Penelope Keith made dame among showbiz New Year Honours

Penelope Keith as Margot in The Good Life (left)  and pictured in 2007 Penelope Keith as Margot Leadbetter in The Good Life (left) and pictured in 2007

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Actress Penelope Keith, star of BBC sitcoms The Good Life and To The Manor Born, says she is "thrilled and humbled" to have been made a dame in the New Year Honours list.

Michael Crawford, Lynda Bellingham, Katherine Jenkins, Ruth Jones and Nicholas Parsons are among other showbiz names receiving titles.

Keith said of her damehood: "It's a recognition for not only my 54 years being an actress but also for all the charities with which I'm associated and I think they'll be thrilled."

The 73-year-old actress, famous for playing women with impeccable cut-glass accents, was honoured for services to the arts and to charity.

Keith joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in her early 20s and played minor TV roles before becoming a familiar face as snobby Margot Leadbetter in The Good Life and the upper crust Lady Audrey fforbes-Hamilton in To The Manor Born.

She said Margot and Audrey would have been "chuffed" by the honour.

Knighthoods have gone to sculptor Antony Gormley, creator of the Angel of the North; and film and theatre producer Michael Codron.

Gormley, 63, who won the Turner Prize in 1994 and was made an OBE in 1997, said he was "happy" to accept the honour.

He said: "I think it's a good thing for sculpture and a recognition of the aspect of sculpture that is about a collective vision."

Antony Gormley Sculptor Antony Gormley said he accepted his knighthood as "a recognition" for the art form

Also made dames were actress Angela Lansbury and Gillian Lynne, whose choreography credits include Cats and The Phantom of The Opera.

Lansbury, most famous for her role as Jessica Fletcher in the television series Murder, She Wrote, told the BBC: "I'm joining a marvellous group of women I greatly admire like Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.

"It's a lovely thing to be given that nod of approval by your own country and I really cherish it."

Lansbury, 88, was born in East London and has enjoyed a long acting career in film, television and theatre. She returns to the West End in 2014 to play Madame Arcati in a new production of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit.

She admitted that when when she received a call from the British consulate about her honour, she thought it was about her work permit to work on the London stage.

Gillian Lynne, 87, whose dance career spans seven decades, said she was "deeply humbled" by her DBE. "Passion for my art has been the motivating factor throughout my career, but for Her Majesty the Queen and the Cabinet Office to deem what I have done to be worthy of this accolade is an honour."

Angela Lansbury and Gillian Flynn Actress Angela Lansbury (left) and dancer and choreographer Gillian Lynne (right) were both made dames

Her long-time collaborator Lord Lloyd Webber said: "I am thrilled that the grand lady of British musical theatre has got the recognition she deserves. Gillie was already a legend when I was at school! Without Gillie my Cats would never have seen the stage."

Composer and conductor Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who is Master of the Queen's Music, has become a companion of honour.

Among those who received CBEs were actor Michael Crawford, who played Frank Spencer in 1970s sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em; and TV and radio personality Nicholas Parsons, both for charitable work.

Parsons, best known for presenting TV quiz Sale Of The Century and for his role as host of Radio 4's Just A Minute, said he was "flattered and delighted".

Michael Crawford and Nicholas Parsons Michael Crawford (left) and Nicholas Parsons (right) were made CBEs

He added: "I think honours are a wonderful thing to receive if you have worked hard and that is recognised. I don't understand these people who are pompous and say they don't want it."

Parsons, 90, received an OBE for services to drama and broadcasting a decade ago.

CBEs have also gone to dancer Carlos Acosta, for services to ballet; former Royal Court artistic director Dominic Cooke, for services to drama; Peter Bennett-Jones, for services to the entertainment industry and to charity, particularly through Comic Relief; and The Apprentice's Karren Brady, for services to entrepreneurship and to women in business.

Actress and TV presenter Lynda Bellingham said that being appointed an OBE for her charity work was "a fantastic way to move forward" following a "tough year".

The 65-year-old Loose Women panellist, who became familiar to millions for her long-running role in the Oxo TV adverts, announced earlier this year that she had been diagnosed with cancer.

Lynda Bellingham and Katherine Jenkins were among those to be made OBEs Lynda Bellingham and Katherine Jenkins were among those to be appointed OBEs

"I am absolutely delighted and proud to receive this OBE," she said. "It has been a long and tough year but this award is just a fantastic way to move forward. I feel honoured and inspired and very grateful."

Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins said she was "incredibly humbled" by her OBE for her contribution to music and services to charity. The Neath-born mezzo-soprano has released 10 albums since making her recording debut in 2004, and has twice won the best album prize at the Classic Brits.

Jenkins, 33, said: "To accept such an award after only a decade of service to music and charity, comes as a wonderful surprise. I share this award with the charitable bodies I am so privileged to work with, especially to those brave service men and women who risk so much for us all on a daily basis."

Sandi Toksvig, who presents BBC Radio 4's The News Quiz, said she was "honoured" to be recognised with an OBE for her services to broadcasting. "Broadcasting is a team effort and I would like to pay tribute to all the writers, production and technical staff I've worked with over the years," she added.

The Honours System

Commonly awarded ranks:

  • Knight or Dame
  • CBE - Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • OBE - Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • MBE - Member of the Order of the British Empire
  • BEM - British Empire Medal

OBEs also went to best-selling author and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz for services to literature; BBC cameraman Darren Conway for services to British broadcast journalism; Geraint Talfan Davies, for services to culture, broadcasting and charity; and Vanessa Whitburn, former editor of BBC Radio 4's The Archers, for services to radio drama. Whitburn retired earlier this year after 22 years at the helm.

Chris Corbould, a special effects supervisor who has worked on many James Bond films and won an Oscar for his work on Inception, received an OBE for services to film.

The Order of Merit - which is restricted to 24 living individuals - has gone to orchestra conductor Sir Simon Rattle. Previous recipients include Florence Nightingale and Sir Winston Churchill.

Among those receiving MBEs were Gavin And Stacey co-writer Ruth Jones, Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud and DJ Pete Tong.

Jones described her MBE for services to entertainment as "proper tidy" and a "massive compliment". She co-created hit show Gavin and Stacey with James Corden and the pair appeared as characters Nessa and Smithy.

An MBE also went to artist Derek Clarke, the oldest current member of the Royal Scottish Academy of Arts, whose career has spanned more than 70 years and who turns 101 on 31 December.

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