Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Dame Judi Dench recalls on-stage ‘erection’ blunder during Shakespeare play

Dame Judi Dench on the Graham Norton Show (Isabel Infantes/PA)
Dame Judi Dench on the Graham Norton Show (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Dame Judi Dench has recalled causing on-stage chaos when she blundered over one of William Shakespeare’s lines, adding in the word “erection”.

The veteran performer starred opposite her late husband Michael Williams in an early 70s production of The Merchant Of Venice by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Dench, 84, accidentally mispronounced “election” as “erection”, provoking “unrest” and causing the band the walk off stage “in shock”.

Graham Norton Show – London
Dame Judi Dench and Sir Kenneth Branagh star in All Is True, a film about Shakespeare’s later years (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Speaking on the Graham Norton Show, Dench discussed her dislike of The Merchant Of Venice, Shakespeare’s tragicomedy in which protagonist Antonio struggles to repay a large loan.

She said: “I have never been fond of it. Everyone in it behaves very badly. Against my will I did once play Portia the first year I was married and Mike played Bassanio, and I had a speech to him and I made a terrible, terrible mistake.

“Instead of saying, ‘I speak too long; but ’tis to peize the time, to eke it and to draw it out in length, to stay you from election,’ I said ‘erection.’

“The wind band that was about to play put down their instruments and walked off the stage in shock. It caused a lot of unrest.”

Graham Norton Show – London
Dame Judi Dench and Sir Kenneth Branagh appeared on the Graham Norton show (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Dench appears alongside Sir Kenneth Branagh in the film All Is True, which details the final years of the Bard’s life.

Asked which of them had a better knowledge of Shakespeare’s plays, Sir Kenneth replied: “Of course, she does.”

He added: “When I started paraphrasing his words in the film, she just laughed and finished the end of the scene properly. We kept that in. She definitely knows more than me.”

All Is True is in Cinemas on February 8.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]