Dame Judi Dench has been honoured with a Fellowship Award at the British Film Institute (BFI).

The Oscar-winning actress - famed for her roles in the James Bond franchise and 'Shakespeare In Love' - is "surprised and privileged" to be presented with the award, which recognises her contribution to film and television.

She said: "For someone who was told in 1959 that they would never make it in the film industry I feel incredibly surprised and privileged to be receiving this Fellowship from the BFI."

Greg Dyke, who gave the award at the annual Chairman's dinner at the BFI Southbank, London, last night (22.06.11), hailed her as an "extraordinary talent".

He said: "Dame Judi Dench is one of the world's finest, most respected actors. She has a truly extraordinary talent and we are delighted and honoured that she has accepted a BFI Fellowship - the highest accolade the BFI can bestow.

"Dame Judi's contribution to British film and television has been outstanding for over 50 years, she is a national treasure with an international reputation."

Previous BFI Fellows include Alec Guinness, Dame Maggie Smith and Mike Leigh.