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Dame Helen Mirren thought her work was too "raunchy" to receive a BAFTA Fellowship.
The 68-year-old actress will be presented with the prestigious honour next month and admits she is "stunned" to be following in the footsteps of the likes of Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Dame Judi Dench, Charlie Chaplin and Steven Spielberg in receiving the accolade.
She said: "Much of the time my artistic choices are raunchy."
Discussing her 1989 film 'The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover' - which featured cannibalism and violence - she added: "In many ways it was right up my alley - and the quality in me that makes me relish that kind of thing was the reason I thought I would never, ever be the person to win this Fellowship."
The 'Queen' actress thinks it is "ridiculous" she is following in such esteemed footsteps.
She told the Daily Mail newspaper: "It's ridiculous, really! If anyone had said to Hitchcock, 'This young lady will be on the same list as you, Alfred', he would have thrown the latest script across the room."
Helen - who is married to director Taylor Hackford - has always known she wanted a long career so never relied on her appearance to try and land roles.
She said: "When I was young, I wanted very much to be working at the age I am now.
"I was never interested in the kind of career that was just dependent on how you looked. When you're 18, the idea of being 35 is such a long way off that you didn't always think of it - but I did.
"Even in your idiotic, 18-year-old mind you should know that things like looks come to an end. You're really heading to a major fall otherwise."