Sir Lenny Henry's pride at South Bank Sky Arts Awards honour

The comedian and actor picked up the Outstanding Achievement prize.

Sir Lenny Henry has been honoured with the Outstanding Achievement prize at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards.

The comedian and actor, 60, said he was “ecstatic” to have been given the accolade, which was presented to him by Richard Curtis.

Other winners at the ceremony at the Savoy Hotel in London included Jessie Buckley, who won The Times Breakthrough Award, presented by Charles Dance, and Lily Allen, who took home the Pop Award for her album No Shame.

Sky Arts Awards
Sir Lenny Henry with the Outstanding Achievement Award (Ian West/PA)

“This ceremony is particularly special as the awards celebrate the incredible spectrum of arts that the UK has to offer,”  Sir Lenny said.

“I’m very proud indeed to be honoured in this way.”

The awards – now in their 23rd year – celebrate genres including dance, theatre, music, television, film, literature, opera and comedy.

Lily Allen at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards
Lily Allen with the Pop Award (Ian West/PA)

The Favourite triumphed in the film category, English National Ballet was victorious with Playlist (Track 1,2) in the dance category and Derry Girls took home the comedy accolade.

Author Diana Evans scooped the prize for literature with her novel Ordinary People.

Other winners included Stephen Daldry’s production of The Inheritance in the theatre category; English National Opera’s Porgy And Bess for opera, Pages Of The Sea by Danny Boyle for visual art; A Very English Scandal for TV drama, and The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s Debussy Festival for classical music.

Guests at the ceremony, which was hosted by Melvyn Bragg, were treated to performances from artists such as Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the 2017 Times Breakthrough Award winner, and Freya Ridings.

There were operatic performances from Angela Gheorghiu with O Mio Babbino Caro and Joseph Calleja with La Vie En Rose, both accompanied by Paul Wynne Griffiths, and a reading by Naomie Harris.

Presenters included Steve Pemberton, Reece Shearsmith, Himesh Patel, Katherine Ryan and Mica Paris.

Jessie Buckley
Jessie Buckley with her award (Ian West/PA)

Sky Arts director Phil Edgar-Jones said: “There’s never been a better time to be an artist in the UK – there’s so much that is truly gobsmackingly awful going on in the political world that the arts is a haven of sanity, empathy and incredible creativity – and this year’s South Bank Sky Arts Awards is testament to that with a wonderful diversity of talented winners.”

The South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2019 will air on Wednesday at 8pm on Sky Arts.

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