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Judi Dench admits she can't travel alone due to poor eyesight

February 24, 2015
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Judi Dench has revealed that she can no longer travel alone due to her failing eyesight. The 80-year-old Dame has been suffering from macular degeneration for years – an age-related disease that causes a gradual loss of central vision.

For her latest film The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Judi had to fly to India to record some colourful scenes.

While she may have difficulty in travelling, the screen legend said that she still enjoyed the trip abroad, as she was reunited with her former gang Maggie Smith, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton and Bill Nighy among others.

judi dench1 © Photo: Getty Images

Judi Dench has been suffering from macular degeneration for years

"These days I can't really travel on my own because I need someone to say, 'Look out, there's a step here!' or else I fall all over the place like a mad, drunk lady," Judi admitted to Radio Times.

"That's why it was just glorious going back to India again with Mags, Celia, Pep and Bill. We're all great friends and we've done masses of things together. It was like an old travelling theatre company coming back together – old being the operative word!"

The group were filming the sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which took the stars back to India where protagonist Sonny, played by Dev Patel, pursues his expansionist dream of opening a second hotel.

judi dench2 © Photo: Getty Images

Judi Dench enjoyed a 'glorious' reunion with her co-stars from The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Judi, who lost her actor husband Michael to cancer in 2011, also spoke about how she could relate to her character Evelyn.

"She originally travels to India because her husband has just died and she's at a loose end but doesn't want to impose herself on the children," said Judi of her character. "I can understand that because when it happened to me. I did three films, really, really fast, with only a day or so in between. That was my adventure, I suppose. Grief generates a huge energy in you and it's better for everybody if you harness it to do something."

Judi has previously spoken about suffering from macular degeneration and how she can't read or paint as easily as she used to.

The English actress, whose career spans six decades, has also said she has no plans to retire. "It's the rudest word in my dictionary, 'retire,'" Judi told The Hollywood Reporter. "And 'old' is another one. I don't allow that in my house."

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