Olivia Newton John is made a Dame as she leads Nadiya Hussain and Ainsley Harriott on New Year Honours List

Ainsley, Olivia and Nadiya are leading the celebs named on the New Years Honours list (Picture: Getty)

Olivia Newton John has been made a dame, as the Grease actress leads the New Year Honours list.

Household names from showbiz, sport, TV and politics have been recognised alongside figures from the arts, sciences and charity in the annual list.

And British-born Australian Olivia is on the illustrious list, receiving a damehood for her services to charity, cancer research and entertainment.

The 71-year-old may be one of the best known Aussies in entertainment, but she was actually born in Cambridge, to a Welsh father who worked as an MI5 officer who worked on the Enigma project at Bletchley Park, and moved to Melbourne with her family when she was six years old.

Speaking to PA, the Physical singer said: ‘I am extremely excited, honoured and grateful beyond words to be included with such an esteemed group of women who have received this distinguished award before me.

‘As a girl born in Cambridge, I am very proud of my British ancestry and so appreciative to be recognised in this way by the United Kingdom.’

That’s Dame Sandy to you (Picture: Paramount/Rso/Kobal/REX)
Sam Mendes gets a knighthood (Picture: PA)

Getting a knighthood is director Sam Mendes, who is being honoured for his services to drama.

The 54-year-old – who directed the James Bond films Skyfall and Spectre, as well as American Beauty and Road To Perdition – who was given a CBE in 2000, said he was ‘amazed, delighted and extremely proud’.

He added: ‘I have stood on the shoulders of so many collaborators and colleagues over the last 30 years – actors, writers, designers, producers, technicians – to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude. I would not be receiving this honour without them.’

Also receiving a knighthood is Steve McQueen, for services to film.

Steve McQueen also gets a knighthood (Picture: PA)
Snow Patrol’s Gary is among the honours: (Picture: PA)

The 50-year-old, who was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2011, directed the Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave, as well as Hunger, Shame and Widows.

Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, 35, has been awarded an MBE for her services to cookery, four years after winning the baking competition.

Ainsley Harriott, 62, has also been awarded an MBE, while chef Nigel Slater, 61, has received an OBE for services to cookery and literature.

Queen’s Roger Taylor has been given an OBE, for his services to music.

Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight gets a CBE, and said he would celebrate ‘Tommy Shelby style’.

He said: ‘I celebrate Shelby-style every day – bottles of whiskey, cigarettes. No, I’m joking! Tommy Shelby occasionally has a bottle of champagne, so that’s what I’ll do.’

Billy Ocean, 69, gets an MBE for services to music, while Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody is getting an OBE for services to music and charity in Northern Ireland, after the 43-year-old founded the Lightbody Foundation.

Roger Taylor gets an OBE Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire)
Billy Ocean gets an MBE Picture: PA)

The Searchers founding member Michael Prendergast gets an MBE while Peter Saville – who designed the iconic album cover for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures – gets a CBE for services to design.

Michael Prendergast, founding member of Merseybeat group The Searchers, gets an MBE, while Peter Saville, the man behind the Joy Division album cover for Unknown Pleasures, is made a CBE for services to design.

TV star Steve Backshall and Planet Earth II cameraman Gordon Buchanan are both getting an MBE for services to conservation and wildlife filmmaking; as Wine writer and broadcaster Robert “Oz” Clarke receives an OBE for services to journalism, while BBC Radio 1’s longest-serving presenter Annie Nightingale is made a CBE for services to radio after previously receiving an MBE.

Hamilton actor Giles Terera – who won an Olivier Award for playing Aaron Burr in the West End – has receieved an MBE for services to theatre.

Giles Terera said he was flattered (Picture: PA)
Walker gets a CBE for services to drama and charity (Picture: PA)
Introducing Dame Floella Benjamin Picture:: Ian West/PA Wire)

The 43-year-old said: ‘If I have actively sought anything in my career as an actor it has been to do that which honours those who came before me and encourages those who come after me.

‘This acknowledgement only strengthens my resolve to do both.’

EastEnders star Rudolph Walker, who played Patrick Trueman on the soap, gets a CBE for services to drama and charity, while Coronation Street actor Derek Griffiths – who played Freddie Smith – is made an MBE for services to drama and diversity.

Playschool presenter Floella Benjamin, Baroness of Beckenham, has been made a dame for services to charity.

Playwright James Graham – who wrote Brexit: An Uncivil War and the upcoming series Quiz – has received an OBE for services to drama and to young people in British Theatre, due to his work with the National Youth Theatre.

The 37-year-old said: ‘Like everyone else, you don’t imagine or expect this kind of thing growing up, or when you’re starting out.

Steven Knight gets a CBE (Picture: Joe Maher/Getty Images)
Steve Backshall has been honoured Picture; Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for Mountain Warehouse)
Elton gets an upgrade Picture: @eltonjohn)

‘I’ve been so lucky with the people who have championed me, from my school teachers who believed working-class kids should be allowed to access theatre, to all the other family and friends, artists and audiences who keep supporting me to this day.

‘I’m pretty sure I haven’t earned it yet, but I’ll do my best to justify it in the future.’

Playwright Christopher Hampton, best known for his film Dangerous Liaisons, receives a knighthood for services to drama and Nine Night director Roy Alexander Weise gets an MBE, also for services to drama.

Composer Errollyn Wallen, who was the first black woman to have her work performed at the Proms, has her MBE upgraded to a CBE for services to music.

And Sir Elton John has also got an upgrade – being bumped up to Order of the Companions of Honour after being knighted in 1998 for his services to charity.

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