British Icon of the Week: Dame Judi Dench, Legendary Thesp Who's a Real Tonic Right Now

Who doesn't love Dame Judi Dench? The Oscar-winning thesp made history this week when she became, at 85, the oldest ever British Vogue cover star, and gave a typically hilarious interview in which she said the already infamous Cats movie made her look like "a great big orange bruiser." Ouch.

It's not the first time she's been a real tonic during our coronavirus quarantine, so here's a reminder of some of her funniest and most adorable moments from the recent and not quite so recent past.

1.When she revealed she accidentally Skyped an old friend in the bath.

Like all of us, Dame Judi has been relying on virtual forms of communication during quarantine, and she readily admits that she's "not technical at all." During a recent appearance on BBC's The One Show, she shared an amusing anecdote which might make you think twice before taking your laptop into the bathroom...

2. When she made a Shakespeare play much smuttier than it was supposed to be.

Dame Judi is a Tony and Olivier Award-winning stage actress who's performed in numerous RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) productions over the years, but she says she's never been a fan of The Merchant of Venice. In this hilarious clip from The Graham Norton Show, she recalls a time when she accidentally made the Bard's dialogue very risqué indeed.

3. When she moonlighted as a rapper.

Dame Judi played notoriously stern British monarch Queen Victoria in her 2017 movie Victoria & Abdul, but this didn't stop her from having some fun on the press tour. In this bit for U.K. website Lad Bible, she gets a lesson from rapper Lethal Bizzle, who teaches "Ju to the Di" to unleash her inner rhyme while she wears a very fierce "DENCH" baseball cap. Honestly, we could watch this clip all day.

4. When she shared a unique and adorable coronavirus PSA.

Dame Judi doesn't use social media, sadly, but her daughter Finty Williams has a Twitter account on which she shares the odd update from her mom. Back in March, she shared a sweet video message of Dame Judi – wearing a cute dog hat whose ears spring up when tugged – reminding us to "just keep laughing" during these difficult times.

5. When her grandson taught her a viral dance.

A few weeks ago, Dame Judi's grandson Sam Williams shared a video on the social media platform TikTok in which she busts some moves to Yung Gravy’s trap track “Cheryl.” If only all FaceTime sessions were this productive!

6. When she had the most British birthday cake imaginable.

British department store Marks & Spencer says it's sold more than seven million "Colin the Caterpillar" cakes since it introduced the cute chocolate sponge in 1990. It's no exaggeration to say they've become a bit of a national institution, so it made perfect sense for Dame Judi – kind of a national institution herself – to tuck into one on her 83rd birthday in 2017.

7. When she sampled the beer named after her.

Proving she's an eternally good sport, she posed with a can of "Dame Judi Quench," a double dry-hopped pale ale made by boutique beer merchants York Brew in her honor. You may recall that Dame Judi also enjoyed a sip or two of the brew on The Graham Norton Show last December.

8. When she revealed she delivered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation... to a fish.

Even her The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel co-star Dev Patel seems a little taken aback by this anecdote Dame Judi shared on The Graham Norton Show back in 2012. Still, it sounds as though whatever she did worked out pretty well for the fish.

Have we missed one of your favorite Dame Judi Dench moments?