Page last updated at 23:05 GMT, Friday, 12 June 2009 00:05 UK

Veteran horror actor Lee knighted

Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee has had a varied career in the world of film

Actor Christopher Lee, best known for playing Count Dracula and starring in Lord Of The Rings, has been knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

The 87-year-old was included on the list alongside former poet laureate Andrew Motion, who is also knighted.

Actors Jonathan Pryce and Lindsay Duncan become CBEs, along with fashion designer Jeff Banks and Delia Smith.

Royle Family actress Sue Johnston, actor Alan Cumming and Fat Friends writer Kay Mellor become OBEs.

I feel very touched and gratified because these things are quite seldom given to poets, compared to other sections of the arts community
Poet Andrew Motion

London-born Lee, who made his name in the Hammer Horror movies in the 1950s, is one of the most prolific actors of all time, appearing in more than 250 film and TV productions.

Other notable roles include as Lord Summerisle in 1973's The Wicker Man and as Francisco Scaramanga in 1974 Bond movie The Man With The Golden Gun.

A representative for Lee - who was previously appointed CBE - said he was unavailable for comment because he was filming in New Mexico.

'Fashion coup'

Motion, 56, who stepped down as laureate last month, said: "I feel very touched and gratified because these things are quite seldom given to poets, compared to other sections of the arts community."

It's good for the fashion industry, which does not get many awards like this. It's really lovely that we should get recognised
Jeff Banks

Banks, meanwhile, said he thought his turn would "never come".

The former Clothes Show presenter, 66, said: "I really thought I'd done something wrong because I've never got an award.

"I thought I'd been naughty in a past life and that my turn would never come.

"It's good for the fashion industry, which does not get many awards like this. It's really lovely that we should get recognised."

TV cook Delia Smith said she thought her CBE was in recognition of "writing recipes for 40 years".

Sue Johnston
I am only sorry that my parents are not here as they would have been so proud
Actress Sue Johnston

"It's difficult for me because what I do - I write recipes and demonstrate them on TV - feels just like regular, everyday work.

"It doesn't feel like it deserves any special honour."

Former Brookside actress Johnston, best known for playing Barbara Royle, said she was "delighted and honoured" at becoming OBE.

"I am only sorry that my parents are not here as they would have been so proud," she added.

Actress Anna Wing, 94, who played Lou Beale in BBC soap EastEnders, said becoming MBE was "the icing on the cake".

"As a child I used to cling to the railings of Buckingham Palace never thinking that one day I would be decorated by the Queen."

Graham Vick, artistic director of the Birmingham Opera Company, becomes CBE, while writers Peter Dickinson and Elaine Morgan are appointed OBE.

Actor James Bolam, 70, best known for 1960s TV hit The Likely Lads, is appointed MBE, as is singer Joe Brown, 68, who received the outstanding contribution to music Mojo award on Thursday.



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