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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 December, 2003, 00:04 GMT
Plowright leads showbiz honours
Joan Plowright
Plowright has been honoured for her services to acting
Actress Joan Plowright leads the showbusiness personalities in the New Year Honours list.

The widow of Sir Laurence Olivier becomes Dame Joan in recognition of her contribution to acting.

Director Stephen Daldry, the man behind Billy Elliot and The Hours, becomes a CBE, along with rock legends Eric Clapton and Ray Davies.

Actress Virgina McKenna, who became a reknowned wildlife campaigner after starring in 1964's Born Free, also becomes a CBE.
Virginia McKenna
McKenna said she was "deeply touched" to be honoured

McKenna said she was "deeply touched" to receive the award.

She said: "I have accepted it joyfully on behalf of the many colleagues with whom I work at the Born Free Foundation and all those people worldwide who strive with us to conserve wild animals and their environment, and to reduce animal suffering in all its forms."

Broadcaster Chris Tarrant, who steered ITV quiz Who Wants To Be A Millionaire to phenomenal popularity in the late 1990s, becomes an OBE.

He said he felt humbled to be awarded the honour for services to broadcasting and charity.

"I do what I do because I love it, but to be recognised for my work both professionally and privately is really humbling," he said.

STARS ON THE LIST
Nicholas Parsons

Entertainer Nicholas Parsons - fondly remembered for his time hosting 1970s gameshow Sale of the Century, as well as his long-running BBC Radio 4 show Just A Minute - also becomes an OBE.

There is also an OBE for entertainer Roy Hudd, a fixture of radio and TV since the 1960s.

Hudd also criticised the famous names - reportedly including Nigella Lawson, David Bowie and Lenny Henry - who had turned down honours.

"Well, someone had to accept one otherwise there would be shelves full of them left," he joked.

"I don't care whether it's the British Empire, the Croydon Empire, the Chelsea Palace or the Lewisham Hippodrome, I'm just delighted to be thought of."

Stephen Daldry
Daldry, creator of Billy Eliot, becomes a CBE
Actor Pete Postlethwaite - once described by Steven Spielberg as "the best actor in the world" - also becomes an OBE, marking a career which string of hit films including The Usual Suspects, Romeo And Juliet, In The Name Of The Father and Jurassic Park: The Lost World.

"It's a complete shock and I'm delighted to be honoured," he said.

Shakespearean actress Penelope Wilton, one of the stars of recent hit Calendar Girls, also becomes an OBE, as does music producer and songwriter Norman Newell.

Veteran film producer Guy Green - whose successes include 1960's The Angry Silence and 1975's One Is Not Enough - is made an OBE in the diplomatic list.

Roy Hudd
Radio favourite: Roy Hudd becomes an OBE
Broadcaster Keith Skues, described as the "the jewel in the crown of East Anglian radio", becomes an MBE for his services to local BBC radio in the area.

Fred Dibnah, a steeplejack who became a household name making TV films about steeples, chimneys and his other passion, steam engines, becomes an MBE.

Former Independent Television Commission chief executive Patricia Hodgson becomes a dame, while Anne Sloman, the former BBC chief political adviser, receives an OBE.


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