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Former Python Gilliam honoured by Bafta

PUBLISHED: 14:35 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:55 07 September 2010

Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam

MONTY Python star and Highgate director Terry Gilliam has been awarded a Bafta Fellowship in recognition of his contribution to film. The star was honoured with the British Academy of Film and Television s most prestigious prize at Sunday s ceremony at th

MONTY Python star and Highgate director Terry Gilliam has been awarded a Bafta Fellowship in recognition of his contribution to film.

The star was honoured with the British Academy of Film and Television's most prestigious prize at Sunday's ceremony at the London Royal Opera House.

Mr Gilliam, whose films include Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Twelve Monkeys, described the announcement as "quite a surprise".

At the ceremony he said: "I'm amazed to be humbled by a piece of metal. I'm worried that Bafta will take it away when they realise I'm not who they think I am."

In receiving the award, Mr Gilliam follows in the footsteps of greats including Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg.

His former Monty Python colleague Michael Palin, who lives in Gospel Oak, paid tribute to the filmmaker.

He told the Ham&High: "I'm really glad to see him get the recognition. Filming for Terry is a constant battle against everything - money, producers and the elements. It was a relief to see him get up on stage without being hit by a tree.

"A lot of films are very similar to each other but Terry's are always distinctive - he's really an original and for anyone who loves cinema he's somebody to be celebrated."

Mr Gilliam said he was shocked to get the award because he feels he is better remembered as an animator and actor in Monty Python's Flying Circus than for his directing skills.

He said: "Awards and honours I've kind of shied away from, but this one I'm happy to take. I keep asking myself, why me? It was quite a surprise when they said we'll give you the fellowship, as I don't expect these kinds of things.

"I'm recognised more as a Python than I am a filmmaker I suppose. And it'll probably be the thing that goes on the gravestone."

Mr Gilliam also paid tribute to the late Heath Ledger, whose last role was in Gilliams's latest big screen adventure The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus.

"It would have been nice if Heath had won more awards when he was alive," he said. "Heath was a genius, I think there was nothing he could not do. We hadn't seen anything from him yet.


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