Veteran critic Philip French has been awarded a BFI Fellowship for outstanding contribution to film culture.

Film critic Philip French has been awarded a BFI Fellowship for his contribution to film culture.

BFI chair Greg Dyke last night presented veteran critic French with the Fellowship at a ceremony at BFI Southbank.

Audience guests included Terence Davies, Douglas Slocombe, Claire Tomalin, Michael Frayn, Jeremy Thomas, Maryam D’Abo , Hugh Hudson, and Amanda Nevill, BFI CEO.

Dyke said: “As one of the most important and influential British writers on film and film-related subjects of the last 50 years or more Philip has done more than perhaps any other writer to build a critical context for the informed watching and making of film.”

French commented: “It is a great honour indeed for me to be offered a BFI Fellowship, and I accept with gratitude and alacrity. The BFI has been an important part of my life ever since I first bought a copy of Sight & Sound magazine on Newport station in 1951 and especially since I became a regular contributor to Sight & Sound in 1965.”

The BFI Fellowship is the highest award bestowed by the organisation. Previous recipients include Martin Scorsese, Vanessa Redgrave, Judi Dench, Isabelle Huppert, Ousmane Sembene, Orson Welles, Satyajit Ray and Akira Kurosawa.

Last night’s award marked the 76th BFI Fellowship presented since it was created in 1983.