Talk show host Paul O’Grady and EastEnders‘ June Brown are among those to have been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list.
O’Grady, who made a name for himself with the drag act Lily Savage before going on to present his own teatime chat show on Channel 4, received news of his MBE on his 53rd birthday – and said he couldn’t quite believe it.
“I thought it was a wind-up,” he said. “I’m the last person, I thought, who would have been given an MBE.”
“What have I done to deserve it? I’m just sat there night after night banging out telly.”
June Brown – best known as Dot Branning on EastEnders, was also made an MBE, after being recommended for the honour by former co-star Leslie Grantham.
The 81-year-old said it was “lovely” to have been recognised alongside such stars as Wendy Richard and Barbara Windsor, who have previously been honoured by the Queen.
Other TV names to feature in the honours list include comedienne Victoria Wood, and Countdown host Des O’Connor, both of whom have become a CBE.
“I’m delighted,” O’Connor admitted, “but I haven’t done a day’s work in my life. I’ve done a day’s effort but not work because it’s something I love.”
“I like to think that if something comes your way like this it’s some kind of public recognition. It’s a very nice thing to happen in your life.”
And Russell T Davies – the scriptwriter who created the Channel 4 series Queer As Folk, and brought Doctor Who back to life in 2005 – has been made an OBE.
“I’m delighted to accept,” he said, “and I hope it does the whole industry a bit of good, for the writing of television drama to be recognised.”