Actress Julie Walters to Receive BAFTA Fellowship

Julie Walters

The British Academy is presenting Walters with its top honor for her 30-year career, which includes celebrated performances in "Billy Elliot," "Educating Rita," and other film and TV projects.

LONDON -- Julie Walters will receive the Fellowship during the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards ceremony, presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, on May 18 at Theatre Royal in the British capital.

Walters will pick up the highest accolade the academy dishes out during the annual event. The fellowship recognizes "an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games."

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Fellowships previously awarded for groundbreaking work in television went to Richard Curtis, David Jason, Bruce Forsyth and David Frost. Former Monty Python member Michael Palin received the Fellowship at last year’s Television Awards.

"Julie Walters is one of the most talented individuals to grace our screens," said BAFTA chief executive Amanda Berry in a statement. "She has the innate ability to draw the viewer in across any genre, captivating and entertaining with every performance. Julie is thoroughly deserving of the Fellowship, the highest honor the Academy can bestow."

Walters started her career as a collaborator with comedienne Victoria Wood, who hosted their own series, Wood and Walters, as well as the BAFTA-winning sketch series Victoria Wood as Seen on TV. Since then, Walters has gone on to become an internationally recognized TV and film actress. Her ability to adapt her craft across myriad roles is proven by performances in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Dinnerladies, The Jury, A Short Stay in Switzerland and Mo, for which she won the leading actress BAFTA in 2010 for the titular role.

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Over the course of her career, Walters has received many honors, including six BAFTAs, a BAFTA Special Award, a Golden Globe, an Olivier and two International Emmys.

"I am honored to receive this prestigious award and extremely shocked," said Walters. "I've worked with some brilliant people over the years and have been very fortunate to have had the opportunities to work on such a variety of projects."

The Arqiva British Academy Television Awards will be hosted by Graham Norton and broadcast on BBC One.