“I was in New York recently with Maggie Smith publicising Ladies in Lavender, and we were asked about the Sanford Meisner Method School of acting, which is based on ruthless self-exploration”.

“Maggie, in her inimitable way, said: ‘Oh, we have that in England too. We call it wanking’.”

“Judi is more outgoing. But one is just a little wary of Maggie. She can be difficult because things affect Maggie much more. You never know whether Judi is not feeling great that day, but with Maggie it kind of shows on her face and you know if she is tired or fed up or not happy. There is an element of danger with Maggie Smith; she’s a much more complex character” - Charles Dance