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Judi jetting in to film baby drama

FROM Bond to a banished unmarried Irish mother, Judi Dench has a remarkable line of movies set up.

The acclaimed actress, who also plays the spy chief 'M' in the James Bond movies, will arrive in Ireland later this month to film the story of Philomena Lee.

Philomena was "put away" by her parents in a convent in Roscrea, Tipperary after she became pregnant aged 18 in the 1950s.

She was forced to rear her son Anthony at the convent to the age of three before giving him up for adoption.

Philomena eventually travelled to Liverpool, settled and married there and never revealed anything to her family and friends.


One night, when tipsy on a little sherry, she revealed her deepest secret to her daughter, Jane. She subsequently contacted journalist Martin Sixsmith in 2004, who embarked on a quest to find Anthony, who would by then have been in his 50s and living in the US.

Comedian Steve Coogan plays opposite Dench in the role of the reporter.

"The film is a comic tragedy or a tragic comedy," he said. "It's about two very different people, at different stages of their lives, who help each other and show that there is laughter even in the darkest places."

Philomena centres around one woman's quest to find out what happened to her son during the illicit baby trade that went on at the height of the Catholic Church's powers.

The true story reveals that Philomena's son travelled to Ireland in search of his biological mother but at the same time found out he had a terminal illness.

Stephen Frears will direct the feature in Ireland later this month.

50 years of bond, SEE PAGE 19