The Abigail's Party star, 70, will receive the Richard Harris Award for her exceptional work within the British film industry on 4 December (16) at the Old Billingsgate event space in London.

Alison follows previous winners including the late Bob Hoskins, Jim Broadbent, Daniel Day-Lewis, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Emma Thompson and last year's (15) honouree Chiwetel Ejiofor in receiving the award, named after legendary British actor Richard Harris.

Praising Alison for her work in the 1970s and 1980s dramas which made her famous, Richard's son, Mad Men star Jared Harris said, "Alison Steadman's work in film is the embodiment of the British ideal that this award celebrates.

"My father, his peers and the filmmakers they collaborated with lit the torch for that ideal in the '60s and '70s. And the work that Alison did in collaboration with Mike Leigh, Michael Lindsay Hogg and the BBC carried that torch from the '70s and into the '80s."

Alison's starmaking role was on the stage, as the forceful Beverly in Mike Leigh's 1977 domestic drama Abigail's Party. The play was filmed by the BBC, an adaptation commonly listed among the greatest TV dramas.

Mike and Alison later collaborated on a number of film and TV projects, including playing put-upon-mother Wendy in the 1990 drama Life Is Sweet, a role which won her America's National Society of Film Critics' Best Actress Award.

Jared added, "Not only has she created some of the most memorable, truthful and brilliant characters in British cinema, but Alison has also been a vital influence to countless performers who have followed her. We are delighted to be able to celebrate her outstanding contribution to British film."

Spectre actress Naomie Harris will also be receiving a prize at the BIFAs ceremony, taking home the Variety Award.

Veteran filmmaker Ken Loach also looks set for glory at the event, as his drama I, Daniel Blake leads the pack with seven nominations.