31 DECEMBER 2007

Kylie Minogue has come a long way since she began her showbiz career on hit Australian soap Neighbours. In going from a soap star to a pop star the 39-year-old became a household name, and is now set to receive further recognition after being selected to receive an OBE from the Queen.

"I feel deeply touched to be acknowledged by the UK, my adopted home, in this way," said the delighted 39-year-old Australian, who is eligible for the honour as a member of a Commonwealth nation. Kylie made a triumphant return to the charts this year after a much-publicised battle with breast cancer. "This last year I have felt so much love and support from everyone as I took greater steps back into the public domain, and it is with absolute gratitude and joy that I say farewell to 2007 and look forward to what the New Year will bring."

Also on the list is Sir Ian McKellen, who is set to become one of just 65 members of the Order of the Companions of Honour. "I am honoured to join an order which includes such distinguished practitioners in the arts," said the 68-year-old Lord Of The Rings star, who was knighted in 1991.

Equally "thrilled to bits" was veteran chat show host Michael Parkinson, who is to be knighted.

Meanwhile children's author Jacqueline Wilson is to become a Dame. "The dictionary says that a dame is a woman of value or distinction - well, I will try to live up to that definition," she joked, adding: "It also says a dame is a comic old woman - and my friends say that's a very apt description of me!"

Other honourees include sports presenter Des Lynam, set to become an OBE along with BBC news presenter George Alagiah and Sleepy Hollow actor Richard Griffiths, plus Calendar Girls star Julie Walters, who will receive a CBE.

And Graham Pullen - who organised the Princess Diana memorial concert in July - will be rewarded for his services to the Queen with the prestigious Member of the Royal Victorian Order medal.

Photo: ©
"I'm almost as surprised as I am honoured," said Better The Devil You Know singer Kylie. The pop princess becomes an OBE in the New Year's Honours listPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: ©
Both Sir Ian and TV star Michael, pictured here at November's Variety Club Showbiz Awards, are to be honoured, too. The Lord Of The Rings star will join the prestigious Order of the Companions of Honour, while the chat show host is to be knightedPhoto: © Getty Images