ARISE Sir Brucie! Light entertainment king Bruce Forsyth receives a long-awaited knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List today.

The 83-year-old Strictly Come Dancing host’s prime-time TV career spanning more than half a century is recognised after years of campaigning by fans.

A CBE goes to Colin Firth – giving him a chance to ask the Queen in person what she thought of his Oscar-winning performance as her father George VI in The King’s Speech.

England’s Ashes-winning cricketers are honoured with OBEs for captain Andrew Strauss, 34, and coach Andy Flower, 43, and an MBE for player of the series Alastair Cook, 26.

Ex-EastEnder Brooke Kinsella, 27, gets an MBE for her campaign against knife crime, prompted by the murder of her 16-year-old brother, Ben, in 2008.

Author Julia Donaldson, 62, best known for The Gruffalo, caps a week in which she was appointed the Children’s Laureate by being awarded an MBE.

OBEs go to Graeme Garden, 68, and Tim Brooke-Taylor, 70, creators of much-loved madcap Seventies TV series The Goodies with Bill Oddie, 69, who received his OBE in 2003.

Other broadcasters honoured include BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour presenter Jenni Murray, 61, who is made a dame, and BBC Radio 2 DJ “Whispering”

Bob Harris, 65, who gets an OBE.

In the acting world, an OBE is awarded to Bernard Cribbins, 82, who narrated cult children’s show The Wombles and appeared in several Carry On films.

IVF pioneer Professor Robert Edwards, 85, is knighted eight months after being awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine for his work that led to the birth in 1978 of Louise Brown, the world’s first test tube baby.

But there will be no more popular name on the honours list than Sir Bruce Forsyth. The 83- year-old entertainer said he was “very proud and very honoured”

to be made a knight.

Some would say it has been a long time coming. There have been internet petitions and even a parliamentary Early Day Motion signed by 73 MPs asking for him to be knighted.

He said: “I’m very proud and very honoured. I’m also so grateful to the many people who have supported me for so long and helped make this possible.”

Sir Bruce, who was born in north London, started his career at 14 as Boy Bruce, The Mighty Atom, and went on to become a fixture on TV, fronting family favourites including Play Your Cards Right, The Generation Game and Bruce’s Price Is Right.

Mark Linsey, controller of entertainment commissioning at the BBC, said the whole corporation was ‘‘thrilled’’ at news of the knighthood.

He said: ‘‘Bruce’s services to the entertainment industry and to the BBC have been without comparison and this knighthood is so well deserved. Didn’t he do well?’’ BBC One controller Danny Cohen also paid tribute. He said: ‘‘Bruce Forsyth is a TV legend and a true gentleman. He is an incredible entertainer and this is a wonderful recognition of his 70 years in showbusiness.’’ Firth, 50, who grew up in Winchester, Hants, achieved instant heart-throb status as Jane Austen’s brooding hero Mr Darcy when he emerged from a lake in a dripping wet shirt and breeches in the 1995 television adaptation of Pride And Prejudice.

He played another Mr Darcy opposite Renee Zellweger in the Bridget Jones films, but it was his outstanding performance as the stuttering British monarch in The King’s Speech that made him Hollywood royalty.

Radio presenter Harris said he was left “whooping” with joy after learning of his OBE – after originally mistaking the notification for a pension letter. ‘‘It’s an incredible honour. I never would have dreamt it,” said the broadcaster.

In business, knighthoods go to Bank of England governor Mervyn King, 63, and Brian Souter, 56, chief executive of international transport group Stagecoach, while Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King, 50, is given a CBE.

Former Tory leader Michael Howard, 69, who was ennobled last year as Lord Howard of Lympne in Kent, is made a Companion of Honour for public and political services.

OBEs are also awarded to artistturned filmmaker Sam Taylor- Wood, 44, who directed 2009’s Nowhere Boy about John Lennon’s childhood, and conceptual artist Gillian Wearing, 47.

An MBE goes to author Kate Atkinson, 59, who was born in York and lives in Edinburgh, and who won the 1995 Whitbread Book of the Year prize for her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her tough-guy private eye character Jackson Brodie currently features in major BBC1 drama series Case Histories.

Service to charity is recognised with an OBE for Emma Freud, 49, for her work on Comic Relief with her partner, film-maker Richard Curtis.

A total of 965 people were awarded honours in the list, of whom 74 per cent are “local heroes”

who carry out unsung work serving their communities.