A HOLLYWOOD A-lister thinks turning Reading Gaol into a "cultural and artistic centre" would be a "great gift" for Reading, the UK and the world.

Actress Dame Judi Dench has expressed her support for the campaign, backed by the Reading Chronicle, to turn Reading Gaol into an arts and heritage site.

READ ALSO: Reading Prison sale falls through as developer pulls out.

The sale of the Grade II listed building fell through last month when the successful bidder withdrew from the deal.

The prison is infamous for its incarceration of playwright Oscar Wilde who, according to the British Library, was found guilty of "acts of gross indecency with other male persons" in 1895.

Following the announcement of the sale falling through, Dame Judi revealed her support for saving the prison.

On Saturday (November 28), she said: "It is vitally important that Reading Gaol, a place of such culture, be used in a way that pays tribute to its artistic history.

"Namely, to become a cultural and artistic centre.

"It would be a great gift not only to Reading as a town and growing population centre of the South, but also to the UK and the world as a whole."

She added: "The idea of plays being performed, people learning and enjoying themselves, and a community coming together in a space that represented so much sadness and inspiration for Oscar Wilde himself is a beautiful one."

Dame Judi is the latest of a number of actors, authors and critics who have shown support for an arts and heritage centre at the gaol.

Juliane Barnes, Stephen Fry, Waldemar Januszczak, and Ben MacIntyre have all made public comments of support.

The Reading Chronicle has also supported campaigners fighting to save the town's iconic landmark.

For six months last year, the Chronicle ran a campaign to Save Reading Gaol speaking with key players each week.

The Gaol hug which saw hundreds of people join hands around the prison site last October was heavily publicised in order to gather support for the movement.

READ MORE: Reading gaol hug great success as hundreds hold hands around prison.

A key campaigner to save the site is Reading East MP Matt Rodda who wants to see the prison turned into an arts and heritage site.

Speaking about Dame Judi's support, he said: "I am delighted that Dame Judi Dench has offered her support to the campaign to save Reading Gaol.

"I hope the Ministry of Justice will listen to the growing calls for it to change its approach and save the gaol so that it can be used for arts and heritage."