But at a trade fair in Frankfurt, events take some unexpected turns. ’Absolute Hell’ (1991) is a production of Rodney Ackland’s once scandalous black comedy about the alcoholic, nymphomaniac owner of a Soho drinking club in bomb-blasted London in the weeks leading up to the 1945 election. In ’Can You Hear Me Thinking?’ (1990) distinguished husband and wife, Michael Williams and Dench, play another married couple in this BAFTA winning tale of a family whose lives are shattered when their 16-year-old son develops schizophrenia. At first, he turns violent and has to be hospitalized. When he is released, the full implications of his illness strike home. ’The Cherry Orchard’ (1981), Anton Chekhov’s last play, is a comedy full of foreboding. Sensing that revolution was about to privileged and protected ways of life he wrote with sympathy for these people but also excitement for the future. ’Ghosts’ (1987) is Ibsen’s powerful drama exploring the suppression of disturbing truths and tragic effects of hypocrisy. Finally, ’Going Gently’ (1981) is a play based on a group of terminally ill patients on a cancer ward.

Before Judi Dench won worldwide attention with Mrs Brown (1997) and Shakespeare in Love (1998), she had cemented her reputation as one of the UK’s finest stage actresses with a series of award-winning performances for the RSC, the National Theatre and runs in the West End.

This selection of television plays bridges the gap between Dench’s early stage career and her subsequent stardom, showing the range and versatility of a much-loved performer. These classic TV productions are now available on DVD for the first time. The set includes Talking to a Stranger (1966), a quartet of plays by John Hopkins; Going Gently (1981), about a group of terminally ill patients; Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard (1981); Make and Break (1987), with Robert Hardy; Ibsen’s Ghosts (1987); Can You Hear Me Thinking? (1990), a BAFTA-winning drama about a family whose 16-year-old son develops schizophrenia; and Absolute Hell (1991), a scandalous black comedy in which she plays the owner of a Soho drinking club in postwar London.

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