Dame Judi Dench has been forced to give up driving due to her failing eyesight, saying she feared killing someone if she remained behind the wheel.
The actress suffers from macular degeneration and has spoken in the past of being unable to read scripts any longer, but she continued to drive until 2017.
“A couple of years ago I stopped driving, which was one of the most traumatic moments of my life. It was absolutely appalling. But I just know I’ll kill somebody if I get behind the wheel of a car now,” said Dame Judi, 84.
She has had eight injections in one eye, which slowed the rate of deterioration, but she struggles to see.
“I can’t read the paper now, I can’t do the crossword, I can’t read a book. But, you know, you cope,” she told Radio Times.
The Oscar-winning star said those observing her might not realise she has the condition. “On a film set you learn where everything is. It’s ok if you can get away with it. It’s all acting, after all. Fooling people. It’s what I do.
“What worries me is some people don’t know, and they think, ‘Ooh, get her - she cut me dead!’ when I didn’t see them at all,” she said.
She does not know when her sight will fail completely and “I don’t ask. I don’t want to know. I can see enough… You adapt to it. So I ignore it altogether.”
The condition did not prevent Dame Judi from travelling to the jungles of Borneo to make a wildlife documentary, Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure, for ITV. It will air next week.
She recently finished shooting a role as Old Deuteronomy in a big screen version of Cats, and has four other films scheduled for release.
Dame Judi said: “People say, ‘Why don’t you retire?’ all the time. But we don’t even allow that word to be said in our family. People retire to paint or walk - do the things they’ve wanted to do all their lives. I’m doing what I’ve really wanted to do all my life, and I don’t want to stop, thank you very much.”