Judi Dench Joins Benedict Cumberbatch In Richard III For The BBC

Dame Judi Dench and Benedict Cumberbatch are about to take on Shakespeare. According to The Hollywood Reporter,Dench will play Cecily, Duchess of York, in the BBC’s upcoming television adaptation of Richard III. Dench joins Cumberbatch, who the BBC previously announced would be playing Richard III.

The production, which marks the first time Dench will play Cecily, Duchess of York, is part of the television movie series The Hollow Crown. The critically-acclaimed first phase of TheHollow Crown aired in 2012 and covers Richard II; Henry IV, Part 1; Henry IV, Part 2; and Henry V. It starred Ben Winsaw, Tom Hiddleston, and Jeremy Irons.

The new series, subtitled War of the Roses, is tentatively set to air in 2016 and will cover Henry VI, Part I; Henry VI, Part II; Henry VI, Part III; and Richard III. Joining Dench is Hugh Bonneville, better known to fans of Downton Abbey as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham. Bonneville will portray Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester.

The BBC announcement of Dench’s casting is not the first time she’s made the news lately. Earlier this month, E! Online reported that Dame Judi Dench, Sir Mick Jagger, and other British celebrities had added their names to a petition aimed at keeping Scotland a part of the United Kingdom. If the referendum passes, Scotland will officially declare independence from the United Kingdom, which it has been part of for the past 307 years. Other famous Brits who signed the petition include Simon Cowell, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sir Patrick Stewart. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling did not sign the “Let’s Stay Together” petition, but has publicly stated opposition to the referendum citing economic concerns.

FellowBond alum Sean Connery disagrees with Dench. Connery is a longtime member of the Scottish National Party, which supports Scottish independence.

Also making the rounds is the new trailer for Dench’s upcoming film The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The upcoming sequel to 2012’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel stars Bill Nighy, Dame Maggie Smith, and Richard Gere.


The 78-year-old Dench doesn’t appear to be slowing down. She just wrapped production of the BBC’s upcoming television movie Esio Trot. The movie is based on a children’s novel written by Roald Dahl that tells the story of two apartment dwellers who bond over magic and a pet tortoise.

Dame Judi Dench will next appear on-screen when The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel hits theaters on March 5, 2015.