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Cats choreographer Gillian Lynne and producer Michael Codron among New Year honours

Gillian Lynne. Photo: Greg Heisler
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Stars of theatre, television and the concert hall have been recognised in a New Year honours list that sees choreographer Gillian Lynne and actors Penelope Keith and Angela Lansbury appointed Dames of the British Empire.

Lynne’s award, for service to dance and musical theatre, was hailed by long-time collaborators including Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber, who said he was “thrilled that the grand lady of British musical theatre has got the recognition she deserves”.

Penelope Keith’s Damehood for services to the arts and charity follows earlier awards of an OBE and CBE, while British-born Lansbury receives hers under the diplomatic and overseas list for drama and charitable work.

Other significant awards in the list include a knighthood for Aldwych Theatre owner and commercial producer Michael Codron, who has presented more than 200 shows since he started producing in the late 1950s.

Among those receiving OBEs were English National Opera’s outgoing chief executive Loretta Tomasi, actor Lynda Bellingham, comedian and presenter Sandi Toksvig and mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins. Nicholas Allott, managing director of Cameron Mackintosh Ltd, also received an  OBE, for services to theatre and charity.

Gavin and Stacey co-writer and star Ruth Jones received an MBE, while CBEs were presented to actor Michael Crawford, theatre director Dominic Cooke, opera director John Copley and, in his 90th year, veteran television and radio presenter Nicholas Parsons. Carlos Acosta also received a CBE, for services to ballet.

Other entertainment figures recognised in the annual list included the composer and current Master of the Queen’s Music Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who becomes a Companion of Honour, and conductor Sir Simon Rattle, who received the Order of Merit.

Screenwriter Anthony Horowitz was made an OBE, as was Vanessa Whitburn, former editor of The Archers.

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