31 DECEMBER 2002
The 2003 New Year's honours list has focused on veteran entertainers rather than their younger contemporaries. Blade Runner director Ridley Scott is to be knighted along with the enduring film and theatre actor Alan Bates.
There were no popstars or politicians amongst the 976 names, but the Queen did honour some of Britain's best-loved figures from cinema. The actress Jean Simmons, who made her mark back in 1948 playing Ophelia opposite Laurence Olivier's Hamlet, was named along with Little Voice star Brenda Blethyn.
The list goes so far down memory lane that many of the most notable entries are well into old age. Ninety-year-old Anthony Buckley, author of the Jennings children's series that was popular after World War II, is to get an OBE while 93-year-old holocaust hero Nicholas Winton receives a knighthood.
At the outbreak of the war Winton, then a 30-year-old clerk at the London Stock Exchange, went to Prague and smuggled 669 Jewish children out of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.
Ordinary members of the public who have shown courage and dignity through difficult times also featured strongly as Neville and Doreen Lawrence, the parents of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence, receive OBEs for services to the community. Their son was killed in a racist attack in 1993.