Dame Judi Dench emotional at Edinburgh TV Festival as she enlists The Repair Shop to mend late husband’s pocketwatch

Dame Judi Dench appeared emotional on stage at the Edinburgh TV Festival as she described having her late husband’s pocketwatch repaired as “more than she could possibly hope for”.

The Oscar-winning actress and national treasure was taking part in a special live session of BBC One’s The Repair Shop on Wednesday (August 24), alongside Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood.

The popular show sees members of the public bringing in worn-out family heirlooms to be fixed by a team of experts led by furniture restorer and host Jay Blades.

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Before she appeared on stage, a video tape was played which showed the 87-year-old star presenting a sentimental pocketwatch which originally belonged to her late husband Michael Williams to Blades and the team.

Left to right, Dame Judi Dench, Jay Blades and Steve Fletcher in a special session of The Repair Shop at the Edinburgh TV Festival.

Dame Judi explained that she had given it to her husband in 1972 when they were both starring in a play together a year after they were married.

She said he would carry it in his pocket and had “treasured it” before he died in 2001 from lung cancer, after they had been married for just under 30 years.

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The actress described him as “wonderful” and said it would be “lovely” if she could hear the pocketwatch work again.

After The Repair Team handed her the mended watch, she said “that’s sublime” and held it to her ear to hear it ticking again after many years of silence.

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The team also noted they had engraved her husband’s initials into the back of the watch for her, to which she replied: “Oh my word, that is more than I could possibly hope for, thank you so much.”

She added that she was “full of admiration” for the work that they do.

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Joanna Ball, the Managing director of show producers Ricochet, said: “The team, on and off screen, has done an extraordinary job and our heartfelt thanks to Dame Judi and to Craig for sharing their precious stories with us.

“As always we’re a little bit nervous sharing the finished fixes but we hope that they love the work our experts have delivered as much as we loved working on them.”

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Earlier this year, Dame Judi appeared in a sketch spoofing the show for Comic Relief.

She played a character struggling with her memory who wants her old doll from her childhood repaired to help bring back her memories from her youth, but sees it smashed by Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

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