Rating: CTC
Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright, EiIeen Atkins.

Four honoured British actresses MAGGIE SMITH, JUDI DENCH, EILEEN ATKINS and JOAN PLOWRIGHT together on the screen for the first time recount their lives in the spotlight.

They are four of the most celebrated women in British film and theatre – but despite their towering reputations they have never been seen on screen together, until now.

The actresses spent the weekend being filmed at Dame Joan’s retreat in Sussex as they talked about their experience of being women in theatre in the second half of the 20th century.

Dame Maggie says there are roles around for older women in film, but reveals her frustration that Judi always gets there first!

Up for discussion were topics including opportunities – or lack thereof – for older actresses and the term ‘national treasure’, which Dame Judi confesses she hates.
‘It was Joan Plowright who said that to me: “There are always parts, but Judi gets her paws on them first”.’

Dame Eileen has previously spoken about how actresses need to create more roles for themselves, while Dame Joan was forced to give up acting in 2014 after losing her eyesight

Dame Eileen took a turn as Queen Mary in Netflix series The Crown last year, and appeared in the Simon Amstell-directed film Carnage: Swallowing the Past earlier this year.

She had been offered the part of the Queen Mother in 2006 film The Queen and had to turn it down, but later starred in Knife Edge in 2009.

The new film was commissioned by BBC executive Mark Bell.
He told The Telegraph: ‘These four great dames are friends with a long, shared history, and they often meet up and reminisce.
‘We know them well but usually see them in character. To see these incredibly celebrated women talking naturally together felt like a fresh take.’