Buried amid the usual Christmas TV fare this year is something rather special: national treasure Judi Dench. And no, she's not acting in one of the BBC's big-budget period dramas. The Oscar-winner is doing something altogether different, digging into her passion for, er, trees.
When is Judi Dench: My Passion for Trees on TV?
Judi Dench: My Passion for Trees will air on Wednesday 20th December at 8pm on BBC1.
What is Judi Dench: My Passion for Trees?
We're glad you asked. The one-off programme will see Dench embark on "a magical journey to uncover the mysteries" of trees. Now, trees probably aren't something you've previously regarded as mysterious but, as the actress discovers, there is plenty to learn about these lofty creations – particularly the ones she's planted in her own secret woodland at the bottom of her garden in Surrey (yes, you'll find yourself rather envious of all her outdoor space).
The programme charts the changes in trees over the four seasons, starting with winter when most shed their leaves and brace themselves for frosty conditions. And while Dench starts out naive about the hidden wonders of her favourite plants, she soon learns plenty thanks to guest appearances from 'tree listener' Alex Metcalf and Kew Gardens' head of arboretum, Tony Kirkham, among others. And being one of our nation's greatest living actresses, Dench finds a way to lace plenty of Shakespeare in, too.
Where is Judi Dench's Secret Woodland?
It lies by her home in Surrey and holds special significance for the actress. Many of the trees were planted by Dench herself in memory of deceased friends and family including her brother Geoff, actress Natasha Richardson and her late husband Michael Williams.