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Countryfile: Dame Judi Dench emotional as she fulfils wish to see golden eagle

Dame Judi Dench became emotional on a segment of Countryfile as she fulfilled a lifetime ambition to see a golden eagle in the wild.

The Oscar-winning actress thought she saw the bird of prey on a previous Scotland trip but could not be sure it was the rare animal.

On the BBC programme, however, she was able to see the animal clearly thanks to the help of wildlife cameraman Hamza Yassin.

Philomena star Dame Judi and Strictly Come Dancing winner Yassin were travelling around in a car to a “secret location” when they had glimpses of the bird – before becoming successful.

Dame Judi Dench in Scotland. (BBC Studios/Ellie Arkle)
Dame Judi Dench had wanted to see golden eagles for a long time (BBC Studios/Ellie Arkle/PA)

The 88-year-old actress used a monitor to help her see two golden eagles flying near a kestrel in the sky and said: “Oh, yes, I do (see it)… The kestrel’s not having too good a time. He’s being seen off.”

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Asked by Yassin for her thoughts, Dame Judi looked tearful while laughing and said: “I could see one and you are a witness to seeing that I saw it… (I’m) very overcome… It’s an enormous privilege, don’t you (think)?”

Yassin, 33, said: “It is, isn’t it?”

Dame Judi said: “How often does anybody see that? Not very often.”

Yassin replied: “There’s few people in the UK that can say they’ve seen a golden eagle in the wild… and doing some pretty impressive behaviour.”

Dame Judi said: “How brilliant. And I keep that (the video) and show it?

“I never quite thought it would happen. (I believed) well, we’ll go out and we’ll be looking. They won’t (appear)… We saw them… thank you so much.”

Later, Dame Judi spoke about her passion for natural spaces, which she previously explored in the one-off BBC documentary, Judi Dench: My Passion For Trees.

On Countryfile, she said: “I think people’s attitude towards looking after the country is stronger now and is changing or we’re being made more aware of how we destroy and what we must preserve.

“We’re now aware of things like plastic and what harm it does in the sea and the rivers and hopefully… (we) will be even more focused on what we have. We can’t destroy that.”

During the programme, Dame Judi’s grandson Sam looked at tartan being made for the Bond actress, and her partner David Mills, who created the British Wildlife Centre on his Surrey farm, also appeared.

Dame Judi has previously been on Countryfile and in 2016 she took part in a William Shakespeare special to mark 400 years since the playwright’s death.

The Dame Judi Dench special episode of Countryfile aired at 7pm on Sunday on BBC One and is now available on BBC iPlayer.