Trio of Britain’s best-known poets get gongs

There is a little poets’ corner on the list of honourees, with a trio of Britain’s best-known writers in the genre receiving gongs. Wendy Cope – known for her witty touch and once voted by BBC Radio 4 listeners as their choice to follow Ted Hughes as poet laureate (she didn’t) – is awarded an OBE, while Simon Armitage, 47, the UK’s official millennium poet in 2000, and Michael Longley, 71, the influential poet and commentator on the arts from Belfast, both receive CBEs.

Paula Rego, the Portuguese-born painter famous for the often fantastical feel to her art, has been made a dame. “I was totally surprised by it,” she said. “What is it for? I don’t do anything but paint pictures.”

In drama, South African-born writer Ronald Harwood, 75, has a knighthood to add to his CBE. His best-known play is The Dresser, based on his experience as backstage helper to actor Sir Donald Wolfit. His screenplay for The Pianist won him an Oscar in 2003.

Television presenter Fred Dinenage is awarded an MBE after five decades on TV, taking in How, the children’s facts and trivia show, ITV’s World of Sport and many years as a regional TV news host in the Meridian region in southern England. He said the award had slipped his mind after the joy of seeing his daughter Caroline become Conservative MP for Gosport, in Hampshire, and make her maiden speech in the Commons.

“The funny thing is that I got wrapped up in the excitement of my daughter being elected. It’s been all-consuming, and so I forgot all about it until today,” he said.

Journalist Julian Pettifer, 74, who covered the Vietnam war, was a key reporter for Tonight, 24 and Panorama, all BBC flagship news programmes, and then became a leading light in conservation, is awarded an OBE. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds