The gay comedian Paul O’Grady is among a number of high profile celebrities to have been bestowed an award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Mr O’Grady, who first shot to fame as drag queen Lily Savage, now hosts a chat show for Channel 4.

He said: “It is a very nice birthday present. I’m really pleased, really surprised. It’s something I’d never even thought about.”

“I’m the last person, I’d have thought, who would be given an MBE.

“What have I done to deserve it? I’ve just sat there night after night banging out telly.

“The thought of getting this would have never even entered my head when I first started out.”

June Brown, the actress behind the iconic character of Dot Cotton in Eastenders also receives an MBE.

Comedienne and script writer Victoria Wood and tv star Des O’Connor both receive CBEs.

Doctor Who and Torchwood writer Russell T Davies receives an OBE.

In the fields of Community Voluntary and Local Services (which make up 42% of the awards), including law and order, there are DBEs for Barbara Stocking, the Chief Executive of Oxfam GB who has played a key leadership role across the international development sector and Hilary Blume, who established the Charities Trust and Card Aid and went on to launch the Association of Charity Shops.

And Knighthoods for Dr James Anderson, the chairman of the foot and mouth inquiry in 2001 and the 2007 review and an advisor to the Government on a range of complex IT and other matters and Paul Stephenson, Deputy Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police who has led the way in creating a performance culture where expectations are high.

And there are Knighthoods for MPs Alan Beith and Peter Viggers, in recognition of their services to Parliament.

At CBE there is Lloyd Dorfman, Chair of the Travelex Group and a major donor to the arts and other charities including the Travelex scheme at the National Theatre; Edward Fitzgerald, one of the leading human rights lawyers of his generation and a driving force behind the development of the law relating to prisoners and Roy Morris, Chair of the Mersey Partnership using his position to act as an affective spokesman for Merseyside, particularly for Liverpool.

And there are OBEs for Iqbal Bhana, an independent member of the Lawrence Steering Group set up to take forward the recommendations of the inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence and the first Muslim to be appointed a Deputy Lieutenant and Timothy Brain, the Chief Constable of Gloucestershire who led the response to the floods, the largest peacetime emergency to have affected the county in terms of complexity, duration and affects.

Education makes up about 10% of the total.

There is a Damehood (DBE) for Professor Janet Finch, Vice-Chancellor of Keele University, a ground-breaking sociologist who has also contributed to higher education in an extraordinary series of achievements.

And there are Knighthoods for William Atkinson, Head of Phoenix High School, Hammersmith, who has galvanised the wider community, in the most challenging of circumstances, to become pro-active in the education of its children; James Bone, Professor of English literature at the University of Liverpool and internationally known for his work in romantic studies; William Moorcroft, who merged two establishments into the new Trafford College and has transformed it through inspirational leadership to become the first FE College to be assessed outstanding; Dr Philip Hunter, the Chief Schools Adjudicator who has led his team to establish a national reputation for clear-sighted and impartial decisions.

There are CBEs for Martin Tune, Headteacher of Bonner Primary School, Tower Hamlets a vanguard for the drive to improve standards in primary schools nationally and Philip Silvester, Head of Westfield Technology College, Dorset whose inspirational leadership has resulted in OFSTED describing his school as outstanding.

Health makes up 8%. The wide range of awards include a Damehood (DBE) for Mrs Donna Kinnair, Director of Clinical Leadership at Southwark Primary Care Trust and the first nurse to co-chair the Health Care for London Children’s Workstream setting an example to others to follow.

There are Knighthoods for Leonard Fenwick, Chief Executive of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospital NHS Foundation Trust which has been described as the best of its category in England; Nicholas Wald, Professor of Environment and Preventive Medicine at Queen Mary, University of London who has delivered major advances in Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine that has changed practice worldwide.

There are CBEs for Rosemary Cook, a Practice Nurse who has made a major impact on the profession, through clear and inspirational leadership of the Queen’s Nursing Institute insuring that community nursing is at the forefront of patient care; William George, until recently Professor of Surgery at Western Infirmary, Glasgow where he led the team to achieve excellent results in breast cancer treatment; Anthony Goldstone, Consultant Haematologist at University College London Hospital who has made major contributions in clinical, academic and management roles and has an international reputation in Bone Marrow Transplantation and Mrs Theresa Green, Chairman of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust which has raised £30m for world class facilities for cancer patients.

Industry and the Economy, Science and Technology makes up 17% of the awards.

There is a DBE for Mrs Clara Furse, the first woman head of the London Stock Exchange. Her success in defending the Exchange against a string of unwanted approaches has won unanimous plaudits from many users.

And there are Knighthoods for Moir Lockhead, who turned First Group, a Scottish regional bus company into an international transport group; Michael Snyder who has made a towering contribution to the City of London Corporation ensuring that it is the world’s leading international financial and business centre and William Sargent, co-founder of Framestore who spends half his working week in public service including running the Better Regulation Executive.

Arts and Media makes up 7% of the total.

There is a CH for Lord Richard Rogers, one of the most influential British architects of our time, responsible for such high-profile projects as the Pompidou Centre, Lloyds of London, the Millennium Dome and the Welsh National Assembly. And he has been chosen as the architect of Tower 3 to replace one of the World Trade Centre towers.

And Damehoods (DBEs) for Margaret Drabble, one of the UK’s foremost writers recognised internationally as being an important figure at the centre of the UK’s literacy culture; Monica Mason, who has been responsible for the reinvention of the Royal Ballet protecting its unique heritage and Joan Bakewell, one of the great pioneers of TV journalism and a highly respected figure in the world of media and the arts.

And there is Knighthood for Mark Elder, the distinguished international operatic and orchestral conductor.

Lynda Le Plante, a significant force in TV drama who has enjoyed success throughout the world with shows such as Fox, Minder and The Sweeney; Gerald Scarfe, the caricaturist best known for his savagely grotesque portraits of politicians and other public figures; Richard Shepherd, one of the most celebrated wildlife artists in the world donating proceeds from sales to charities involved with conservation of wildlife; Maria Thorpe, regarded as one of the most outstanding piano teachers of our time; Marina Warner, the renowned novelist, historian and cultural critic.

Awards for Sport make up 3% of the total.

There is a CBE for Bill Beaumont, who has played a major part in developing Rugby Union around the globe and Joe Calzaghe, one of the greatest British boxers of all time and the unbeaten world champion for 11 years.

And there are OBEs for Lawrence Dallaglio, recognised as one of the world’s best back-row rugby players and John Surtees who has made a major contribution to motor racing over many years.

There are MBEs for David Healey, the leading goal scorer for the Northern Ireland football team and Andy Priaulx, World Touring Car Champion for the third consecutive year.

Awards in the State Sector make up 13% of the total.

There is a Damehood (DCB) Helen Ghosh, Permanent Secretary, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and a DBE for Professor Christine Beasley, Chief Nursing Officer at the Department of Health.