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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 December, 2004, 13:57 GMT
Actor Hurt collects palace honour
John Hurt
John Hurt received his medal from the Queen
Actor John Hurt was made a CBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, saying it was a "very high compliment".

The Elephant Man and Alien star, 64, got the honour for services to drama.

"The Queen insinuated that it was an interesting profession and that I'd been at it for some time. She said how fascinating it was," he revealed.

Hurt shot to fame in 1970s TV show The Naked Civil Servant, which he said was his favourite role. He said: "That did it for me. It was a fantastic script."

On collecting his award, he said: "I've never done it before. It's a one-off. I'm very grateful and delighted."

'Nothing to prove'

Angela Rippon
Angela Rippon was one of the first female news presenters
But he said he was not worried before his palace date. "Oh, there's nothing to be nervous about," he said.

"I get nervous on a first night but you haven't got anything to prove here."

After The Naked Civil Servant, in which Hurt played flamboyant author Quentin Crisp, he went on to get Oscar nominations for Midnight Express and The Elephant Man.

He was nominated for a Bafta for 1979's science fiction classic Alien, in which a creature bursts out of his chest.

Rippon's OBE

More recently, he has appeared in Rob Roy, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Hellboy and The Alan Clark Diaries.

Former BBC newsreader Angela Rippon picked up an OBE on Thursday.

"The Queen asked me if it was true I was the first female newsreader to make a big impact," she said.

"We talked about the fact that there are so many women doing it now. I think she was fascinated that now we take women newsreaders for granted."

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