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Awards judges resign over Dame Helen Mirren 'fix'
By SP_COP on December 16, 2013 | From www.bbc.co.uk
Awards judges resign over Dame Helen Mirren 'fix' Three judges have resigned from the Evening Standard Theatre awards after it emerged Dame Helen Mirren won a prize following a voting alteration.

Dame Helen, who won best actress as the Queen in The Audience, was lagging behind at the end of a secret ballot.

Standard critic Henry Hitchings went on to change his vote, so two actresses no longer tied in first place.

The paper's editor and awards judge Sarah Sands said the move was "an absolutely legitimate choice".

"It would be absolutely wrong to suggest that there was anything untoward about the process," she added.

A judge confirmed to the BBC that the other five panellists were unaware that any changes had been made.

It is not known which of the other shortlisted actresses - Linda Bassett, Lesley Manville, Billie Piper and Kristin Scott Thomas - originally had the same number of votes and tied with Dame Helen at the top.

Three of the judges from the seven-strong panel - theatre critics Charles Spencer, Georgina Brown and Susannah Clapp - will not return for next year's 60th anniversary.

One of them said that "one of the awards seemed like a fix".

Ms Sands said that Mr Hitchings transferred his original vote as he had been a supporter of actress Rosalie Craig, who was subsequently moved into the best musical performance category.

His second choice - Dame Helen Mirren - became his first choice, making her the outright category winner. Ms Sands' vote remained unchanged....
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