Judi Dench delights hotel guests with impromptu ABBA performance

Jan 14, 2023
Judi Dench rings in the new year with a special performance. Source: Getty

“National treasure” and legendary actress Dame Judi Dench is the gift that keeps on giving, having recently surprised a lucky group of hotel guests in Scotland with an unexpected live performance.

Just before the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, the 88-year-old Skyfall star took to the piano at the Fife Arms in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, and sang ABBA’s hit song Waterloo with Scottish singer Sharleen Spiteri.

In the clip, we see Dench and Spiteri sharing a piano seat, belting out the hit song before we hear Spiteri say “what a pianist!”

While many fans on social media were thrilled to see the duo’s performances, many were also quick to point out that Dench was faking her piano-playing skills.

Despite speculation that Dench was not actually playing the instrument, Ewan Venters, CEO of Artfarm, which owns The Fife Arms, told BBC Scotland the performance was still a “joyful” way to ring in the new year.

“Judi Dench and Sharleen Spiteri were staying at the hotel and we had an impromptu moment at the piano,” he said. “It was a happy evening with lots of guests and locals clapping.”

He said the duo burst into song just before the new year fireworks. “It was a classic Scottish Hogmanay party at the Fife Arms,” he said. “The hotel was fully sold out, with a four-course dinner and a ceilidh with lots of reeling.”

Dench’s carefree performance comes months after the acclaimed actress wrote a seething open letter to streaming giants Netflix for not clarifying that their hit drama show The Crown was a work of fiction, slamming the programme’s creators for their “inaccurate and harmful account of history” involving the Royal Family.

“The closer the drama comes to our present times, the more freely it seems willing to blur the lines between historical accuracy and crude sensationalism,” Dench wrote.

“While many will recognise The Crown for the brilliant but fictionalised account of events that it is, I fear that a significant number of viewers, particularly overseas, may take its version of history as being wholly true. Given some of the wounding suggestions apparently contained in the new series.

“No one is a greater believer in artistic freedom than I, but this cannot go unchallenged.

“The time has come for Netflix to reconsider — for the sake of a family and a nation so recently bereaved, as a mark of respect to a sovereign who served her people so dutifully for 70 years, and to preserve their own reputation in the eyes of their British subscribers.”


Leave your comment

Please sign in to post a comment.
Retrieving conversation…
Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up