One of Britain’s best loved entertainers, Ronnie Corbett, was reportedly only a couple of months away from being knighted in the upcoming Queen’s Birthday Honours list, according to reports.
Mr Corbett died on Thursday at the age of 85, following a secret battle with motor neurone disease.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Mr Corbett would have have been knighted this year after a campaign was launched towards the Honours Committee by comedian David Walliams amongst others.
Mr Corbett had been approved for a knighthood following the campaign, after fellow entertainers warned the committee that the comedian was gravely ill.
Mr Corbett is thought to have been unaware that he was to be knighted later this year.
He was recently awarded a CBE in 2012, and as a matter of convention, recipients must wait for around another five years before receiving a honour which is of higher ranking than previously received. This protocol can, and has, been overridden though, particularly if a person is gravely ill.
The creator of drama Downton Abbey, Lord Fellowes, is a member of the honours committee for arts and media. Although he refused to discuss the workings of the panel, he did say: “I think he should have been awarded a knighthood.”
Entertainers have raised the issue recently about comedians receiving honours, with many saying they are often overlooked compared with others in the entertainment industry. Sir Bruce Forsyth, who received a knighthood in 2011, is one of these who says comedians are always left out.
He said: “I don’t know why with comedy they seem to be left out. Ronnie deserves it because The Two Ronnies was one of the greatest shows we’ve ever had in this country.”
Mr Corbett always said that he found it very unlikely he would have ever been made a Knight. When asked five years ago whether he will ever be a Sir he said: “I don’t imagine I will get one, to be honest. There are others who are, perhaps, in line before me.”
The recipients of the Queen’s Birthday Honours will be released in June.