Our judges discussed at length whether a return to a high position in the list is due for certain of our National Treasures, including Sir Ian McKellen, who only last week continued his lifelong campaigning, in an interview in this newspaper, by sounding off against homophobia in sport and asking: “What is going to make the FA face up to the responsibilities of the people it’s looking after?”
However, once a National Treasure, always a National Treasure, we decided – unless anyone knows of a change to the rules of Treasuredom.
McKellen joins newly minted National Treasures including Gok Wan, who when he’s not teaching the nation how to dress is telling us how to cook; Peter Tatchell, our hero, who tweeted relentlessly in the run-up to this list, imploring his supporters to nominate anyone but him, and preferably an unsung hero or heroine; and Diana Souhami, for writing about lesbians since the 1980s, who none the less told the IoS this year: “I think we are all of us one voice. I made a contribution, I can say no more than that.” Then there’s rugby referee Nigel Owens, as seen at Twickenham yesterday.
They join others in the Lifetime Achievement category, all of whom we adore, and trust that they do not mind their promotion to this space to make room for new faces on the Rainbow List itself: Sarah Waters; Ben Summerskill; Maggi Hambling; Jim MacSweeney of Gay’s the Word bookshop; Stephen Fry; Jeanette Winterson; Brian Sewell; Sandi Toksvig; Graham Norton; Stephen Whittle; Eileen Gallagher; Russell T Davies; Sir Nicholas Hytner; Boy George; Michael Grandage; Phyllida Lloyd; Rupert Everett; Jackie Kay; David Hockney; Alan Hollinghurst; Linda Bellos; Simon Callow; Alan Bennett; Lord (Waheed) Alli; Andrew Pierce; April Ashley; Roz Kaveney; Lord (Chris) Smith; John Barrowman; Sir Elton John; Philip Hensher; Christopher Biggins; Val McDermid; Cameron Mackintosh; Alice Purnell; Julian Clary; Jonathan Harvey; Dr Christian Jessen; David Lan; Colm Tóibín; Paul O’Grady; Fiona Shaw; Bea Campbell.