Monday 27 May 2019

Olly Alexander: I was shocked when Dame Judi Dench answered the phone

The actress narrates a short trailer for his band’s second album, Palo Santo.

Olly Alexander (Ian West/PA)
Olly Alexander (Ian West/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Years & Years’ frontman Olly Alexander was surprised when Dame Judi Dench picked up the phone when he called her to ask a favour for the band’s new album.

The actress narrates a short trailer for second album Palo Santo.

Singer Alexander told ITV show Lorraine that when he called Dame Judi to ask if she would lend her voice to the project, he was shocked when “she picked up the phone”.

“I was like, ‘I can’t believe you pick up the phone’. Of course she does! She’s a human being!,” he said.

The star previously made a BBC3 documentary, Olly Alexander: Growing Up Gay, addressing his own sexuality and his struggles with mental illness.

Asked if he had any advice for anyone else struggling, he said: “You’re not alone. It can feel that way, especially for me.

“I definitely felt I couldn’t speak about what I was going through or how I as feeling. I was too scared. I felt like I had to keep it all in.

Dame Judi Dench (Ian West/PA)

“The thing I wish I’d done sooner is talk to somebody or reach out… Remember you aren’t alone.”

He also told Lorraine he would like to meet one of the people who bullied him at school, a subject he has been open about.

“I wonder where they are now….  and I’d be interested in maybe talking to them about… how they feel about having bullied somebody,” he said.

“I think it usually comes from a place of damage or vulnerability.”

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