Dame Joan is receiving the Bafta Fellowship - the highest accolade in British broadcasting - on Sunday, after more than 50 years on the airwaves.
But while her writing and broadcasting credits speak for themselves, Dame Joan recalls the one radio project in particular she wished had made it to television.
"I had one or two excursions into drama... and I wrote one about a rather wayward cleric and the adventures and terrible things that went wrong in his parish
"It was really popular with radio audiences, and they wanted more. And so I thought I'd pitch it for television as well.
"And they said, 'Oh, Joan, that's such a good idea. The trouble is, Richard Curtis has just arrived with The Vicar of Dibley."
The Dawn French series, which revolved around a female vicar arriving in a small English village, was hugely popular when it launched in 1994 and is now regarded as one of the UK's greatest sitcoms.
"So every time I see Richard Curtis now, I always say, 'You destroyed my career,'" Dame Joan laughs.
Nonetheless, her career in broadcasting has been illustrious enough to be recognised by the British Academy, placing the 86-year-old in fine company.
Kate Adie, Jon Snow and Joanna Lumley are among the broadcasters who have received the Fellowship in recent years.