Dame Judi Dench has "worse nerves" now than when she started acting 54 years ago.

The 76-year-old actress - who has starred in 'Notes on Scandal', 'Shakespeare In Love' and a number of James Bond films, including 'Casino Royale' and 'Tomorrow Never Dies' - admits she "never" has confidence in her ability and always has to rely on a director.

She said: "I have worse nerves now, 54 years after entering this business, than when I started. I'm never confident about the work I do and I'm very, very reliant on a director.

"Everything I do, there's always something that jumps up and hits me in the eye."

Despite her nerves, the 'My Week With Marilyn' actress - who admits to being a "great prankster" on the set of her movies - doesn't ever want to quit acting because she thinks the learning process is far too important to leave behind.

She added to The Observer magazine: "If I retire I think I should fall over. You've got to keep learning. I think everybody should take the time to recite two lines of something every day. I've also just taken up Sudoku - bloody difficult, isn't it?"