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Idris Elba and Imelda Staunton among New Year's arts and entertainments honours

Idris Elba as Luther

Story by Jack Foley

IDRIS Elba and Imelda Staunton are among the leading entertainment and arts figures to be recognised in the New Year Honours.

Luther star Elba receives an OBE, while Staunton, whose recent successes include her award-winning turn in the West End musical Gypsy, receives a CBE for services to drama. They are joined on the list by fellow artists such as Barbara Windsor, who is to be made a dame, Spooks and Selma star David Oyelowo, who gets an OBE, and James Nesbitt, who also gets an OBE.

Elba, 43, first shot to prominence in HBO’s The Wire before progressing to household name with his lead role in detective drama Luther. He has also cracked the big screen with a critically acclaimed performance as Nelson Mandela in the biopic Long Walk to Freedom and is a regular in Marvel’s Thor films.

Raised in Hackney by his Sierra Leonean father and Ghanaian mother, the actor described his OBE as “beyond special, as it comes from Queen and country”.

“I couldn’t be more proud for receiving this right now,” he added.

Staunton is a three-time Olivier award winner who also received a BAFTA for her role in Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake, a role for which she was also nominated for an Oscar.

The 59-year-old, who was made an OBE in 2006 and is married to Downton Abbey actor Jim Carter, is also known for her role as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films.

Another of the high profile recipients on this year’s honours list is veteran performer Barbara Windsor. Best known for her roles in EastEnders and the Carry On films, the actress said she was “thrilled” to be made a dame for services to charity and entertainment.

The 78-year-old, who was made an MBE in 2000, made her stage debut at 13 and appeared in nine Carry On films between 1964 and 1974. In later years, she became known to millions as the formidable Peggy Mitchell, landlady of EastEnders pub The Queen Vic.

In addition to her roles on stage and screen, Windsor has supported and raised funds for such charities as Help the Aged, Variety, the Royal British Legion and the Amy Winehouse Foundation.

Another actress to receive a damehood for services to drama is Sian Phillips. Perhaps best known for playing Livia in the BBC’s landmark adaptation of Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, for which the Welsh actress won a BAFTA in 1976, she has enjoyed a rich and varied career since making her first radio appearance at the age of 11.

Phillips, who was made a CBE in 2000, was married to actor Peter O’Toole for 20 years.

She was recently heard on BBC Radio 4 alongside cast members of The Archers in a production of Calendar Girls, a play in which she first appeared in 2008.

The 82-year-old said her damehood was “totally unexpected… and something I could never have imagined when I decided to be an actress at the age of six”.

Stage choreographer Matthew Bourne is to be knighted for services to dance.

Best known for his modern takes on such ballet classics as Swan Lake, which he boldly staged with a company of male dancers as the swans, the Hackney-born choreographer, has also enjoyed success and acclaim with his productions of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Edward Scissorhands.

He was previously made an OBE in 2001.

Cold Feet actor James Nesbitt gets an OBE for services to drama and “the community of Northern Ireland”.

Born in County Antrim in 1965, Nesbitt made his name playing Adam Williams in ITV’s popular romantic drama Cold Feet and has since been seen in TV dramas such as Murphy’s Law and The Missing. On the big screen, he has appeared as a dwarf in Peter Jackson’s recent Hobbit trilogy.

The 50-year-old became chancellor of Ulster University in 2010 and is a patron of Wave, a charity that supports people bereaved or injured by the years of violence in Northern Ireland.

He commented: “I’ve been very blessed with my work and very blessed to come from Northern Ireland, and for those two things to be on the citation was really rather gratifying.”

And David Oyelowo is also made an OBE. He first shot to prominence in the BBC’s spy drama Spooks and on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company before heading to Hollywood to play Martin Luther King Jr. in the Oscar-winning Selma.

He has also appeared alongside Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher and has appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.

At the age of 18, Oyelowo received a grant from the Prince’s Trust – the charity Prince Charles established to help disadvantaged young people – that enabled him to join a youth theatre production.

“To be honoured by the Queen in this way having been aided by her son’s charity feels like a beautiful full-circle moment,” said the actor, now 39.

Screenwriter and playwright Peter Morgan, whose credits include The Queen, Rush and Frost/Nixon, is honoured with a CBE.

The two-time Oscar nominee, 52, said he was “surprised, delighted [and] a little embarrassed” to be recognised.

The music world is represented in the New Year’s honours list by Damon Albarn and Goldie, who receive an OBE and an MBE respectively.

The former shot to fame with Blur in the early 1990s but has enjoyed success since as both a solo artist and a member of cartoon collective Gorillaz.

He has also helped create works for the stage, most recently Wonder.land – a modern reworking of Alice in Wonderland that had its premiere this year at the Manchester International Festival.

The latter is a former graffiti artist whose pioneering role in the field of jungle and drum and bass saw him named as a “New Elizabethan” by Radio 4 in 2012.

Goldie – real name Clifford Joseph Price – was also recognised for his charity work.

Also knighted is Colin Callender, a former president of HBO Films who is recognised for “promoting British film, theatre and television in international markets”.

While Tamara Rojo, the Montreal-born Spanish dancer who became the artistic director of English National Ballet (ENB) in 2013, is to be made a dame.

Sherlock executive producer Beryl Vertue is to receive a CBE for services to television drama.