19 NOVEMBER 2007

A radiant Keira Knightley was basking in success as she was crowned queen of the big screen in London on Sunday.

The Atonement star was named film actress of the year at the Variety Club Showbiz Awards, for her performance in the WWII tale of love and betrayal.

Best actor Jude Law, honoured for Sleuth, sent his regrets as he was attending the thriller's premiere elsewhere in the capital.

A roll call of the country's best-loved performers made up for the absence of the Hollywood star, though. Britain's oldest showbiz gala, now in its 55th year, was hosted by glamorous TV presenter Myleene Klass. The impeccably turned out new mum presided as opera beauty Katherine Jenkins took to the stage to sing and picked up the best classical performer award.

The most emotional moment of the night came when veteran chat show host Michael Parkinson received a special accolade for his outstanding contribution to showbusiness from fellow Yorkshireman, Sir Ian McKellen.

Parky was also saluted with video contributions from Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, The Avengers actress Dame Diana Rigg and the Beckhams.

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The best actress winner, Keira was thrilled to receive her trophy for Atonement, from rising Brit sensation Charlie CoxPhoto: © Getty Images
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Elegant new mum Myleene proved she's already back in the swing of things, with her first major presenting job since the birth of her daughter AvaPhoto: © Getty Images
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Parky is congratulated for his lifetime achievement award by fellow TV host Gloria Hunniford and his wife MaryPhoto: © PA