Sheila Hancock is to receive a lifetime achievement award at the 20th annual Women in Film and Television Awards, which will take place in London on Dec 3.

Previous recipients of the award, which recognises outstanding and lasting contributions to film and television, include Dame Judi Dench, and Dame Maggie Smith and this year’s awards host Julie Walters.

Sheila Hancock said she was “amazed and delighted that WFTV should pay me this enormous compliment. I am so grateful to all these women, in front of and behind the camera, that have given me such joy in my sixty years in the business. I feel I should now retire gracefully but I can’t bear to leave them all.”

Other guests expected to attend this year’s event include Sally Hawkins, James Purefoy and Nick Frost.