Legend of comedy Mel Brooks was awarded the British Film Institute’s Highest Honour, the BFI Fellowship at a private London dinner on Friday evening, in front of guest including Terry Gilliam and Mike Leigh.

Mel BrooksMel Brooks recieved the BFI fellowship on Friday in London

The 88 year old was presented the award by BFI chair Greg Dyke, while John Hurt, star of Brook’s A History of the World Part 1 and Spaceballs, also spoke at the event. According to Variety guests on the evening also included Terry Gilliam, Mike Leigh, Simon Pegg and Salman Rushdie.

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Bestowing the honour chairman Dyke said, “We are thrilled to honour Mel Brooks with a BFI Fellowship. His brilliant wit and satire have continued to surprise and delight and, sometimes, astonish, as he delights in flouting convention, taking comedy to areas once held taboo. Mel’s irrepressible energy and dazzling originality have made the world a much funnier place.”

In his speech Brooks said he was honoured to receive the award, which is awarded to those who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in film and television. “I am deeply honoured to be the recipient of the BFI Fellowship and to be inducted into such distinguished company” Brooks said. “When I was informed that I had been chosen, I was surprised and delighted. Not many Americans have been offered this prestigious award… and for good reason.”

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Previous recipients of the honour have included Ralph Fiennes, David Cronenberg, Judi Dench, Tim Burton, Martin Scorsese and Orson Welles. Brooks is best known for comedy films The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.

He won an Academy Award for best original screenplay in 1968 for The Producers, which over 30 years later he successfully adapted for Broadway, winning a Tony Award for best musical. In 2013 he was the 41st recipient of the American Film Institutes’ Life Achievement Award.