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New Year Honours: Hugh Laurie and Michael Morpurgo among recipients

House, final episode

Story by Jack Foley

ACTOR Hugh Laurie and War Horse creator Michael Morpurgo were among the names from the world of entertainment, publishing and literature to have been singled out for recognition in the New Year Honours List.

Laurie was made a CBE for services to drama. The recognition comes on top of the OBE he received from the Queen in 2007.

The comedian turned actor first achieved fame via his comic partnership with Stephen Fry, before going on to become one of the UK’s most successful thespian exports following roles in hit US TV shows House and Veep as well as films such as Stuart Little, Street Kings and Tomorrowland.

Most recently, he starred in hit BBC TV mini-series The Night Manager and will soon be seen back on the big screen in Holmes and Watson alongside Will Ferrell and John C Reilly.

Author Morpurgo is to be knighted for services to literature and charity.

The prolific 74-year-old has penned some 130 books, including War Horse (arguably, his most famous work), Private Peaceful, Coming Home and Only Remembered.

Other famous names to feature in the New Year’s Honours list include singer Barry Gibb, who received a knighthood for services to music and charity.

Best known as one third of the Bee Gees, the 71-year-old is also an accomplished solo performer. He said he was “deeply honoured, humbled and very proud”.

Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr also has a knighthood to match the one Sir Paul McCartney received in 1997.

Born Richard Starkey in 1940, the Liverpool native – honoured for his services to music – played drums for the Fab Four before going solo. He has previously received an MBE.

Two further names from the world of music were singer Marc Almond and grime artist Wiley.

Almond received an OBE for services to art and culture. Now 60, he started out as one half of new wave duo Soft Cell before striking out as a solo performer.

A native of Southport, Lancashire, Almond is arguably best known for his startling cover versions of Tainted Love and a duet with Gene Pitney, Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart.

London-born DJ and producer Wiley, aka “Godfather of Grime”, received an MBE for services to music. The 38-year-old’s hits include the UK chart-topper Heatwave and his most recent album, Godfather.

Royal Ballet principal turned Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell is to become a dame for her services to dance.

The 48-year-old said she was “truly humbled” by the honour, which she would accept “on behalf of all the dance organisations that I am so fortunate to be part of”.

Miss Marple actress Julia McKenzie received a CBE for services to drama. As well as playing the legendary crime sleuth, McKenzie is a two-time Olivier winner, for Guys and Dolls and the 1993 revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Back on television, she is also known for her BAFTA Award nominated role as Hester Fields in the sitcom Fresh Fields (1984–86) and its sequel French Fields (1989–91). And the 76-year-old also memorably doubled for The Queen alongside James Bond actor Daniel Craig in a short film shown during the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics.

Also from the small screen is Eamonn Holmes, one of the best-loved fixtures of UK daytime television. He was made an OBE for services to broadcasting.

Veteran Scottish actor James Cosmo was made an MBE. The 70-year-old earned himself a new generation of fans this year by appearing on Celebrity Big Brother but has an impressive string of credits thanks to films such as Trainspotting, Braveheart and this year’s box office smash Wonder Woman.

Theatre director John Tiffany received an OBE for services to drama to go with the Olivier he received this year for Harry Potter & The Cursed Child.

The two-part production, which has become a West End hit, is the latest success for a man whose previous hits include the stage musical Once and the military drama Black Watch.

A few months on from leaving her post as editor-in-chief of UK Vogue, Alexandra Shulman received a CBE for services to fashion journalism.

The 60-year-old, who was made an OBE in 2004, announced she was quitting in January after more than 25 years in charge in order “to experience a different life”.

Finally, best-selling novelist Jilly Cooper is made a CBE for services to literature and charity, 13 years after she received an OBE.

The 80-year-old started her career as a journalist but became a household name when her racy romance novels sold millions in the 1980s. Mount!, the 10th book in her Rutshire Chronicles series, came out in 2016.