Judi Dench to turn documentary filmmaker for new BBC1 film about trees

The Oscar-winning actress will make Judi Dench’s Secret Woodland for later this year


Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench once revealed that she plants a tree in her garden whenever a friend or relative dies. Now RadioTimes.com can reveal that she will be making a special BBC1 programme about trees’ importance both to her and the world.


The documentary, with a working title of Judi Dench’s Secret Woodland, will be filmed in her own back garden in what I am told is her own “special wood”.

“Judi has spent her life living beside one of the oldest forests in the UK, and in this programme she will embark on a remarkable journey with experts and historians to discover how deeply embedded trees are in our history, and how important they are to our future,” said the BBC.

“Filmed across an entire year, she will witness and experience their extraordinary behaviours through the changing seasons; from trees that talk, to those with the elixir of eternal youth pumping through their veins. This enchanting programme will use the latest in botanical research and innovations in technology to bring to life this hidden, unseen world.”

Airing later this year, Dench will also explore the “latest cutting edge scientific research” to unlock what the BBC is calling “the remarkable secret life of trees.”

Tom McDonald, the BBC’s Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Specialist Factual, said he was “thrilled that Dame Judi has agreed to make this very personal film about one of her great passions”, adding that it will be “visually spectacular”.


The programme – which is being made by Atlantic Productions, producers of hits such as David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef, Inside the Commons and Galapagos – will air on BBC1 later this year.