Countryfile reveals A-list star will join BBC show as guest presenter for special episode

Dame Judi Dench has switched the big screen for the small screen as she joins Countryfile for a special episode airing next week.

The Oscar-winning actress, 88, will be co-hosting the episode, which will broadcast from the Scottish Highlands, with Charlotte Smith and Strictly Come Dancing winner Hamza Yassin.

Her surprise appearance was announced at the end of this week's episode when hosts Sean Fletcher and Matt Baker shared a teaser for next week's episode.

They told viewers: "Join us next week for something rather special as we welcome acting royalty in Dame Judi Dench, who'll be guest editing the show."

The first look at the episode saw the Victoria & Abdul star discuss her love of Scotland, as she said: "I would say, actually, that my spiritual home is Scotland, simply because I just feel comfortable here."

Sean and Matt shared that the episode will be a "rather special one" and the news comes just weeks after Dame Judi opened up about how she had no plans to retire anytime soon.

Her decision to continue working comes despite the difficulties she’s having learning lines because of her degenerative eye condition which has left her barely able to see.

Speaking to OK!, Judi said: "I mean I can’t see on a film set anymore and I can’t see to read. So I can’t see much. But you know you just deal with it. Get on. It’s difficult for me if I have any length of a part.

"I haven’t yet found a way. Because I have so many friends who will teach me the script. But I have a photographic memory."

Judi was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in 2012. She was forced to give up driving a few years ago when her eyesight began to worsen.

"It’s the most terrible shock to the system,” she had previously said. “Ghastly. It’s terrible to be so dependent on people."

In spite of her challenges, Judi has achieved what most actors can only dream of in a career spanning six decades.

In addition to numerous BAFTAs, a Tony Award and an Oscar – awarded for her powerful portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare In Love – Judi made theatre history in 2016 when she picked up a record-breaking eighth Olivier Award.

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