Bake Off’s Paul Hollywood leads a star-studded New Year Honours 2023 list (Picture: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Legends including Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood, Game Of Thrones actor Emilia Clarke and Lionesses goalkeeping icon Mary Earps have been named on what can only be described as one star-studded New Year Honours List.
That’s right; it’s the most wonderful time of the year – that is, when delights of sport, stage and screen are recognised for their stellar efforts.
When it comes to 2023’s glittering roll call, there are some well-deserved plaudits indeed, with veteran broadcaster Steve Wright, singer Dame Shirley Bassey and Oscar-winning actor James Martin and Napoleon director Sir Ridley Scott also receiving the call-up this year.
But we can only imagine Paul Hollywood is awarding himself one of his famously coveted Hollywood Handshakes right about now as he’s made Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to baking and broadcasting.
Hollywood, 57, has appeared on Bake Off since 2010, first with Dame Mary Berry and now with Dame Prue Leith, assessing the efforts of amateur bakers and sparingly handing out his Hollywood Handshake to impressive bakers – with the gesture becoming one of the highest signs of praise.
Hollywood’s famous handshake has become the highest form of praise on the baking show (Picture: Channel 4)
The star, who grew up in the Wirral, near Liverpool, initially trained to be a sculptor before he joined his family’s business and became a professional baker. Since then, he’s worked at some of the most exclusive hotels in England, including Cliveden House in Berkshire, The Chester Grosvenor and The Dorchester in London.
In 2007, he launched the Paul Hollywood Artisan Bread company and served bread to well-known grocers, including Harrods where a £15 Roquefort and almond sourdough was named ‘the most expensive loaf in Britain’ in a 2008 Telegraph article.
While the business was liquidated in 2014, by then Hollywood had already established his career in TV, which began when he appeared on Carlton Food Network, later known as Taste CFN, alongside TV chef James Martin.
He’s since appeared on shows including ITV’s This Morning and former UKTV food show Great Food Live, and has authored numerous cookbooks and also appears on the US version of Bake Off, the Great American Baking Show.
Joining Hollywood on the MBE podium is Mother Of Dragons and Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke, who’s been made an MBE alongside her mother Jenny as co-founders of SameYou, a brain injury recovery charity they established after the actress survived two brain haemorrhages.
Emilia Clarke and her mother Jenny Clarke have been made MBEs (Picture: PA)
Clarke, who shot to fame as Daenerys Targaryen in the hit HBO series, mused the honour was ‘remarkable’ and added it was ‘life-enhancing and magical’ to see her mother, who has also had surgery to remove a brain aneurysm, also recognised for the work.
She said that the MBE was ‘wonderful awareness-building for the cause’ after the 37-year-old suffered her first brain haemorrhage – a bleed on the brain – while working out in a north London gym in 2011.
Speaking from her London home, Clarke told the PA news agency that surviving two brain haemorrhages, which happened while she was filming the hit fantasy series, made her realise how ‘misunderstood and under-represented’ brain injuries are, even though they affect one in every three people.
Clarke said she was shocked to find out how understaffed rehabilitation services are – with rehab becoming a key focus for the charity – with her mother adding that in the UK, ‘you’re lucky if you get a few weeks of rehab, and then it’s just like falling off a cliff’, as she urged people to donate to the charity to help fund vital online rehab services.
The actress, known for her role as Daenerys Targaryen on Game Of Thrones, suffered two brain haemorrhages while starring in the HBO series (Picture: HBO/BSkyB/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock)
Another focus for the charity for 2024 is mental health support, with Clarke saying that her second brain haemorrhage in 2013 ‘just took the wind right out of me from a mental health point of view’.
After initially keeping her haemorrhages private (even from her Game Of Thrones co-stars) since sharing her story ‘thousands’ of other people who have had traumatic brain injuries have approached her and she now feels ‘less alone’.
After her first brain haemorrhage, Clarke was whisked to a London hospital but medics didn’t immediately spot that she’d suffered one and it took some time before she was sent to a specialist hospital where she received life-saving care.
In recovery she was woken every two hours and was asked to say her full name aloud – Emilia Isabelle Euphemia Rose Clarke.
‘One night, very late at night, I couldn’t say it, I was able to speak but it was no sense,’ she said. ‘I remember that was the only point where I just thought ‘let’s end this now’, because if I can’t communicate then I can’t be an actor, which is the only thing I’ve ever dreamed of being, so that was quite dark.’
In both being made an MBE in the New Year Honours, it’s believed they are the first mother and daughter to receive the same award in the same honours list.
Also joining the illustrious list is Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis, listed under his full name Athelstan Joseph Michael Eavis, who will now be known as Sir Michael, after being knighted for services to music and charity.
Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis is now Sir Michael Eavis (Picture: PA)
And he’s looking forward to his investiture for one important reason…
In an interview for the official Glastonbury website, the dairy farmer, 88, who first hosted the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival at Worthy Farm in 1970, said: ‘I think William might do the ceremony. He’s made a few mentions of wanting to come to the festival. So I’ll probably take a couple of tickets in my pocket!’
Sir Michael was first inspired to host a music event at Worthy Farm in 1970 after an open-air Led Zeppelin concert; admission was £1, which included free camping and free milk.
Audiences enjoyed performances by Marc Bolan’s Tyrannosaurus Rex (later T. Rex), who played in place of the Kinks who were due to headline. The following year it became Glastonbury Fayre, a small event attracting around 1,500 people, and the date was changed to coincide with summer solstice.
Glastonbury is now the largest greenfield festival in the world and is attended by around 200,000 people each year, drawing the biggest musical headliners and a raft of celebrity guests.
Sir Michael – who was made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2007 – is still active in the running of the festival, but his daughter Emily and her husband take full responsibility for the line-up.
Keeping things musical, singer Dame Shirley Bassey, who has sold more than 135 million records, has been made Companion of Honour for her services to music, becoming the 64th living member of the order which can only have 65 members at any one time.
Clarke’s Game Of Thrones comrade Oliver Ford Davies, best known for his Shakespearean stage work, but also as Maester Cressen in the HBO fantasy series, has also been honoured with an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to drama, Oscar-winning actor James Martin said he ‘cried his eyes out’ when he received notice he was being made MBE.
Actor James Martin is now an MBE (Picture: PA)
Martin, who has Down syndrome, said he hoped the honour would inspire people with learning difficulties as the honour caps a remarkable year for the actor, after the short film An Irish Goodbye swept the major awards ceremonies and he made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the first actor with Down’s syndrome to star in a film which won an Oscar, a Bafta and an Ifta.
Meanwhile, director and producer Sir Ridley Scott, whose works include Gladiator, Alien and Joaquin Phoenix-starring Napoleon, is made a Knight Grand Cross, upgrading his previous knighthood, while author Jilly Cooper becomes a dame.
She told PA: ‘I am absolutely and incredibly bowled over. I cannot believe I am a DBE, which in my case also stands for Delighted, Bewildered and Ecstatic.’
The 86-year-old author and journalist, chiefly known for her Rutshire Chronicles, has received a damehood for services to literature and to charity.
Dame Jilly previously became a CBE for services to literature and charity during the 2018 New Year Honours and when she received a previous honour from Buckingham Palace in 2004 said she nearly fainted when she was told about the OBE for her services to literature.
Veteran broadcaster Steve Wright also joins the list of honours after becoming an MBE and said he wants to dedicate the nod ‘to all the people in broadcasting who gave comfort and public service during the pandemic’.
Steve Wright has been honoured for his services to radio (Picture: PA)
Wright, best known for presenting his afternoon show on BBC Radio 2 over several decades, was honoured for his services to radio.
During his final Steve Wright In The Afternoon show last September, Wright – who joined BBC Radio 1 in 1980 – said he had tried to provide ‘a little bit of light relief’ during the hardest moments of the pandemic when the nation was forced to stay at home.
Fellow radio stalwart DJ Tony Blackburn has also been made OBE for his services to broadcasting and charity.
The veteran broadcaster has described being made an OBE in the New Year Honours as ‘the icing on a very lovely cake’ after almost six decades in the ‘best job’ on BBC and commercial radio stations.
The 80-year-old, who became a household name as the first DJ on BBC Radio 1 when it launched in 1967, and told PA: ‘I never imagined that nearly 60 years later, I would still be doing something I love so much’.
Other notable names in the list include England cricketer Stuart Broad, who is made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) following his retirement; singer Leona Lewis, who becomes an OBE; and author Kate Mosse, who is also made a CBE.
The honours keep coming for Mary Earps, who is now an MBE (Picture: PA)
In sport, England captain Millie Bright has been made an OBE, while her fellow Lionesses Earps and Lauren Hemp have been made MBEs for services to football after they finished runners-up to Spain in the women’s World Cup.
The honour caps a remarkable month for Earps after she was crowned 2023 BBC Sports Personality of the Year in a public vote.
Meanwhile novelist Mosse, a co-founder of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, has been made CBE for services to literature, to women and to charity, and told PA of the honour: ‘It does feel that although obviously this is for me, it’s very much an acknowledgement of the importance of the Women’s Prize, and that it matters that women support other women.’
This year’s list includes a total of 1,227 recipients, 48% of whom are women, and 13.8% come from an ethnic minority background.
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