Sally Potter is to receive the top honour at the London Critics' Circle Film Awards.

The director, whose credits include the 'Orlando' and 'The Tango Lesson', will receive the Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film.

Sally describes the award as an ''exceptional joy'' and feels ''blessed'' to be honoured in the late film critic's name.

Sally said: ''To be honoured by critics is an exceptional joy. To be honoured in Dilys Powell's name is to be blessed by a legend, someone whose love for the films that she wrote about so fluently was held by an archaeological knowledge of the history of cinema.

''I met her just once, when I was starting out as a filmmaker. Her critical gaze and precise language was uncompromising but respectful and therefore encouraging, which is all anyone ever needs. It is very moving to imagine those beady eyes looking at me again several decades later.''

The 70-year-old filmmaker will become the latest recipient of the award, following the likes of Kate Winslet, Sir Kenneth Branagh and Helena Bonham Carter.

Sally has received both Oscar and Bafta nominations during her career and has collaborated with actors such as Johnny Depp, Cate Blanchett and Dame Kristin Scott Thomas.

She has had a major impact on the industry by discovering new stars, refusing to shy away from provocative material and taking risks with genres.

This year marks the awards 40th anniversary, the Critics' Circle will give out a number of special awards at a gala ceremony.

A full list of nominations and special awards will be announced on December 17, with the ceremony taking place on January 30 2020.