Entertainment & Arts

Coronation Street veterans collect MBEs from the Queen

Eileen Derbyshire and Barbara Knox
Image caption Derbyshire and Knox have notched up nearly 100 years of service on the soap between them

Coronation Street actresses Barbara Knox and Eileen Derbyshire have collected their MBEs from the Queen.

Speaking after the ceremony, Knox said: "It's very overwhelming because it's something I've done all my life and suddenly I've got an honour."

Asked if the Queen was a fan of the soap, Knox said she was led to believe she did watch it when she had time.

Between them, Knox, 77, and Derbyshire, 79, have notched up nearly 100 years of service on the show.

"I suppose we do give a service, so many millions love the programme, so there you are - it's still very surprising," Knox, who plays Rita Sullivan, added.

Both actresses praised fellow cast members and the work of those behind the scenes for making the long-running series a success.

"We have marvellous storylines, very strong ones, and we have hit a nerve with the nation for almost 50 years and that's pretty special for a programme to do that," Knox said.

Derbyshire added the decision to take on the role of Emily Bishop, which was only supposed to last a week, was the best career move of her life.

Her character is now the second longest-running figure in the soap after Ken Barlow - played by Bill Roache.

Image caption Kevin Spacey was awarded an honorary CBE for his services to drama

Actress Anne Reid, who also starred in Coronation Street as Barlow's first wife Valerie, was awarded an MBE during the ceremony.

Meanwhile, Prince Charles presented Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey with an honorary CBE for his services to drama at a private ceremony in Clarence House.

Honorary awards are made to foreign nationals in recognition of exceptional service to the UK.

The American Beauty star has been artistic director of London's Old Vic theatre since 2003 and has attracted star names to appear at the venue during his seven-year tenure.

The Oscar-winner has himself regularly appeared in productions.

"I was hugely, hugely delighted that Prince Charles has awarded me the CBE, which the Queen has so generously given for my services to theatre," Spacey said.

"I've dedicated myself to the revival of this brilliant, wonderful theatre and for all the belief that I have that arts and culture are a hugely important part of our lives," he added.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites