French and Saunders, OBE

...but duo spurned Blair's honour

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders have been offered OBEs ­ but turned them down.

Whitehall papers leaked to the Sunday Times say the comics are on a list of more than 40 people who have rejected honours from Tony Blair's government.

Those offered gongs are sworn to secrecy, and only a few - such as poet Benjamin Zephaniah ever go public with their rejections.

French and Saunders were offered their OBEs "for services to comedy drama" in 2001.

French's husband Lenny Henry, also rejected an honour - from John Major - but eventually did accept an OBE from Blair.

Major was also snubbed by John Cleese, who rejected a CBE "for services to entertainment" and I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue host Humphrey Lyttelton, who rejected knighthood in 1995, according to the paper.

This is the second set of honours-system leaks to be published by the Sunday Times. Last week, they revealed that Eric Sykes was in line for a gong in the New Year's Honours

Published: 21 Dec 2003

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