BFI Fellowship for director Richard Lester
The veteran director Richard Lester, perhaps best known for his early films with the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, has been honoured with the BFI’s highest accolade, a Fellowship.
The award was presented by the chairman of the BFI, Greg Dyke, after a screening of one of Lester’s best-loved films Robin and Marian, starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hephurn.
80 year old Lester, whose works also include 60s classics such as The Knack…and How to Get It, the Three Musketeers from the 70s and Superman 2 and 3 from the 80s, harked back to a moment early in his career, when the TV critic Bernard Levin came to see him in rehearsal with Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers. “He seems an amiable young man who climed into a lion’s cage and realised he’s forgotten his chair and his whip,” wrote Levin. “Some fifty years later,” remarked Lester, “I still haven’t found a whip, but with this extraordinary honour, the BFI has kindly given me a chair.”
“Richard Lester has created a unique body of work which has enrivhed the lives of millions with his brilliantly surreal humour and innovative style,” noted Dyke. “Although born in America, he has lived in Britain for 60 years and created some of the most endury and influential creations of British cinema.”