Sheila Hancock was "honoured" to be given a lifetime achievement award marking her lengthy career in film and television.
The actress was at the 20th annual Women In Film And TV Awards at the Park Lane Hilton Hotel in London.
She said: "I feel unworthy to be perfectly honest but it's great. I'm very honoured."
Sheila, who first made her name almost 50 years ago in the BBC sitcom The Rag Trade, told the specially invited audience she thought she "was not the sort of person" who wins prizes.
She said: "I remember being at the Bafta awards once and I was nominated and I didn't win the bloody thing and that wonderful actress Thora Hird came up to me and said 'Don't worry love, just hang on until you're 70' - maybe that's what's happened."
The actress, whose account of her marriage to Inspector Morse star John Thaw was a best-seller, also paid tribute to her daughters.
The 77-year-old said: "I've been married to two mad, bad, dangerous-to-know men and it was good. It wasn't a quiet life, but it didn't make for being a good mother, that and a combination of my career, but by some miracle, perhaps this is an achievement of sorts, they have turned out to be wonderful women".
The awards were hosted by Julie Walters who revealed the event's organisers had to help her make sure she beat the snowy conditions and got to the ceremony.
She said: "We were completely snowed in so they had to get in a young man with a massive four wheel drive to pick me up yesterday and bring me in."
Carey Mulligan and scriptwriter Jane Goldman, wife of Jonathan Ross, were among the famous names recognised at the awards.