Imelda Staunton doesn't want to be called a character actress.

The Oscar-nominated star, who is currently in Bradford promoting the UK city's film festival, doesn't like the term because it implies she is not capable of being the main star.

She said: "Aren't I a lead actor? In the old days you used to be a leading actor and a character actor, usually the character actor used to turn up in the funny little character parts and not leading roles.

"I think because I've played good, bad and the ugly I think that's why they call them characters, because they are different."

The 54-year-old actress admits she continues to be surprised at the level of success accredited to her 2004 movie 'Vera Drake' - for which she gained an Oscar nod for her portrayal of a back-street abortionist.

She said: "The work was phenomenal to do. We had no idea it would be as successful as it was. We weren't thinking of that at all at the time, particularly because it was turned down at Cannes. So I thought well it will never ever be seen, I thought I had a great year making it and that was it. Then it took off."

The British star enjoyed working with 'Vera Drake' director Mike Leigh again on their upcoming movie 'Another Year' because he isn't like other filmmakers.

She told the Yorkshire Post newspaper: "Well he works like no one else. Because there is no script, because you create the character for months.

"For actors. it's the ultimate because you are creating the character, whereas usually you get the script, you read the part and you do it. Where as with this you write it too."

'Another Year' is currently in post-production and will be released in 2010.