Speaking about being awarded the Fellowship, the Absolutely Fabulous actress 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.”
The Fellowship is the highest accolade given by BAFTA and is in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games across a career.
Previously, Lumley has had six nominations from the Academy, winning two BAFTAs and a Special Award during her 40-year-career.
After starting out as a model, Lumley’s breakthrough role came as Purdey in The New Avengers in 1976. She then took the title role in Sapphire and Steel, which ran for six series on ITV, and is known by scores of viewers for playing Patsy in Jennifer Saunders’ sitcom Absolutely Fabulous.
Chair of BAFTA Jane Lush 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.
“I am truly delighted that BAFTA will be honouring her with the Fellowship this year, the highest honour that the Academy bestows.”
The BAFTA TV Awards will air on Sunday May 14 at 8pm on BBC1.