After entertaining millions in a comedy career spanning six decades, Ken Dodd last night admitted he was tickled to be rewarded with a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours List
The much-loved Liverpudlian, 89, is recognised for his services to arts, entertainment and charity.
He declared: “I’m very proud, I’m very, very happy and full of plumptiousness. I’d like to thank all the people who, for some time now, have been wishing this to happen.”
Tennis star Andy Murray joins him in becoming a Sir capping of an incredible year after winning Wimbledon again and claiming gold in the Rio Olympics.
In an honours list dominated by Team GB stars, Mo Farah is also knighted, while Jessica Ennis-Hill becomes a Dame.
There are also knighthoods for Kinks frontman Ray Davies, 72, and retired Bishop of Liverpool James Jones, who led the Hillsborough Panel which paved the way for justice for families of 96 Liverpool fans killed in the 1989 stadium disaster.
Victoria Beckham, 42, is confirmed as an OBE for services to fashion – 13 years after footballer husband David received the gong.
Actress Patricia Routledge, 87, best known as Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances, becomes a dame. Oscar-winner Mark Rylance, 56, who starred in Bridge of Spies, Wolf Hall and The BFG, is knighted for services to theatre.
Opera singer Bryn Terfel, 51, gets the same honour for services to music. Sir Ken Dodd –known for his“tickling stick” and Diddy Men characters – received an OBE in 1982 and said the knighthood was worth the wait.
He continued: “You have to wait until you’re asked and about a month ago I got a very surprising letter saying, ‘Would you like to be a Sir?’ and, if so, I would have to keep it secret.”
The veteran funnyman added: “I think it makes you feel just a little bit special, not too much, but a little bit special. I woke up this morning and I thought, ‘what a beautiful day for becoming a Sir’.””
Asked how he planned to celebrate his knighthood, he quipped: “Oh, I might have a jam sandwich and a glass of tickly tonic.”
Other stars of stage and screen to be recognised are actors Tim Pigott-Smith, 70, Helen McCrory, 48, and Naomie Harris, 40.
All receive OBEs for services to drama. And legendary Vogue editor Anna Wintour, 67, becomes a Dame for services to fashion and journalism.
Sir Ray Davies, who wrote Kinks classics You Really Got Me, Waterloo Sunset, and Sunny Afternoon, dedicated his award to “the people who supported my music over the years”.
He said: “Initially I felt a mixture of surprise, humility, joy and a bit embarrassed but after thinking about it, I accept this for my family and fans as well as everyone who has inspired me to write.”
The honour for former Bishop of Liverpool James Jones comes after Professor Phil Scraton, who led the Hillsborough Panel’s research team, turned down an OBE.
Bishop James, 68, described his award as a “salute” to the victims’ families.
He said: “It is a great honour but it is obviously tinged with a sadness because of the enduring sense of loss the families have.”
Classical music star Bryn Terfel said becoming a Sir was “an immense honour” and he felt “truly humbled”.
Ex-BBC Watchdog host Lynn Faulds Wood, 68, rejected an MBE, saying the honours system needs to be dragged “into the 21st Century”.
The cancer campaigner said she objected to the word “empire” and added: “I wouldn’t accept it while we still have party donors donating huge amounts of money and getting an honour.”