'English Patient' in the best of health

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Hot on the heels of his triumph at the Oscars, film director Anthony Minghella is set to step back into the limelight at tonight's Bafta awards ceremony with The English Patient tipped to sweep all before it.

The film - which won nine Oscars - received a record 13 Bafta nominations and has already garnered three of a possible seven awards in the craft section a few weeks ago, for music, cinematography and editing. The six remaining nominations are for best film, direction, adapted screenplay, leading actor and actress and supporting actress.

Many of the film categories at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards offer the chance of a consolation prize to those talents overlooked in Hollywood like English Patient star Kristin Scott Thomas (pictured), Hollywood veteran Lauren Bacall and Mike Leigh's Secrets And Lies, which received no Oscars despite five nominations.

The ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall, highlight of Britain's showbusiness awards' calendar, also offers recognition of the best in television. Top programmes in the running for the television prizes include Only Fools And Horses and Hillsborough.

The Mrs Merton Show has two nominations and Rory Bremner, Who Else? has three, as does acclaimed BBC2 drama Our Friends In The North.

News, sport, factual and talk shows also get their chance of awards.

The ceremony - which will be attended by the Princess Royal, president of Bafta - will be hosted by Lenny Henry and screened on BBC1 at 10pm.