TV Review: Nothing Like a Dame

I finally get round to catching up with the glories of Nothing Like a Dame – Atkins, Dench, Plowright, Smith, nothin’ acts like these dames

“There’s this new girl…”

Peter Bradshaw wittily deemed Nothing Like a Dame ” an Avengers: Infinity War of theatrical anecdotery” and as the likes of Peggy, Sir John, and Larry are casually namedropped, you can’t help but disagree. But when the people around the table are Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith, it’s a wonder they’re not dropping more!

There’s nothing formal about Nothing Like a Dame, less a roundtable than snatches of conversations between the four estimable Dames (well, three and a Lady…!). But likewise there nothing twee about it either, there’s a wonderful brusqueness to the chat, a clear-eyed forthrightness that brooks no bullshit whatsoever. 

So society’s attitudes towards the elderly are castigated (Dench’s patronising paramedic), as are those towards women (Atkins’ grudging acknowledgement she should have been ‘nicer’ – a man would never have been made to think thus, and co-stars are raked over the coals (Smith’s experiences with Olivier). It’s all fabulously entertaining.

The only real criticism you could level is that it isn’t the longest documentary and there’s a wee bit of time devoted to behind-the-scenes shenanigans which is great fun on the one hand, but just leaves you wanting more of the real stuff. Leaving room for a sequel, what do you think Judi?

Photo credit:  BBC/PA

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