Ab Fab star Joanna Lumley has been set to receive the BAFTA Fellowship at the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards which will be held May 14 in London. This is the highest accolade bestowed by BAFTA upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games across their career.
Lumley was already a successful model when she had her breakout role as Purdey in The New Avengers in 1976. A title role in ITV’s Sapphire And Steel followed, with the series running for six seasons. Beginning in 1992, she stepped into the boots of Patsy Stone in the Jennifer Saunders-created BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. Lumley won BAFTAs in 1993 and 1995 for her portrayal of the narcissistic hard-partying ex-model.
She has received four other BAFTA nominations and in 2000 was given the Special Award for The Avengers. Her film appearances include On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), Trail Of The Pink Panther (1982), James And The Giant Peach (1996), Ella Enchanted (2004), Corpse Bride (2005), The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013) and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016).
Lumley is also an advocate and activist for human and animal rights, and has hosted several travel documentaries.
Today, she said, “Nothing could make me prouder or happier than being awarded this phenomenal honor. 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, added, “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 honoring her with the Fellowship this year, the highest honor that the Academy bestows.”
Previous Fellows have included Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Jon Snow, Bruce Forsyth, Melvyn Bragg, Michael Palin, Trevor MacDonald, David Attenborough and Julie Walters.
The Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards will be hosted by Sue Perkins at the Royal Festival Hall in London and broadcast on BBC One at 8PM on May 14.