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Tea with Heather

Recollections of Legendary British Actors

Heather sits down with Dr. John F. Andrews, OBE for a behind-the-scenes look at some of your favorite performers – an online video exclusive!

Sir John Gielgud | Sir Derek Jacobi | Dame Diana Rigg | Dame Judi Dench

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Dr. John F. Andrews, OBE

Dr. John F. Andrews, OBE
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John Andrews is executive director of the Nation's Capital branch of the English-Speaking Union and founder and president of the Shakespeare Guild, a nonprofit organization that bestows the annual Gieglud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts and hosts a Speaking of Shakespeare series with venues in both New York and Washington.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Andrews has interviewed and worked with some of the finest performers of our time, among them Kenneth Branagh, John Cleese, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Ian McKellen, and Dame Diana Rigg - all personalities who are familiar to MPT viewers.

A native of Carlsbad, New Mexico, Dr. Andrews was inducted as an honorary Officer of the British Empire in the summer of 2000, a rare honor for an American and one that recognized his various contributions to our appreciation of the globe's most celebrated author. He and his wife, artist Jan Denton, reside in D.C.'s Kalorama neighborhood.

For more information about the English-Speaking Union, see www.esuwdc.org.

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Sir John Gielgud

Sir John Gielgud
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The Shakespeare Guild established the Sir John Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts in 1994. Our viewers are of course familiar with Sir John Gielgud, from shows like Brideshead Revisited and Masterpiece Theatre.

Considered to be one of the most prolific actors of his generation, he appeared in almost 80 films, but his greatest performances were reserved for the stage. He is perhaps best known for his Shakespearian roles including Hamlet, Prospero, Romeo and King Lear among many others. He is one of very few people ever to win an Oscar (best actor in supporting role Arthur 1981), a Grammy, an Emmy and a Tony. He died May 21, 2000 at the age of 96.

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Sir Derek Jacobi

Sir Derek Jacobi
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One of the earliest recipients of the Sir John Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts, was Sir Derek Jacobi, who won in 1997. We know Sir Derek Jacobi through his role as Brother Cadfael on Mystery, however, his breakthrough role came in 1976 with the BBC blockbuster I, Claudius.

He has since won two Emmys: one for a guest role on the sitcom, Frasier, as well as an outstanding supporting actor on the miniseries The Tenth Man. He also won a Screen Actor's Guild Award for Gosford Park (2002), and was nominated for a SAG award for Gladiator (2001). He is rumored to appear in Agatha Christie's Poirot - "The Big Four" which will air in May 2008.

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Dame Diana Rigg

Dame Diana Rigg
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Another Mystery alum of course is Dame Diana Rigg, who we know as the very glamorous, very candid, and very worldly detective - Mrs. Adela Bradley. Early in her career, she played the sexy secret agent, Emma Peel in the 1960's television series The Avengers. She also played James Bond's only wife, in the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), where she reportedly ate garlic before engaging in kissing scenes with Bond actor George Lazenby!

She won an Emmy in 1997 for best supporting actress for her role as Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca. Most recently, she appeared as Mother Superior in the film, The Painted Veil, released in January 2007.

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Dame Judi Dench

Dame Judi Dench
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Teagoers are very familiar with our next actress, Dame Judi Dench, who played Jean Hardcastle on the popular BBC sitcom As Time Goes By. True to her strong-willed trademark character, she was once quoted as saying "I don't like reading scripts very much. I like it better for someone to just explain to me what it is about this story."

That has proved to be a successful formula. She has been nominated for five Oscars, including Shakespeare in Love (1999) for which she won for best actress in a supporting role as Queen Elizabeth I. She has also been nominated for eight Screen Actors Guild awards, and five Golden Globes, one of which she received best performance for Last of the Blonde Bombshells in 2001.

Dame Judi is currently in pre-production on the next James Bond thriller, Bond 22, set for release in 2008.

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