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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 09:26 GMT 10:26 UK
Who's missing from birthday honours list?
Prime Suspect actress Helen Mirren will become a dame this year, recognised alongside a Glaswegian tea lady in the Queen's birthday honours list.

Celebrities were honoured alongside ordinary people this year as half the 509 nominations were thrown open to the public for the first time.

Actress Kristen Scott Thomas and TV chef Jamie Oliver are both awarded MBEs alongside a Scottish minister and his wife who have organised appeals to clothe and feed thousands of asylum seekers on a Glasgow housing estate.

Who would you have liked to see honoured, famous or otherwise? Who do you think should have been missed off the list?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

I agree with many of the comments posted. The honours system seem to be a set of gongs for the boys (and girls). Cronies of the party in power, the only person worthy of reward is he that is selected by his peers, i.e. the GREAT British public. Those who enrich the life of people around them. Not some faceless (and probably spineless)political lackey.
Jon, UK

Mick O'Toole, an old 80 year old man, that has raise thousand of pounds for charities, and still going. Week in week out either he has got tickets to sell or leaflets to handout, he never gives up, I think he is remarkable for his age, and I wish I knew what to do so this wonderful man get recognition for all the wonderful things he does
Marita Deeley, England

We are still hundreds of years from a classless society
Doug, UK
The honours list, like the Monarchy are archaic and only add fuel to the fact that we are still hundreds of years from a classless society.
Doug, UK

Dallaglio and Wilkinson have both been honoured previously, but I agree that instead of adding more hype to the Beckhams and jumping on the 'aren't we modern and with it' band wagon other sportsmen and women are more deserving, especially Rugby Union as England are doing so well - which is more than can be said for the England football team.
Pauline Yates, England

The comments criticising the award to David Beckham are as amusing as all the pompous remarks in the 60s after the Beatles were given MBEs. People seem aware of Beckham as a footballer and fashion icon, but nobody has commented on him as a role model. He is close to his family, loves his wife, dotes on his children, and does not spend his evenings getting drunk or "dating" a variety of women. Granted, people may find Beckham's own lifestyle annoying, but in interviews he always comes across as a pleasant, even shy, young man.
Colin, England

Rageh Omaar for delivering an iota of truth to the public during the media sham that was Gulf War II.
Tim, UK

Margaret Best. Head of nursing, north-east Recently retired from job. Stood up to hundreds of faceless NHS accountants, and other worthless medically unqualified people who should in my view be sacked, to achieve no end of solutions that allowed us to do our job.
A nurse, UK

As a primary school head teacher (not interested in football) I welcome the recognition of David Beckham. He is a fantastic role model on and off the pitch. Young people could do a lot worse than aspire to his qualities.
Stephen Gillham, England

Paul Weller - probably the best British songwriter since Paul McCartney
Barry, London
Paul Weller - probably the best British singer/songwriter since Paul McCartney. Been going nearly 30 years. Look at all the good work he did in the 1980s - CND, miners strike other good causes. Got to be worth an OBE, if not a knighthood.
Barry, London, England

Barry, London - Knighthoods should go to the crews of Trident submarines and the poor civil servants who had to sort out the mess of the mine closures. They do a dirty job for no thanks, and they, not celebrities, are the ones who keep this country going.
Russ, UK

How about the one and only original Phantom - Michael Crawford. Years of Some Mothers Do Have'Em, those magical years in Phantom and still nothing!!! Bring on SIR Michael Crawford and that awesome voice!! Remove it from the silly little Beckham boy and give it to someone who really gives pleasure to people!
David and Margaret, New Zealand

I can't for the life of me understand why Ken Dodd, a great comedian and charity worker has not been knighted. As an ex-pat Liverpudlian I would like to see his contribution to the UK's life recognised instead of all of these institution people.
Craig Earley, Los Angeles, USA

I think it is about time David Dimbleby was awarded something. He has done so much in his career, in the 60s he gave the first real insight into the royal household in a documentary and has achieved plenty to be awarded with something surely?
D Marsden, Durham, UK

Honour those who truly give of themselves to other people
Dale, New Zealand
Why on earth "honour" people for doing the jobs they are paid for? If a honours system must be retained at all in this day and age - and I severely doubt it - then honour those who truly give of themselves to other people, or to better society, for no financial reward and no fame, ego-stroking or status boost.
Dale, New Zealand

Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett & David Jason shine in the entertainment world. They should have been in the Queen's birthday honour list.
Mary & Eric Boswell, United Kingdom

I am disappointed not to see community health professionals(doctors& nurses) on the honours list, who work tirelessly and selflessly, who are helping huge number of public in raising health awareness, improving their quality of life, raising their standards of living and educating them to learn self-help techniques. I know of one of such community doctor (Dr Abidi in Manchester) who has served the Asian community for the last 10 years (1993-2003) with his bilingual healthcare articles, communication skills, translation skills, bilingual books, advice and information helplines, health awareness-raising seminars and interactive websites. Is it fair to ignore such star people?
Humera Shah, UK

All the hype is around David Beckham, but I must ask, where are members of the rugby world, like Martin Johnson, Lawrence Dallaglio, Neil Jenkins etc. for their contributions to rugby?
Richard Heywood, Leighton Buzzard, UK

Nowadays it seems that anyone can get an award/honor from the Queen
Nicholas Hicks, UK
Nowadays it seems that anyone can get an award/honor from the Queen. Unfortunately, as they seem to be given out willy nilly they have in my opinion lost what ever meaning they once had. Giving Knighthoods to drunks and drug users really makes a mockery of the whole concept of being honoured by the Monarch.
Nicholas Hicks, UK

How about knighthoods for the entire quartet that is the greatest band the world has ever seen? Arise Sir Freddie, Sir Brian, Sir Roger, Sir John. Queen meeting the Queen, that really would be well deserved!
Dameon Brown, UK

The public now being able to nominate for the honours is very evident in the results however. Roger Moore, Sting and Errol Brown all deserve recognition based on the continued contributions to their respective fields. Newer celebrity names (Jamie Oliver, David Beckham) are at relatively early stages in their careers and have been 'hyped' by the media. Consequently they are popular choices with the tabloid reading public, hence their positioning in this years list.
Richard Doering, Surrey, United Kingdom

Miss out David Beckham who earns a fortune doing a job, which is really all football is and Jamie Oliver - let's have more of the people who matter i.e. the people who do good works for no monetary reward.
Shirley Marshall, England

The test of time should be the greatest criterion
Richard Avery, Spain
The whole system is unfair. Those who least deserve an award, i.e.: fashionable names and headline grabbing deeds stand a hugely greater chance than the more deserving long term campaigners like the Two Ronnies or David Jason. Of course the real deservers, those thousands who selflessly give up all or part of their lives for others are subjected to a humiliating lottery with only one chance to win. It is not "for being famous" as our American friend says but for services to a good cause and hopefully for action above and beyond duty (excuse the cliche) A millionaire TV cook who manages to get employment for 15 youngsters should be weighed against a rehabilitation officer in a mental illness hospital who has found work for hundreds of clients. The test of time should be the greatest criterion.
Richard Avery, Spain

It's not just the 'celebrities' that are over crowding this system - what about the Civil servants? It seems all you have to do is stay in a public sector job with non-contributory pension for 20+ years and your considered 'worthy' of an honour. What about the people who try to progress a satisfying and worthwhile career in less bureaucratic and financially rewarding posts?
Neil, England

JK Rowling - a role model for those seeking inspiration as to the benefits of determination and generosity.
Chris, UK

Without a doubt, Des O'Connor. He is still performing after 40+ years, has the longest-running TV show, still does live shows around the country, and now has a lunch-time favourite in "Des and Mel". He was the only performer to host over 1,000 Palladium Shows, and has countless Royal Variety Shows under his belt. Des is timeless and deserves some credit for his hard work, if not for all that hassling from the late Eric Morecambe!
Brenda Brown, U.S.A. (U.K. Citizen)

Why 'Sir' Ben Gill for heaven's sake? Wasn't it the dinosaurs at the NFU who were responsible for foot-dragging and resistance that cost the country unnecessary extra billions over the foot and mouth episode?
Bob Dee, UK

As well as giving out the honours list I think the Queen should strip Fergie of his knighthood for selling Beckham!
Pete, UK

Not enough comedians get recognised until just before they die
Steve Thompson, London, England
All of the surviving members of Monty Python, Bob Monkhouse, David Seaman, Ronnie Barker. Basically, not enough comedians get recognised until just before they die (Spike Milligan for example, too late for Graham Chapman and Ronnie and Bob aren't exactly young).
Steve Thompson, London, England

This is just another way in which the Queen promotes the class system - by giving people meaningless titles that they can stick in front of their names. As a North American, I have always associated knights, kings, queens, princesses, princes, dames etc as something that happens in fairy tales - and these fairy tales are representative of the middle ages... but not the 21st century! If these people need to validate their existence by appending a Sir in front of it, go for it. It's too bad the Queen doesn't throw in a psychologist to deal with their apparently low self-esteem.
Shauna, Canada

Would someone explain to me what David Beckham has done to deserve recognition? He may be a good footballer, but his "showbiz" lifestyle and US publicity tour destroy his credibility as a serious athlete.
Alistair, UK

I don't have a clue who is David Beckham?
Deb, USA
I was thrilled to see that Jamie Oliver was recognised. I adore him! Alistair mentions that David Beckham's US publicity tour ruined him to be considered a serious athlete. But I live in the US and must have missed the tour for I don't have a clue who is David Beckham.
Deb, USA

Deb's comment is more of a comment on the insularity of America than on the 'fame' of David Beckham. If these awards are good enough for actors and actresses, many of whom only come back to the UK to pick up a pay cheque, then it is good enough for someone who on several occasions dragged the England football team off the floor and won England a place in the World Cup finals. The spirit he showed in some of those matches was not only an example to those around him but to all young people.
Kevin, UK

Professor Colin Pillinger deserves much praise for heading the team effort in putting the Beagle 2 project on the journey to Mars. Perhaps the Queen could put some money in the kitty and support a project in the real world..?
Gary Martin, UK

Considering his terrific achievements as a football manager, it's a travesty that Brian Clough continues to be overlooked.
Martin Kennard, Hong Kong

My mother was honoured which was nice - no-one else is better than her! And a chance for me to go to the palace. I think the honour might be the death of David Beckham's career.
Simon, Great Britain

What has David Beckham done to deserve an OBE? Apart from not winning us two World Cups and keeping hairdressers in business? Popular he may be but this award can only devalue the honours system.
Simon Cresswell, UK

Noddy Holder should be given the full set awards and also handed the keys to Buck Palace where he should be crowned the new King of England (just prior to Christmas, obviously).
Lazlo Woodbine, UK

Boy George for services to British music.
Carolyn, Canary Islands

Johnny Lydon, just for the look on Her Majesty's face.
Gary Loader, US (UK ex pat)

Sir Ronnie Barker and Sir Ronnie Corbett... say no more!
Thomas, UK

Everyone bar Tinky Winky is on the list
P Carney, UK
By the looks of it, everyone bar Tinky Winky is on the list; was this an honours list or a spoof of the Private Eye Bore of the Year awards? With each honours list, Downing Street and the Palace make them more trivial and pointless. Is honours via OK! magazine really much of an improvement? Scrap this ridiculous anachronism and the toadying up to these ridiculous, vain celebs in the process. The only honours that should remain are military honours and those for the brave members of our civilian emergency services who risk their lives in our protection.
P Carney, UK

Why do you have to mention the non-celebrities as "ordinary people" as if somehow they are lesser individuals? All these people have been rewarded for what they have done and famous or not, it makes no difference and they are no less deserving of the award. Please treat all award winners with the equal merit they deserve!
Craig Cockburn, Scotland

I think Paul Hewson aka Bono from the band U2 should be honoured. Bono has done a lot of work for the Drop the Debt campaign and promoted Aids awareness throughout the poorest countries of the world. I can only hope he gets honoured one day.
Martin Treadgold, UK

Orchestral conductor Vernon Handley is overlooked for a knighthood every year. When is this great champion of British music going to be recognised?
Colin Gardner, USA

Can't believe June Whitfield isn't a dame by now
Mike Gilfillan, England and USA
Totally agree about Vernon Handley. Can't believe that June Whitfield isn't a dame by now. Great to see Alan Speading from Beverly Minster honoured, one of our nations great musicians from the old school where things get done properly.
Mike Gilfillan, England and USA

Personally I think Maureen Lipman deserves to be a dame, she does so much work in so many different fields, I believe this should be better recognised.
Alex, UK

I think Tim Henman should get knighted for being the typical English upper class sportsman - ie never wins a thing.
Sam, UK

Any of the surviving members of Led Zeppelin - Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones.
Davina Ramshaw, UK

Francis Dunnery, possibly the greatest British musician, songwriter guitarist of the last 100 years, largely unknown and unrecognised.
Mark, Brit in the USA

Julie Christie, she deserved it years ago...
Tony, USA

Whispering Bob From the Old Grey Whistle test. Mainly because it was on that show I first got to see Francis Dunnery, one of Great Britain's lesser known true musical assets.
Danny Eccleston, Brit in California

At this rate the winner of Big Brother will be on the list next year
Rob Pilch, UK
I think that the whole system is thrown into disrepute when celebrities who happen to be in 'fashion' seem to get rewarded. Sure, Beckham and Oliver are OK blokes but at this rate the winner of Big Brother will be on the list next year.
Rob Pilch, UK

I think it's about time the Queen got 'radical' and honoured people like Bernard Manning and Michael Eavis when you think of all the selfless work they've done for good causes.
Ash, New Zealand

Really, this is such an archaic practice. You reward the famous for simply being famous - it's not enough that they have made fortunes already. And those people who really deserve recognition, such as the tea lady, receive lesser honours. Even though some individuals perform charity work most entertainers are given awards for their "contribution to entertainment". Have they not been rewarded enough? Society gets what society deserves - no wonder you don't have enough doctors and nurses!
David Hill, USA

Bob Hoskins!
Margi, USA

Simon Preston, for his contributions to British classical music.
William, UK

Michael Eavis! For raising 1m each year for charity and allowing 150,000 people to party.
Digsy, UK

David Beckham OBE? I don't think so. What about the hundreds of servicemen and women who devote their careers to projects such as UNPROFOR? My partner will have served 24 years, serving in the first Gulf conflict, Northern Ireland and the Falklands. His entire pension can be earned by Beckham in a week.
J Parsons, UK

David Jason should be given a knighthood. While film and theatre actors are often given knighthoods, TV actors are often left out. Open all hours, Fools and horses, Darling buds of may, Jack Frost, Porterhouse blues, the list goes on.
Ray, UK

Why not Sir Ken Dodd? Have you ever tried to get tickets for his shows - he's obviously making thousands laugh. The Beckham thing is a joke... Sir George Best is more like it.
Steve Cook, England




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