Michael Williams

From classical stage work to Hollywood blockbusters, 77-year-old Judith Olivia Dench is our finest actress working today. This documentary charts the Dame's distinguished career via the roles she has played over the past half century. We discover how she disliked drama at school in York but "had a go" and rose to prominence in 1960s theatre. She impressed during an early small screen appearance in Z Cars, which led to later TV work including Cranford and A Fine Romance, alongside late husband Michael Williams. Her career was redefined, though, by an extraordinary run of films: whipping James Bond into shape in GoldenEye; her acclaimed turn as Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown; and the Oscar-winning Elizabeth II in Shakespeare in Love. This otherwise pedestrian programme is made by the quality of the clips which include last year's Proms tribute to Stephen Sondheim, out-takes showcasing Dench's dirty laugh and footage from the original stage production of Cabaret. Michael Parkinson, Simon Callow and Geoffrey Palmer also share their anecdotes. It's preceded at 7.00pm by another chance to see the final episode of As Time Goes By.

Michael Hogan, The Telegraph, 29th December 2011

You'd imagine that Rory Bremner, fresh from his defeat on Strictly, would be able to show the young pups how it's done. His satirical news show Tonight is stand-up of sorts, in that it's performed in front of a live audience, and Bremner, who has been doing radio comedy since time began, could surely do this kind of thing in his sleep. In the event, it's possible that he was asleep. I never tire of his supplicating Tony Blair or his irascible Prince Philip, but then we had to endure lame 'Allo 'Allo!-style skits about sexual shenanigans between Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy. Tellingly, the biggest giggle came via his interviewee Michael Williams, the former UN special co-ordinator to the Middle East, who absently remarked: "I've seen more people asleep in the UN Security Council than in the House of Lords library."

Fiona Sturges, The Independent, 10th November 2011