Bee Gees star Barry Gibb paid moving tribute to his brothers yesterday as he was awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours.
The last surviving member of the chart-topping band was named alongside former Beatle Ringo Starr and Strictly Come Dancing Judge Darcey Bussell, who will become Dame Darcey.
They were among a host of celebrities, politicians, entrepreneurs and community volunteers recognised for their work following years of rows about ‘cronyism’ which risked tarnishing the entire honours system.
Barry Gibb dedicated his knighthood to his late brothers as the last remaining living member of the Bee Gees
Barry Gibb paid moving tribute to his Bee Gees brothers yesterday as he was awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours
Prime Minister Theresa May ordered an overhaul, calling for greater emphasis on those who had helped their community or boosted Britain’s reputation at home and abroad.
Gibb dedicated his knighthood to his younger brothers and former bandmates Robin and Maurice. The trio – who wrote and performed most of the classic soundtrack for 1977’s Saturday Night Fever – all received CBEs in 2002 but Maurice died a year later and Robin died in 2012.
The singer, far right, paid tribute to bandmates and brothers Robin, left, and Maurice, middle
The group achieved worldwide record sales of more than 200million during their career and had five No1 hits in the UK.
Gibb, 71, said: ‘I am deeply honoured, humbled, and very proud. This is a moment in life to be treasured and never forgotten.
Ringo Starr was also honoured with a knighthood despite once being jokingly described as ‘not even the best drummer in the Beatles’
‘I want to acknowledge how responsible my brothers are for this honour. It is as much theirs as it is mine. The magic, the glow, and the rush will last me the rest of my life.’
Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr had been tipped for a knighthood several times, including by his former bandmate Sir Paul McCartney, who said in 2011 that it was ‘about time’.
The 77-year-old acknowledged his knighthood with a short message, signed off with his trademark phrase ‘Peace and love’. He said: ‘It’s great! It’s an honour and a pleasure to be considered and acknowledged for my music and my charity work, both of which I love.’
Ringo was once jokingly described as ‘not even the best drummer in the Beatles’. The quip is often attributed to John Lennon but never verified. In 2011, Rolling Stone readers named him the fifth-greatest drummer of all time.
Starr maintained a high public profile through his narration over 1984–86 of the popular TV children’s series Thomas & Friends, based on the Thomas the Tank Engine series of books.
Actor Hugh Laurie, 58, renowned for his Fry and Laurie shows, Blackadder, House and The Night Manager, former British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman and chef and television presenter Rick Stein all received CBEs.
Actresses Susan Hampshire, 80, who starred in Monarch of the Glen and The Forsyte Saga, and Julia McKenzie, best-known for the sitcom Fresh Fields and as Miss Marple in several Agatha Christie dramas, also received CBEs.
The Beatles are pictured with their MBEs at Saville Theatre after being presented with them by the Queen
Breakfast television host Eamonn Holmes, 58, was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting, and said it was ‘a wonderful accolade’.
He said: ‘It’s like getting a gold star for your homework – 2018 will be my 38th year as a broadcaster and I can’t think of a better way of marking that.’
He added: ‘It’s lovely to have someone in authority say, ‘You know what, you do this quite well’.’
Singer Marc Almond – best-known for the 1980s hit Tainted Love with Soft Cell – said he felt ‘incredulous shock’ after learning he was being awarded an OBE, adding: ‘I can’t really be a rebel any more.’
Veteran Scots actor James Cosmo, who appeared in films including Braveheart, Trainspotting and Highlander and in hit show Game of Thrones, was awarded an MBE.
Hugh Laurie, pictured here with Stephen Fry in Jeeves and Wooster, was also honoured
Gong for Eamonn Holmes on his 38th anniversary in television
The 58-year-old television stalwart and journalist from Belfast, best known for his long career on breakfast programmes, is receiving an OBE for services to broadcasting
Eamonn Holmes has said his wife and This Morning co-star Ruth Langsford was even more delighted than him as he was named in the New Year Honours.
The 58-year-old television stalwart and journalist from Belfast, best known for his long career on breakfast programmes, is receiving an OBE for services to broadcasting.
The star of GMTV and Sky News’ Sunrise, as well as ITV’s This Morning, is celebrating 38 years in television.
He said he had been keeping the secret for three weeks, adding: ‘Ruth was even more thrilled than I was. I think she just thought it was very well deserved.’
However, the TV star said there will be no celebrating until the investiture.
He said: ‘No celebrating until you make sure it’s going to happen! The big dilemma is who to bring. My daughter is a big royalist, she loves everything to do with the royal family so she’s booked her place.
‘Ruth would stand aside to allow our 15-year-old son (to go), he would be very proud. We have that dilemma so three tickets would be perfect.’
Holmes, who began his career at 19 at Ulster Television in Belfast, became the youngest anchor of a TV news programme when he presented Good Evening Ulster at the age of 21.
He said: ‘I learned off Gloria Hunniford in Belfast and she has an OBE. It’s quite strange to take over the programme and now have the same recognition.’
Holmes moved to the BBC in 1986, but it was his move to ITV in the early 1990s that cemented his place as a titan of breakfast TV.
He made his name as a newscaster presenting GMTV from 1993 until 2005, and was dubbed the king of breakfast television.
For more than a decade Holmes anchored the flagship morning programme as well as juggling game show roles, regularly hosting The National Lottery Jet Set and Sudo-Q on the BBC.
Since 2006, Holmes has had a weekly Friday morning slot on This Morning with Langsford, whom he married in 2010.
Following his GMTV stint, Holmes moved to Sky where he presented Sky News’ Sunrise for 11 years until 2016.
He said: ‘It’s recognition of a body of work. There would be very few broadcasters that have the body of work that I have had. To be on TV at 19 and host a general election at 23, it’s unparalleled and unprecedented without anybody giving you a hand up.
‘I did it on my own merits and worked very hard.’
He continued: ‘The secret is reinvention.’
His other credits include Channel 5 programme How The Other Half Lives, which he presented with Langsford, a presenting role on the BBC’s Songs Of Praise, and he occasionally pops up as a guest presenter on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
Holmes said he sees the accolade as ‘something to push on from’, adding: ‘It’s lovely to have someone in authority say, ‘You know what, you do this quite well’.’
Ruth Langsford, who married the Belfast broadcaster in 2010, tweeted a selection of photos from Holmes’s television history after he was named in the New Year Honours.
Moments after the full list was unveiled on Friday, she posted: ‘SO proud of my husband @EamonnHolmes All his years of broadcasting rewarded with an OBE!!! Congratulations darling x.’
Away from the limelight, Craig Mackey, the deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, received a knighthood and there were honours for several entrepreneurs.
Businesswoman Vivian Hunt was given a damehood and married couple Chrissie Rucker, founder of The White Company, and Nicholas Wheeler, founder of Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts, both received OBEs for services to retail.
The two oldest recipients were both 101 – Lt Col Mordaunt Cohen, who was awarded an MBE for services to education about the Second World War, and Helena Jones who was given a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her work with young people.
The youngest, Lucia Quinney Mee, was just 18 and was also awarded a BEM for her campaign work on organ donation after she underwent three liver transplants.
Seventy per cent of this year’s 1,123 honours were awarded for ‘outstanding work in the community’ following criticism that recent awards have been dominated by political rows.
There were no awards for those who volunteered to help in the aftermath of this year’s terror attacks or the Grenfell Tower fire but Cabinet Office sources said they would be honoured in the future.
Ex-Vogue editor made a CBE for services for fashion journalism
Shulman was the longest-serving and most successful editor of British Vogue, having been cited with increasing its circulation to record levels of around 200,000 during her time at the helm
Alexandra Shulman has received a CBE for services for fashion journalism less than a year after stepping down as British Vogue’s editor.
Her upgraded honour comes after previously being awarded an OBE in 2005.
Shulman, 60, held the reins at the iconic fashion publication for more than 25 years until she departed in June 2017.
She was the longest-serving and most successful editor of British Vogue, having been cited with increasing its circulation to record levels of around 200,000 during her time at the helm.
Shulman, the daughter of film critic Milton Shulman and writer and Vogue contributor Drusilla Beyfus, started her career in fashion journalism at Tatler magazine in 1982.
In 1990 she was made the editor of British GQ magazine, and two years later she returned to take over the top role at the women’s fashion bible.
During her tenure at the fashion publication Shulman not only boosted its sales, but she became known for several memorable and collectable covers, including the memorial issue of the late Diana, Princess of Wales and a special edition gold cover featuring Kate Moss’s silhouette in 2000.
One of Shulman’s most newsworthy moments was securing the Duchess of Cambridge for the cover of the magazine’s centenary edition.
The coup was televised in a BBC documentary, Absolutely Fashion: Inside British Vogue in 2016, although Shulman had devised an elaborate ploy to keep the deal a secret from the film’s creator Richard Macer.
Shulman has long been regarded as a champion of British designers and also women, refusing to put diet-related literature in the magazine and for speaking out about eating disorders within the fashion industry.
Despite her job, Shulman does not appear to be obsessed with her own looks, and her candidness is one of her defining traits.
In August, she posted an undoctored picture of herself in a bikini on Instagram.
She once told The Guardian: ‘There was a newspaper piece which was kind of a round-up of all the editors of Vogue, and it was like the Russian one and the Italian one – and the description of me was ‘chain-smoking 50-year-old Toyota-driving divorcee’, and I thought, ‘Hmm, bit too much reality, actually’. I could have done with a bit more ‘cool ice maiden’.’
As well as her illustrious career at British Vogue, rivalling her US counterpart Anna Wintour, Shulman has also written for the Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Mail, and in 2012 she published Can We Still Be Friends?, her first novel.
In 2016, when she announced she would be departing the role after 25 years, Shulman said it was a hard to decision to quit the magazine ‘that I love’ but that she wanted to ‘experience a different life’.
‘I have edited British Vogue for 25 years almost to the day, and to have steered it during our spectacular centenary has been one of the greatest privileges,’ she said.
‘It has been very hard to find a rational reason to leave what is unquestionably a fascinating and rewarding role, but last autumn I realised that I very much wanted to experience a different life and look forward to a future separate to Vogue.’
Blackadder actor Hugh Laurie recognised for service to drama
The multi-talented 58-year-old, known for his comedy partnership with Stephen Fry and for roles in sitcom Blackadder and US drama House, is being awarded the upgraded honour of a CBE
From bumbling British comedian to unlikely international heart-throb, the versatile Hugh Laurie has had a remarkable journey as an actor, comedian, writer and musician.
The multi-talented 58-year-old, known for his comedy partnership with Stephen Fry and for roles in sitcom Blackadder and US drama House, is being awarded the upgraded honour of a CBE in the New Year Honours for his services to drama.
Laurie, born June 11 1959 in Oxford to gold medal-winning rower and doctor Ran Laurie and Patricia Laidlaw, was educated at a top prep school before attending Eton and then Cambridge University.
It was there, as the president of the university’s renowned Footlights amateur drama club, that he met Fry and, shortly after, a professional partnership was born.
Fry and Laurie’s stage success led to their TV sketch show Alfresco, which also featured the likes of their friend and Laurie’s one-time partner Emma Thompson, Ben Elton and Robbie Coltrane.
Among the duo’s many projects together, their sketch show A Bit Of Fry And Laurie and comedy series Jeeves And Wooster cemented Laurie’s reputation as one of the UK’s brightest comedy talents.
His comedy prowess was further bolstered by his role in Blackadder as the amiable idiot George in the third and fourth series of the hit sitcom in the late 1980s.
On the big screen, Laurie has appeared in films such as Peter’s Friends, Maybe Baby, Sense And Sensibility, 101 Dalmatians, The Man In The Iron Mask and Stuart Little and its sequel.
In 2004, Laurie’s star grew even more when he landed the leading role in US medical series House.
His portrayal of the unconventional and antisocial Dr Gregory House won him a litany of top industry prizes, including Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild awards and People’s Choice awards, as well as a handful of Emmy nominations.
Despite his character’s grumpy demeanour, Laurie – who had entertained British audiences for years with his mainly gangly, twit-like characters – earned himself a new wave of admirers across the pond and, in 2006, he was dubbed ‘TV’s Sexiest Man’ by a US magazine.
Drama beckoned again in 2016 when he played villain Richard Roper in acclaimed series The Night Manager, an adaptation of John le Carre’s 1993 thriller novel of the same name.
Laurie’s other TV projects include drama Fortysomething, of which he directed three episodes, and a recurring role in US political satire Veep.
Away from acting, Laurie’s debut novel The Gun Seller was a hit following its release in 1996.
In recent years, Laurie – a skilled musician who can play the piano and drums among other instruments – has entertained a whole new fan base with his musical efforts.
He has released two successful blues albums, both of which reached the top three in the UK charts: 2011’s Let Them Talk and 2013’s Didn’t It Rain.
In 2007, Laurie was appointed OBE for services to drama and in 2016 he was immortalised with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Laurie has two sons and a daughter with wife Jo Green, who he married in 1989.
‘I’m still a little bit anti-establishment’, says Marc Almond
Marc Almond has insisted he is still a ‘little bit’ anti-establishment, despite accepting an OBE for services to arts and culture.
The singer, who rose to fame in the 1980s as one half of electric duo Soft Cell, said he felt as though he has been living an ‘alternative reality’ since finding out he was included in the New Year Honours list.
The 60-year-old, who had a string of hits including classic Tainted Love, Say Hello, Wave Goodbye, and Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart, spent a month in a coma after a near-fatal motorcycle accident in 2004.
The singer, who rose to fame in the 1980s as one half of electric duo Soft Cell, said he felt as though he has been living an ‘alternative reality’ since finding out he was included in the New Year Honours list
The accident triggered the return of his childhood stammer and he was forced to learn to sing again before returning to the world of music.
He later became a patron of brain trauma charity Headway.
Almond, a self-described ‘maverick’ who has ‘not always fitted in to the music business’, said that his anti-establishment streak was outweighed by the honour of being recognised.
‘In the early 80s, I probably was still a kind of anti-establishment punk then,’ he said.
‘I’d grown up through all that time, and I still like to think a little bit inside of me is anti-establishment.
‘But I think with something like this, it’s such a wonderful thing to be recognised – that I have made a bit of a difference – and also it sheds light.
‘It’s something for all my fans that have been through the journey with me as well.’
He admitted he was ‘totally excited’ about receiving his OBE, adding: ‘I can’t really be a rebel any more. I think it’s time to leave it to younger people.’
Almond, who has campaigned fiercely for tolerance and equality, said his honour topped off a year in which he also celebrated his sixtieth birthday and 40 years in the entertainment industry.
He said: ‘I keep describing it as like being in an alternative reality, like Dr Who or something. I’ve kind of gone into some alternative universe.
‘But it’s fantastic, I’m absolutely, totally thrilled about it.’
Wiley: MBE is ‘like the school grade I wanted and didn’t get’
Grime star Wiley has said receiving an MBE in the New Years Honours is like ‘the school grade I wanted and didn’t get’ but added he is now ‘finally there’.
The musician, whose real name is Richard Cowie, and who is often referred to as the godfather of grime, is being honoured for his services to music.
He said: ‘I’m honoured to be receiving an MBE. It feels like the school grade I wanted and didn’t get but now I’m finally there.
The musician, whose real name is Richard Cowie, and who is often referred to as the godfather of grime, is being honoured for his services to music
‘I would like to thank my mother and father plus all family members and friends for being there for me when I needed them’.
Another key figure from the grime world, Grace Ladoja, is being awarded on OBE for her services to music.
Ladoja manages grime star Skepta, who appeared to have hinted in recent song Hypocrisy, that he ‘rejected’ an MBE.
The lyrics read: ‘The MBE got rejected. I’m not tryna be accepted.’
For Wiley, whom Skepta has credited with being an inspiration in his career, it has been quite a journey.
The 38-year-old has been a pioneer of the underground music scene and has steadily climbed the charts.
With grime flexing its muscles once again in recent years, the ‘godfather’ of the genre deserves credit for the resurgence, almost two decades after the sound was born.
This particular rapper, producer, mentor and DJ has seen plenty – including being stabbed on at least three occasions.
It is all part of a rollercoaster ride of fame which has seen him enjoy a number one hit with Heatwave as well as infuriate Glastonbury organisers Michael and Emily Eavis after tweeting ‘F**k them and their farm’ following a particular rainy year at the festival in 2013.
And not to mention of course his ongoing feud with Dizzee Rascal.
Born in Bow, East London on January 19 1979, he was exposed to music from his cot when his father’s band would use the bedroom as a rehearsal space.
He was soon using empty cardboard boxes as drums before getting his first real kit aged six.
A slightly unsettled childhood followed and Wiley spent some time in Kent living with his mother and grandmother before returning to London with his father where he began selling drugs.
But he swapped drugs for music after receiving threats from a rival dealer and started combining rapping with the prominent garage music scene of the ’90s as well as drum and bass. This innovation resulted in some of the first ever grime beats, such as Eskimo.
His first taste of success came with garage collective Pay As U Go before forming the Roll Deep entourage which included future stars Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder. They moved away from the garage sound and into grime.
Debut album Treddin On Thin Ice arrived in 2004 – a year after Dizzee’s Mercury-winning Boy In Da Corner.
Ten more studio albums have followed, with Wiley maintaining his grime sound while also creating hit tracks such as Wearing My Rolex. But the attention on the 2008 track was not all chart-based.
Three days before the video was due to be filmed, Wiley was stabbed leaving a visible scar on the left hand side of his face.
In an autobiography released earlier this year, titled Eskiboy, he also described himself as ‘four different people’ and documented the numerous threats on his life.
This year saw him return again to his grime roots with The Godfather while he was also honoured at the NME Awards with an Outstanding Contribution to Music Award before this latest accolade.
Star who started his career selling ice cream is awarded an MBE
A West End star who began his career selling ice cream and programmes in a London theatre has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours.
Matt Henry, who won an Olivier for best actor in a musical for his role in Kinky Boots, said it was ‘truly humbling’ to be recognised for his services to musical theatre.
The actor and singer moved to London aged 18 and took a job as an usher at the Adelphi Theatre, where he watched in ‘absolute awe’ as the stars of Chicago dazzled audiences.
Matt Henry, who won an Olivier for best actor in a musical for his role in Kinky Boots, said it was ‘truly humbling’ to be recognised for his services to musical theatre
More than 15 years later Henry performed on the very same stage, taking on the role of Lola in hit West End musical Kinky Boots in 2015.
Henry said: ‘I used to sit at the back and learn all the routines and the songs and just be in absolute awe of all the actors that are on the stage.
‘I kept thinking to myself, ‘One day it’s going to be me’ and lo and behold, the last two years I’ve been performing on the Adelphi Theatre stage.
‘Sometimes I come into work and I look out and I think, wow, there was me up there, as an 18-year-old kid selling programmes and ice creams and never ever thinking that my dreams would come true.
‘I guess now to have this recognition with this MBE … it’s amazing, it’s truly humbling.’
Henry, who finished his stint in Kinky Boots in July, said he always speaks to ushers at theatres to find out if they are interested in or studying musical theatre.
He said: ‘I just always believe in encouraging young people because they are the future and the next ice cream seller may be the next West End star, and you just never know.’
The performer, who made it to the final of The Voice in 2013, has recently had a baby with his partner and – in a sleep-deprived state – initially thought his inclusion in the honours list was a hoax.
He said: ‘When I opened the letter I thought it was a joke and I had to run upstairs to my partner and then I read it and I was like, ‘Oh my God’.
‘What a fantastic way to end 2017. The last two years doing Kinky Boots has been an amazing journey that I’ve been on.
‘I’ve won an Olivier for best actor in a musical and wow, now this recognition is phenomenal.’