Former Royle Family star Liz Smith receives MBE

Veteran actress Liz Smith and The Queen star Michael Sheen were the stand-out theatrical recipients in the New Year Honours List.

The 87-year-old actress, who touched the nation with her portrayal of Nana in The Royle Family, received an MBE, while Welsh actor Sheen received an OBE.

Liz came to TV relatively late, making her first TV appearance in Leo The Last in 1970. A year later she appeared as a downtrodden mother in Mike Leigh’s Bleak Moments. Roles that followed included one of Compo’s dates in Last Of The Summer Wine, and parts in Crown Court and The Sweeney, In Loving Memory, The Gentle Touch and the Lenny Henry Show.

In 1984 she received a Bafta for her role as Maggie Smith’s mother in the film A Private Function.

Nana bowed out of BBC One’s The Royle Family in 2006, with a special episode around the character’s death entitled The Queen Of Sheba.

Michael Sheen (pictured) has been awarded an OBE – and said it would be nice to meet the real Queen at last. The actor has played former prime minister Tony Blair twice, in Stephen Frears’ TV drama The Deal and later on the big screen in Frears’ award-winning movie The Queen.

Having met the monarch as played by Dame Helen Mirren, the 39-year-old could come face to face with the Queen herself when he picks up his gong.

“This is a huge honour. I am both thrilled and slightly mystified,” he said of being recognised in the New Year Honours. “But very grateful. It’ll be nice to meet the real Queen at last.”

Dragons’ Den’s Peter Jones was awarded a CBE for services to business, entrepreneurship and young people, and dedicated it to his dad.

“For me it’s about the future entrepreneurs that it inspires,” he said. “Here’s to all those who have but a dream. I dedicate it to my father who is recovering in hospital at the moment from a serious illness.”

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