Helen Mirren has been honoured with an acting achievement award by the British Independent Film Awards (Bifas).

The 61-year-old British actress, who most recently won acclaim for her role in The Queen, was handed the Variety UK film achievement award.

However she failed to take home the prize of best actress, which went instead to Katie Dickie for her role in Red Road.

The film also took one of the other major prizes, with Tony Curran being named as best actor.

Jim Broadbent, whose prolific career has included the films The Chronicles of Narnia, Bridget Jones's Diary, Vera Drake and Gangs of New York, was honoured with the Richard Harris award for his outstanding contribution to British film.

This Is England, a film set in 1980s England about a group of young skinheads, was named as the best British independent film and Kevin MacDonald took home the best director award for The Last King of Scotland.

This year's jury included the expertise of Alan Cumming, Anna Friel, Damian Lewis and Helen McCrory amongst others.

John Woodward, chief executive officer of the UK Film Council, the major funding partner of the Bifas, said: "This year's nominations and award winners highlight the outstanding talent working in the UK with established and emerging talent both producing films which are not only winning critical acclaim and attracting cinemagoers alike."

Last night's ceremony was held at the Hammersmith Palais, London.

30/11/2006 15:58:18