James Corden and Sheridan Smith become OBEs in New Year Honours list

TV stars James Corden, Sheridan Smith, Esther Rantzen and Joan Collins are among those honoured in the New Year Honours list.

James Corden has declared he is “thrilled, overwhelmed and honoured” to be awarded an OBE for his services to drama.

The actor, who once harboured dreams of being in a boy band, has had roles in a number of hit TV shows including ITV’s Fat Friends and BBC comedies The Wrong Mans and Gavin & Stacey. He’s also had roles in the 2006 films The History Boys and Starter For 10. 

James, a 36-year-old dad of two, will soon be seen starring alongside Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep in the film Into The Woods, and will take on one of the biggest gigs of his career, stepping in as the new host for popular US chat series The Late Late Show, replacing long-time presenter Craig Ferguson.

He said of his inclusion in the New Year Honours list: “I’m thrilled, overwhelmed and honoured to be recognised in such a way. I feel very lucky to be born in a country where creativity is both encouraged and valued. My family are very proud. My mum is already fretting about what to wear.”

Corden’s former girlfriend Sheridan Smith, also becomes an OBE…

The 33-year-old actress, who was last seen in the ITV drama Cilla, said: “I’m sincerely thankful and humbled to be recognised with such an honour. I’m overwhelmed and hope to continue doing the work that I love for many years to come.”

Sheridan got her first real break in the business when she moved to London aged 16 for a part in the stage show Bugsy Malone. Early TV success included minor parts in The Royle Family and Gavin And Stacey, as well as a more long-running role playing Janet in Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps.

Meanwhile, former Dynasty star Joan Collins has been made a Dame. 

The 81-year-old actress said “It is humbling to receive this level of recognition from my Queen and country, and I am thrilled and truly grateful.”

The star has been a regular on stage and screen for more than half a century, but is probably best known for her portrayal of the bitchy Alexis in the US soap.

Joan isn’t the only Dame on the list because TV presenter and campaigner Esther Rantzen has also been given the title for services to children and older people. She has established telephone helplines for both children in distress or danger (ChildLine) and older people experiencing isolation (The Silver Line).

She said that her “greatest wish” was that her late husband, Desmond Wilcox, had lived to see her become a Dame.

Dame Esther, 74, said: “I am thrilled that this honour recognises the contribution made by ChildLine and The Silver Line in transforming lives.

“I feel completely committed to the work of both charities and it is a wonderful honour to receive in my 75th year. My greatest wish is that Desmond could be here to share this news – he would have been so excited.”

Other stars on the list include The Kumars At 42 star Meera Syal becomes a CBE, and veteran actor John Hurt, who receives a knighthood.

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