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Dame Judi Dench says Geoffrey Palmer is the ‘naughtiest’ man she’s worked with

Dame Judi Dench dubbed her As Time Goes By co-star Geoffrey Palmer the “naughtiest man I have ever worked with” as she presented him with an Oldie of the Year award.

The actress joked that she wished she was presenting the 90-year-old sitcom actor with the “most promising newcomer” prize during the ceremony celebrating “the best of the older generation”.

She told the 150 guests at Simpsons-in-the-Strand: “I wish wish wish that this was the awards for ‘most promising newcomer’ or maybe even ‘the naughtiest man I ever had the pleasure to work with’, but it’s not. It’s the Oldie awards.

“I’m going to quote Bernard Shaw as he said about Ellen Terry ‘she never seemed old to me’. Well, nor you to me,” she said, before handing him a Palmer d’Or Oldie of the Year award for services to British television.

Dame Judi Dench
Dame Judi Dench attends The Oldie of the Year Awards (Kirsty O’Connor/PA Images)

The pair starred together as Jean Mary Hardcastle and Lionel Hardcastle in the BBC One romantic sitcom between 1992 and 2005.

Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn was honoured with the top “Oldie of the Year” prize at the annual tongue-in-cheek ceremony, now in its 25th year.

Her daughter, Virginia Lewis-Jones, collected the gong on her behalf.

Virginia Lewis-Jones
Dame Vera Lynn’s daughter Virginia Lewis-Jones accepted the top award on behalf of her mother (Kirsty O’Connor/PA Images)

Dame Vera, 100, marked her landmark birthday last year by releasing a critically-acclaimed album of some of her best-known songs, including We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs Of Dover.

The record, which debuted on the UK Albums Chart at number three, made her the oldest living person to have an album on the charts.

The decorated singer also released a memoir last year of her time spent entertaining troops in Burma during the Second World War.

Petula Clark, Dame Vera Lynn and Bruce Forsyth
Dame Vera celebrated her milestone 100th birthday last year by releasing an album and a memoir (Edmond Terakopian/PA Images)

The awards, hosted by monthly magazine The Oldie, also honoured Playwright Alan Ayckbourn, 78, as Old Drama King of the year, and transgender pioneer April Ashley, 82, as the Oldie Woman Ahead of the Time award.

Celebrity Big Brother 2018 contestant Rachel Johnson and actress Maureen Lipman were among the judges.

Other winners included Baronness Williams of Crosby and cricket commentator Henry Blofeld.

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