New Year list honours showbusiness figures


Former crooner-turned-broadcasting-institution and housewives' favourite Jimmy Young heads the cast of celebrities from the worlds of showbusiness, theatre and sport in today's British New Year's Honours list.

The legendary 80-year-old's heavily-trailed knighthood tops a star-studded list which includes pop icons the Bee Gees, actors Ben Kingsley and Lynn Redgrave, and world boxing champion Lennox Lewis.

There are awards, too, for Liverpool soccer veteran and Scottish international Gary McAllister, and English cricket captain Nasser Hussain.

The knighthood for Jimmy Young followed nationwide protests at reports that his JR Prog might be axed.

Sir Jimmy - who has interviewed every politician of consequence since Harold Macmillan, and persuaded Margaret Thatcher onto his show at least fourteen times - will be celebrating this morning from his usual slot on BBC Radio 2.

Also celebrating a knighthood, this time for services to drama, is the actor Ben Kingsley - best known for his Oscar-winning performance in Ghandi.

Meanwhile, actress Lynn Redgrave, of the famous acting dynasty who made her stage debut in The Tulip Tree in 1962, receives an OBE in the diplomatic list. The same list sees CBEs awarded to brothers Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb, who as the Bee Gees dominated the dance floors and airwaves of the 1970s with 36 UK top 50 singles, and five Number One hits including Massachussets and Jive Talkin'.

There is a CBE for opera diva Lesley Garrett and an OBE for pop singer Sade (born Helan Adu), and for Lennox Lewis who regained his world heavyweight title from Hasim Rahman in Las Vegas last month.

England's cricket revival is marked with an OBE for captain Nasser Hussain, while Liverpool veteran Gary McAllister gets the MBE.

The New Year list also honours the "exceptional work" performed by members of the British Consulate-General in New York in the aftermath of the terror attack on the World Trade Centre in which dozens of British citizens perished.

Queen Elizabeth has already honoured New York with the award of an honorary knighthood to departing Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, which he is expected to receive it at an award ceremony at Buckingham Palace early in the New Year.