Actors Idris Elba and David Oyelowo received an Order of the British Empire, OBE, for their services to drama in Britain’s New Year Honours List.
They led the way in the annual announcement of state honours marking the end of the year. Elba and Oyelowo were made OBEs – officers of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire – while other famous names were made commanders (CBE) or regular members (MBE).
Golden Globe winner Elba, who starred in television crime dramas The Wire and Luther, and films including Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Prometheus, said the honour was “beyond special”.
“Awards and honours come in all shapes and sizes and all as significant as the other but this is beyond special, as it comes from queen and country and I couldn’t be more proud for receiving this right now.”
Actress Barbara Windsor, a veteran of the 1960s Carry On cheeky comedy films and the BBC’s top soap opera EastEnders, was made a dame, the female equivalent of a knighthood.
Other actors recognised included Dame Sian Phillips and Imelda Staunton CBE.
On being made a CBE, screenwriter and playwright Peter Morgan said: “I’m surprised, delighted and proud. Even a little embarrassed. Especially since I opened the brown envelope expecting it to be a speeding ticket.”
Morgan was behind the film scripts of The Queen (2006) starring Helen Mirren, Frost/Nixon (2008) and Rush (2013).
There were three new additions to the Order of Merit, which is in the personal gift of Queen Elizabeth II and limited to 24 members.
It recognises individuals of great achievement in the fields of the arts, learning, literature and science.