Dame Judi Dench has no doubt had a few acting blunders in her time but one sticks out for her in particular.
The 84-year-old appears on Friday’s “Graham Norton Show” and tells a hilarious story about how she once said “erection” instead of “election” while performing in an early ’70s production of “The Merchant of Venice” by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
She says of the play, “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 [her late husband Michael Williams] 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.”
Dench appears on Friday’s show alongside her “All Is True” co-star Sir Kenneth Branagh. The flick follows the final years of Shakespeare’s life.
When asked about who has the best knowledge of the English writer, Branagh insists: “Of course, she does.
“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.”