By Georgia Simcox For Mailonline
Published: 09:17 GMT, 17 November 2020 | Updated: 09:17 GMT, 17 November 2020
They were inseparable friends for almost 30 years.
And Dame Judi Dench has revealed her collaboration with the late Geoffrey Palmer nearly didn't happen.
In an emotional interview with this week's Radio Times just days after the comedian died aged 93, the actress, 85, recalled meeting her co-star for lunch to discuss As Time Goes By.
'He got us off to a good start': Dame Judi Dench, 85, has revealed her collaboration with the late Geoffrey Palmer nearly didn't happen
She said: 'He got us off to a good start when he informed me that they'd wanted Jean Simmons for the part, but she'd declined!'
Judi and Geoffrey starred in As Time Goes by from 1992 onwards, with Geoffrey playing Lionel Hardcastle.
She paid tribute to her late friend, who died earlier this month, saying she couldn't have done the show with anyone else.
Judi said: 'When you acted with him, you'd just feel very safe.
Inseparable: Judi became lifelong friends with co-star Geoffrey, staying inseparable friends for almost 30 years
'Geoffers was so sure on comedy that you could be pretty secure in knowing he would get you through it and make it