North East-born film director Sir Ridley Scott is due to receive a special honour at the British Academy Film Awards (Baftas) tonight.
Sir Ridley will be awarded a fellowship of the British Academy of Film & Television Arts at the prestigious ceremony, held at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
The fellowship – which is awarded annually – is the highest accolade bestowed by Bafta on an individual.
It recognises an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, games or television, with previous recipients including Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery and Elizabeth Taylor.
Sir Ridley was born in South Shields and took the first steps in his 40-year film-making career when he was educated at West Hartlepool College of Art.
In 1995, both Ridley and his brother Tony received a Bafta for Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema.
Ridley was knighted for his "services to the British film industry" in 2003.
Now 80, he said of the fellowship award: “It is a privilege to have been able to make a career for myself in this industry and to be honoured for my body of work is indeed very gratifying.”
He has been at the helm of more than 25 feature films, including Hannibal (2001), Black Hawk Down (2001), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), American Gangster (2007), Body of Lies (2008) and Prometheus (2012).
Across his career, he has garnered five Bafta nominations and three Oscar nominations.
Amanda Berry OBE, chief executive of Bafta, said: “Ridley Scott is a visionary director, one of the great British filmmakers whose work has made an indelible mark on the history of cinema.
“His passion and unrelenting pursuit of excellence have provided cinema goers with a tantalising range of films, including Alien, Gladiator, Thelma and Louise and Blade Runner.”