Hammer horror star Sir Christopher Lee said it was a "very emotional moment" when he received his British Institute Fellowship from his friend Johnny Depp.He tearfully accepted the award at the London Film Festival, saying: "I didn't know you were going to be here. I must try and pull myself together."
Sir Christopher, 91, who described receiving his award as "a great joy", is famed for his villainous portrayals of Bond bad guy Scaramanga and evil wizard Saruman in The Lord of the Rings.
He has amassed more than 250 screen credits, including The Wicker Man, The Man with the Golden Gun and more recently, several Tim Burton films including Sleepy Hollow, which starred Depp. He also played Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels.
Depp, who sneaked into the awards ceremony to surprise his friend, said it was his "great honour" to present the award to "a very great man", saying he had been "fascinated and inspired" by him
"He's been a wonderful individual and over the years I've had the pleasure of working with him and it has been a childhood dream come true," he said. "But as great as it is to work with him, that pleasure doesn't compare with getting to know him and being able to count him as a true friend.
"A national treasure and a genuine artist. I love ya!"
Sir Christopher responded by saying: "I can't thank you enough," in reference to Depp, who he had been told could not make the occasion as he was elsewhere. He went on : "When I take a look back, and it's a long one, 67 years, at the characters I've played I get a truly strange feeling they were all played by somebody else, and not by me. "And there are a few occasions when it has been the case I wish it had!" He said of Depp: "He means an enormous amount to me. He is one of very few young actors on screen today who's truly a star. "Everything he does has a meaning. He's a joy to work with, an actor's dream and certainly a director's dream. I could go on a long time but I'd probably embarrass him."
Johnny Depp presents Sir Christopher Lee with his British Film Institute Fellowship Award : Depp on Sir Christopher Lee: " A national treasure and a genuine artist. I love ya!"
Watch Sir Christopher Lee presentation at BFI evening. HERE