Sport and showbiz top honours list

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The Independent Online
A RICH crop of awards for stars of the sports field, stage and screen in today's Birthday Honours list hints at a prime minister in closer touch with the popular culture of the country than he is with its electoral mood.

Bobby Charlton, the former Manchester United and England striker, becomes a knight alongside the lyricist Tim Rice, while lesser awards go to the cricketer Viv Richards, the boxer Barry McGuigan, Ally McCoist, the Glasgow Rangers and Scotland footballer, and the actor Richard Wilson - the grumpy Victor Meldrew in BBC television's One Foot in the Grave.

Diana Rigg, who played leather-clad Emma Peel in the Avengers television series and more recently starred in Medea, becomes a dame. Sir Alec Guinness, now 80, is made a Companion of Honour, as, from a rather different theatre, is the European Union's peace negotiator for Bosnia, Lord Owen.

Ludovic Kennedy, rights campaigner and a prominent figure of the old Liberal Party, gets a knighthood while Rabbi Lionel Blue, a regular 'Thought for the Day' contributor on Radio 4's Today programme, becomes an OBE along with the broadcaster Judith Chalmers.

Simon Rattle, conductor of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, becomes a knight and there are awards for aid workers in the former Yugoslavia, for the travel writer Eric Newby, and for one of Britain's most respected climbers, Doug Scott.

Life peerages go to Sir David Phillips, emeritus professor of molecular biophysics at Oxford University, Sir Randolph Quirk, Professor of English at University College London, and Sir Allen Sheppard, chairman of Grand Metropolitan.

Paul Newall, Lord Mayor of London, and Paul Condon, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, become knights. George Churchill-Coleman, former head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch, becomes an OBE.

Northern Ireland awards include a CBE for James Henry, who heads a construction company which has lost five employees killed by the IRA. The Co Londonderry firm carries out major contracting work for the security forces.

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