Actress Joanna Lumley has been announced as this year's recipient of the Bafta Fellowship

Actress Joanna Lumley will be presented with the Bafta Fellowship at the Bafta TV Awards, an honour she has described as her ‘grandest’.

Awarded annually, the Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by BAFTA and previous recipients include Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Jon Snow, Bruce Forsyth, Melvyn Bragg, Michael Palin, Trevor MacDonald, David Attenborough and Julie Walters.

Joanna OBE 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.”

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 the Fellowship this year, the highest honour that the Academy bestows.”

Joanna began her career in the 1960s as a model before winning the breakthrough role in The New Avengers in 1976. She then starred in ITV sci-fi series Sapphire and Steel for six years before making a seamless transition into a BAFTA-winning comedy actress as Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabuous.

Joanna has been nominated for six Baftas, winning awards for Comedy Performance (1995) and Light Entertainment Performance (1993) for Ab Fab. In 2000, she received the Special Award for The Avengers.

The TV Baftas screen live on BBC1 on Sunday, May 14.