New Year Honours for Kristin Scott Thomas, John Hurt, James Corden and Sheridan Smith

Other screen stars to receive honours include Esther Rantzen, Meera Syal and Joan Collins

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Veteran actor John Hurt and film actress Kristin Scott Thomas are among the entertainment stars recognised in the annual New Year’s Honours list.  

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Hurt, best known for iconic films The Elephant Man and Alien and who recently played the War Doctor in Doctor Who, was knighted for services to drama; while Scott Thomas, who is set to inherit Dame Helen Mirren’s role as the Queen in the hit play The Audience, has been made a Dame. 

Scott Thomas said of her new title: “I am thrilled, astonished and worried that I might suddenly wake up”. The Briton, who lives in France, became an OBE in 2003 in recognition of a career which has included roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral and The English Patient.

Actress Joan Collins was made an OBE for her contribution to the arts in 1997, and is recognised this time for services to charity. She said she was “thrilled and truly grateful”.

Gavin and Stacey star Sheridan Smith – who most recently played Cilla Black in a hit ITV biopic – has been awarded an OBE for services to drama. She said of her award, “I’m overwhelmed and hope to continue doing the work that I love for many years to come.”

Smith’s former Gavin and Stacey co-star James Corden, is also recognised, receiving an OBE for his acting work which includes co-writing and starring in the BBC comedy series The Wrong Mans and winning a Tony award for his lead role in the comedy One Man, Two Guvnors after previously playing the part in London’s West End.

Former television presenter and founder of ChildLine Esther Rantzen has been made a dame in the New Year’s Honours list. Rantzen set up the counselling charity almost 30 years ago to give young people confidential advice about abuse and bullying.

Comedy actress Meera Syal, famous for roles on television in Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No.42, becomes a CBE for services to drama and literature, and Emily Watson, lauded for her challenging film roles, is awarded an OBE for services to drama. 

Other notable figures to receive honours this year include Oscar-nominated screenwriter William Nicholson, whose work includes Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Les Miserables and Gladiator; poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who became a CBE; and athlete Steve Cram, a former 1500m world champion, who was made CBE in recognition of his recent work as chair of the English Institute of Sport.

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Artist Paul Cummins and theatre designer Tom Piper became MBEs in recognition of the World War One ceramic poppy display at the Tower of London which attracted five million visitors.