Joanna Lumley OBE is to receive a BAFTA Fellowship award at this year’s British Academy Television Awards.
The highest honour from the organisation, the actress is being recognised for her “outstanding and exceptional contribution to film and television” throughout her career, joining the likes of Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Jon Snow, Bruce Forsyth, Melvyn Bragg, Michael Palin, Trevor MacDonald, David Attenborough and Julie Walters.
With a career spanning 40 years, her breakout role was in the 1976 show The New Avengers, where she portrayed Purdey. She continued to gain recognition as an eminent actress, appearing in Sapphire and Steel and later in Absolutely Fabulous as Patsy Stone in 1992.
Commenting on the award Lumley said: “Nothing could make me prouder or happier than being awarded this phenomenal honour. To be counted amongst the greatest talents and stars of our industry is an awesome gift: the BAFTA Fellowship is the grandest and most unexpected prize I have ever had the joy of receiving.”
Previous BAFTA recognition of Lumley’s work includes six BAFTA nominations, and awards for Comedy Performance (1995) and Light Entertainment Performance (1993) for Absolutely Fabulous. In 2000, she received the Special Award for The Avengers.
Jane Lush, Chair of BAFTA, said: “From high-kicking her way into our hearts as Purdey in The New Avengers to showcasing her enviable comedic credentials with her portrayal of Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous, Joanna Lumley is a true icon of television, and so I am truly delighted that BAFTA will be honouring her with Fellowship this year, the highest honour that the Academy bestows.”
The British Academy Television Awards will take place on Sunday 14 May.