Entertainment & Arts

Julie Walters to be given Bafta Fellowship

Julie Walters Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Walters won a Bafta in 2010 for her portrayal of former Northern Ireland secretary Mo Mowlam

Actress Julie Walters is to be given the Bafta Fellowship, the highest honour the British Academy of Film and Television Arts can bestow.

Walters is being recognised for her contribution to film and TV, where she began partnering comedian Victoria Wood in shows such as Wood and Walters.

She was Oscar-nominated for her turn, opposite Sir Michael Caine, in the 1983 film Educating Rita.

"I'm completely honoured and thrilled," the actress said.

"I got a letter just saying 'you've been chosen, would you accept it?'" she told Chris Evans on his Radio 2 Breakfast show.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionJulie Walters says she does not know who will present her award at the television Baftas on 18 May

"That was it. It was just like an email, and I emailed them back and said, 'yeah, great!'"

In a statement, she added she had "worked with some brilliant people over the years" and had been "very fortunate to have had the opportunities to work on such a variety of projects".

Walters, who was made a CBE in 2008, originally trained as a nurse before studying English and drama and going to work for the Everyman Theatre Group in Liverpool, where her contemporaries included Bill Nighy and writer Alan Bleasdale.

She played various minor roles before teaming up on TV with Woods, with whom she had previously appeared on stage.

Image caption Julie Walters played Mistress Quickly in Henry IV, opposite Simon Russell Beale as Falstaff

She gained international stardom with the comedy film Educating Rita, playing a working class woman who turns to academia to try and better her life. The film was nominated for three Oscars, though Walters - who won the Bafta and Golden Globe for best actress, lost out to Terms of Endearment's Shirley MacLaine on the night.

Walters won another Bafta for best supporting actress in 2001 for the film Billy Elliot.

She won the best actress category at the Bafta TV awards for three consecutive years between 2002 and 2004, for her roles in My Beautiful Son, Murder and Canterbury Tales. She was given the prize a fourth time in 2010 for her portrayal of former Northern Ireland secretary Mo Mowlam.

She recently starred in the BBC's Shakespeare series The Hollow Crown.

Chief Executive of Bafta, Amanda Berry called Walters "one the most talented individuals to grace our screens".

"She has the innate ability," she added, "to draw the viewer in across any genre, captivating and entertaining with every performance.

"Julie is thoroughly deserving of the Fellowship, the highest honour the Academy can bestow."

Walters will receive the award at this year's television Baftas at the Theatre Royal in London on 18 May.

She said her speech would require "a bit of thought".

"It's an award that's right at the end of the evening, so nobody wants a great big [speech] so I'm going to have to judge it carefully."

Previous recipients include Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Richard Curtis and Sir David Jason.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites