Dame Sian Phillips wins lifetime achievement award

The 84-year-old said it would be “hard to calculate” the debt she owes to the BBC.

Dame Sian Phillips has received a lifetime achievement award.

The Welsh star, 84, was recognised at the BBC Audio Drama Awards for her acting career which began in radio in 1944.

Dame Sian, who was married to Peter O’Toole, has performed in everything from Ibsen to The Archers and an adaptation of John le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, opposite Sir Alec Guinness.

The star's acting career  began in radio in 1944 (John Stillwell/PA)
The star’s acting career began in radio in 1944 (John Stillwell/PA)

She said: “It would be hard to calculate the debt I owe to the BBC – in human as well as professional terms.

“My most extreme professional experiences occurred between the age of 11 and 19 in the BBC Welsh studios in Park Place in Cardiff where I was pushed, pulled, coaxed, encouraged and taken down a peg or two in a wild variety of jobs related to acting.

“Waiting in the wings at some important event in, say, The Palladium will never lose its terror but nothing in my life has ever compared with the experience, during the days of live radio, reaching the giddy heights of a grown-up play for the first time and hearing the Announcer in London say ‘This is the BBC Home Service. Saturday Night Theatre’.

“That mixture of fear and exhilaration would be hard to repeat.”

Other winners included Marcus Brigstocke for his play The Red, Sarah Kendall for her Australian Trilogy comedy series, and Nikesh Patel for his leading role in Midnight’s Children.

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