Now it's knight bachelor boy the queen's birthday honours

ARTS
Click to follow
The Independent Online
From bachelor boy to knight bachelor, it is, perhaps inevitably, Sir Cliff Richard. The 54-year-old singer is the first of the Fifties and Sixties rock stars to receive a knighthood, but always the most likely to make the journey from teenage rebel to establishment crooner. Only last month he sang alongside Dame Vera Lynn at Buckingham Palace in the VE Day celebrations.

Long a favourite of the Royal Family, Sir Cliff, an evangelical Christian and celibate, always includes a gospel music section in his concerts. His next, somewhat unlikely, venture is to appear as Heathcliff in a musical of Wuthering Heights.

A film star at his peak when Cliff started is belatedly honoured. Norman Wisdom, whose frenetic and zany act of self deprecation is now delighting younger audiences, and whose comeback includes a current promotion for the BBC's Wimbledon coverage, is made OBE.

He said last night: "I don't suppose people will mind if I swank a bit now." And his agent added: "I have received over 9,000 letters from various people over the years asking when Norman will receive an award for his endless service to showbusiness and charity."

The change of fortunes in the Royal Ballet, which has enjoyed some very successful seasons recently, is recognised with the award of a knighthood to Anthony Dowell, its director and former star dancer.

Sir Denys Lasdun, architect of the National Theatre, who is in dispute with the NT over its management's plan to knock down one of his terraces, is made a Companion of Honour.

Churchill's biographer, Martin Gilbert, receives a knighthood, as does John Drummond, the former Radio 3 controller, who oversees his last Proms this summer. One of the homegrown stars of British opera, the soprano Josephine Barstow, is made a Dame, as is Elizabeth Esteve-Coll, who is leaving the directorship of the Victoria and Albert Museum to become the University of East Anglia's vice-chancellor.

Alan Parker, the film director, becomes a CBE. His credits include The Commitments and Midnight Express, and he has called for legislation to make every multiplex cinema show a British film. The stage and screen actor Alan Bates, currently in BBC's Oliver's Travels, is also made a CBE.

Elaine Paige, whose success in the lead role in Sunset Boulevard is justifying her unofficial title "The First Lady of Musical Theatre", becomes OBE, as does Susan Hampshire, the actress and dyslexia campaigner whose roles over the years have not eclipsed her image in public memory as Fleur in BBC TV's The Forsyte Saga.

There is an OBE for the Booker Prize winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro and the actor Saeed Jaffrey. The composer Judith Weir and the potter Elizabeth Fritsch become CBEs.

Mr Jaffrey, who has appeared in Gandhi and The Jewel In The Crown, is thought to be the first Asian actor to be honoured. "This means a lot to me, acceptance from the general public, not just the world of films. It means that the cultural bridges I've tried to build all my life have paid off."

David Lister

Comments