Dame Judi Dench makes history after winning most Olivier acting awards


Dame Judi Dench has made history at the Olivier Awards as she has now won more Oliviers for acting than any other performer.

The veteran actress was named best actress in a supporting role for The Winter's Tale at the ceremony held at London's Royal Opera House.

Her win for her role as Paulina in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company's production takes her total win of Olivier Awards to eight.

As she collected her award, she joked she was "livid" as her win meant she had lost a bet with her grandson.

She said: "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm absolutely livid as I had a bet with my grandson ... and I'm never going to be able to forget it."

She praised "a really fantastic company and crew and stage management", saying of the award: "It's lovely to have, but in actual fact it belongs to all those people just as much as it belongs to me."

The best supporting actor award was won by Sherlock creator Mark Gatiss for his role in Three Days In The Country.

Musical revival Gypsy won four awards, the most of the evening, including the much-coveted best actress in a musical for Imelda Staunton.

Staunton said performing in Gypsy was "something special" and thanked her singing teacher as she explained: "We felt we were doing something special every night."

Best actor in a musical winner Matt Henry, who won the gong for his role in Kinky Boots, dedicated his award to his co-star Killian Donnelly.

Kinky Boots took home three awards, among them the best new musical award, which was presented by Dame Shirley Bassey.

Singer Cyndi Lauper performed Etta James's Misty Blue, before the show's host Michael Ball joined her on stage to duet Lauper's hit True Colours.

Taking to the stage alongside Zoe Wanamaker to present the awards for best actor and actress in a supporting role in a musical, Rob Brydon said: "All of us tonight have a bond, have something in common, whether you are a man or a woman, an actor or a director ... all of us are linked by one thing: we are all missing Countryfile."

The best supporting actor award went to David Bedella, who embraced Wanamaker and explained: "We are old friends. No, we really are. We were together at the national when I first started in this country, and it's been a wonderful ride."

Lara Pulver, who won best supporting actress for Gypsy, said she had the "privilege" to act on the London stage after a childhood spent scrap-booking her favourite musicals and plays.

Oscar-winner Mark Rylance lost out on winning another big award as Kenneth Cranham took home the best actor award for The Father.

Denise Gough used her best actress win for People, Places And Things to register her concern that all actresses nominated in her category are white.

After accepting the award from James Norton, she said: "Okay I've got 40 seconds so I've got to be quick. This is for my people, you all know who you are."

She then said she she was "just a bit disappointed" that, in a year marked by widespread uproar about the lack of diversity at awards shows, she was "sad" about the lack of diversity among the nominees in her own category.

She added: "I'm taking Noma Dumezweni and Marianne Jean-Baptiste with me."

The Magic Radio audience award was won by The Phantom Of The Opera.

:: The Olivier Awards will be held on April 9 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall