Dame Judi Dench casts doubt over future of film career as Oscar winner admits she 'can't even see'

27 May 2024, 10:07 | Updated: 27 May 2024, 10:25

Dame Judi Dench attended the Chelsea Flower Show
Dame Judi Dench attended the Chelsea Flower Show. Picture: Getty

By Will Conroy

Dame Judi Dench has admitted that her acting career may be over after sharing that her sight has deteriorated and that she “can’t even see”.

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The actor, 89, was last seen on screen in the 2022 film Spirited but has no future projects on the horizon as she battles with a condition known as macular degeneration.

Asked if she had any plans for future roles while attending the Chelsea Flower Show, Dame Judi responded: “No, no, I can’t even see!”

The actor’s agent was approached regarding her comments but insisted there was nothing more to add, according to reports.

Dame Judi in 1982
Dame Judi in 1982. Picture: Alamy

The Oscar winner did reveal, however, that she has been busy with projects away from the screen.

She said: “Our book has come out (Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays The Rent), we're going to Cheltenham Book Fair and then I'm going to do three shows with Gyles Brandreth.”

According to the NHS, “age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition that affects the middle part of your vision. It usually first affects people in their 50s and 60s”.

It doesn’t cause total blindness but can make everyday activities, such as reading and recognising people’s faces, challenging.

Read more: Dame Judi Dench places first Sycamore Gap seedling in Chelsea Flower Show garden

Read more: ‘I can't see on a film set anymore’: Judi Dench opens up about how her failing eyesight has impacted her acting career

Dame Judi had spoken of her struggles with her sight in 2022 but at the time was adamant that she wanted to continue acting despite her condition.

Talking to Louis Theroux, she said: “I don't want to retire. I'm not doing much at the moment because I can't see. It's bad.

“I have a photographic memory so a person saying to me; ‘This is your line…’ I can do that.”

Dami Judi also revealed around a similar time that her deteriorating vision meant she needed her partner David Mills to cut up her food while they were out for dinner.

She said: “He cut it up and handed something to me on a fork and that's the way I ate it.”

Dame Judi received a seedling from the felled Sycamore Gap tree at the Chelsea Flower Show
Dame Judi received a seedling from the felled Sycamore Gap tree at the Chelsea Flower Show. Picture: Alamy

The actor was emotional during her Chelsea Flower Show appearance after a primary school pupil presented her with a seedling of the Sycamore Gap tree that was illegally felled last year.

After receiving the seedling, she said: “I'll be naming him Antoninus, the adopted son of the Emperor Hadrian.”

The National Trust said Dame Judi is “passionate about trees” and was “very concerned by the news of the felling of the Sycamore Gap tree”.