Actor Alan Bates (pictured) has been knighted today in the New Year Honours list - the annual gift of HM The Queen for notable achievements in all areas of public life, including the arts.

Dubbed one of the "angry young men" of the 1960s after starring in John Osborne's Look Back in Anger, Bates' screen credits have included Whistle Down the Wind, The Entertainer and The Fixer. Throughout his career, he has frequently returned to the stage, most frequently in plays by Simon Gray such as Butley, Otherwise Engaged, Stage Struck, Simply Disconnected and Life Support. This year, he won the Tony Award for Best Actor for the New York revival of Turgenev's Fortune's Fool.

Other actors singled out this year for their services to drama include: Brenda Blethyn (OBE), currently playing the title role in the West End revival of Mrs Warren's Profession; Edward Fox (OBE), who completed a regional tour of The Winslow Boy this autumn; and Brian Cox (CBE), the original Hannibal Lecter on screen whose recent London stage credits have included Dublin Carol at the Royal Court.

Also amongst those honoured were: the Australian-born director Michael Blakemore (OBE), whose Broadway transfer of Kiss Me Kate won Evening Standard, Critics Circle and Awards this past year; comedian Jasper Carrott (aka Robert Davis, OBE for charitable services) who appeared this year in D'Oyly Carte's West End production of The Mikado; opera singer Bryn Terfel Jones (CBE); Royal Ballet dancers Jonathan Cope (CBE) and Frenchwoman Sylvie Guillem (honorary CBE); National Youth Dance Company artistic director John Chesworth (OBE); Lucy Perman (OBE), executive director of the Clean Break Theatre Company; and Edinburgh International Festival director Brian McMaster, who was knighted.

- by Terri Paddock