Alison Steadman to be awarded for "exceptional" British film legacy

Gavin And Stacey star Alison Steadman OBE is to be honoured for her "exceptional work" in film at the British Independent Film Awards (Bifa).

She will be presented with the Richard Harris Award at the ceremony next month, following in the footsteps of previous winners John Hurt, Daniel Day-Lewis, Ralph Fiennes and Julie Walters.

Alison, 70, began her acting career on stage in the 1960s before moving on to radio, television and film. In 1993, she was given the Olivier award for best actress for her performance in Jim Cartwright's The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.

Alison also made waves playing Jackie in controversial Girl, 1974.
Alison also made waves playing Jackie in controversial Girl, 1974 (BBC/PA)

Richard Harris's son, Jared Harris, said: "Alison Steadman's work in film is the embodiment of the British ideal that this award celebrates.

"My father, his peers and the filmmakers they collaborated with lit the torch for that ideal in the 60s and 70s - and the work that Alison did in collaboration with Mike Leigh, Michael Lindsay Hogg and the BBC carried that torch from the 70s and into the 80s.

"Not only has she created some of the most memorable, truthful and brilliant characters in British cinema, but Alison has also been a vital influence to countless performers who have followed her."

As well as her role playing Pam Shipman in the BBC comedy Gavin And Stacey in recent years, Alison is especially known for her film collaborations with actor and director Mike Leigh, including Topsy Turvy (1999) and Life Is Sweet (1990), for which she won best actress at the US National Society of Film Critics Awards.

More recently she played Diana in last year's Bifa-nominated Burn Burn Burn, starring alongside Laura Carmichael, Joe Dempsie, Sally Phillips and Julian Rhind-Tutt.

Her other accolades include two Bafta nominations for her television roles in Fat Friends (2001) and The Singing Detective (1986), and in 2000 she was appointed OBE.

The final Bifa winners will be unveiled at a London ceremony hosted by Jennifer Saunders on December 4.

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