Damian Lewis has accepted Helen McCrory's Raindance Icon Award ahead of the film festival's Opening Gala Party tonight (26th October).

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Homeland actor Lewis was married to McCrory, who died of cancer in April 2021 aged 52. The late Peaky Blinders star was on the Raindance Film Festival jury herself in 2019, and is being honoured posthumously for her extensive contribution to screen and stage.

Speaking of the award, Lewis, who is on the Raindance jury this year, said: "I’m honoured to accept the posthumous Raindance Icon Award on Helen’s behalf. She’d be pleased as punch to be receiving it.

"There was no more fiercely independent spirit than Helen and in her attitude towards work. She loved her time on the Raindance jury and being able to view films made with that same liberated energy. Raindance and Helen – it’s a perfect match.”

Helen McCrory as Polly Gray with a cigarette in Peaky Blinders season five
Helen McCrory as Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders season 5. BBC

As well as playing the formidable Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders, McCrory's career includes roles in North Square, Anna Karenina and the Harry Potter franchise as Draco Malfoy's mother, Narcissa.

McCrory will be honoured alongside Vanessa Redgrave (Julia, Howards End), Jonathan Pryce (The Crown, The Two Popes) and Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace, Their Finest), who will also receive Icon Awards.

Speaking of his win, Pryce said: "I’m really happy to be part of the 30th Raindance Film Festival, and it’s an honour to accept the festival’s Icon Award. Much of my career has been in independent film, and I salute Raindance for consistently championing films that fight to be made outside the system."

Arterton added: "I am privileged to be a part of the British Film Industry because it does a wonderful job at nurturing, supporting, and investing in talent. I’m incredibly proud to be the recipient of a Raindance Icon Award."

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