Judi Dench: I cried when they told me M would die

The grande dame of the silver screen “laughed through tears” when producers revealed that her Bond character would be killed off in Skyfall

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The death of Dame Judi Dench’s spy boss M was an unwelcome surprise for many James Bond fans – and now it’s emerged that it came as a blow for the veteran actress, too.

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Dench tells the Radio Times that she cried when the news about her character’s death in the 23rd Bond film was broken to her by the film’s producers over a meal in London’s West End.

“They told me gently and I laughed through my tears,” she recalls.

“Seven [Bond] films is a long time. But MI6 would have given her the push by now, don’t you think?”

In the 2012 movie Skyfall – which was Daniel Craig’s third outing as the super-spy – M dies following a dramatic stand-off with Javier Bardem’s villainous Silva in the remote Scottish estate Skyfall where Bond grew up.

In her interview with film critic Barry Norman, the actress also reveals that her late husband, the actor Michael Williams, persuaded her to take on the role because “he wanted to live with a Bond woman”.

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Read the full interview in the Christmas double issue of Radio Times magazine which is in shops now and on newsstand for iPad or iPhone