Oscar-winning Dame Judi Dench is one of Britain’s most loved actresses. But few people know that Judi holds another great passion – a deep love for trees.
This one-hour special, filmed over the course of a year, is a magical study of the changing seasons and their effect on Judi’s own secret woodland at her home in Surrey.
Judi has long been fascinated with trees, sharing her passion for them with her late husband, the actor Michael Williams. Together they nurtured their woodland at their home. For the past seven years she has continued to care for her grove with her close companion, wildlife enthusiast David Mills. Throughout this time Judi has continually planted trees for dear friends and family who have passed.
This film follows Judi’s journey through the seasons and her mission to understand her woodland’s vital role in our history and our future. With the help of some of the best tree scientists and historians in the world, Judi unlocks the remarkable secret lives of trees and the stories that they tell us. With the latest scientific techniques and equipment at her disposal, she is able to truly understand how trees work, and gain an insight into their secrets.
Judi learns just how effective trees are as carbon capture machines that are fighting to protect our planet. With the help of experts, Judi also investigates the very foundation of trees – their roots – learning about an intricate underground fungi network that connects many trees in a forest together.
Through amazing research, we learn more about how trees can communicate and contribute to the forest, sharing resources with seedlings or the vulnerable. It’s confirmation for Judi that there’s so much more to the trees she loves: they are a real community that help each other, humans and the planet.
Judi Dench: My Passion For Trees airs Wednesday 20 December 2017 from 8.00pm-9.00pm on BBC One.