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Screenwriter Peter Morgan thought CBE letter was speeding ticket

Published 30/12/2015

Peter Morgan said he was "delighted and proud" to be receiving a CBE
Peter Morgan said he was "delighted and proud" to be receiving a CBE

Screenwriter and playwright Peter Morgan said he was "delighted and proud" to receive a CBE - particularly as he thought the envelope was a speeding ticket.

The man behind Helen Mirren's portrayal of Elizabeth II in 2006's The Queen and in 2013's award-winning play The Audience has accepted the honour for services to drama.

He said: "I'm surprised, delighted and proud. Even a little embarrassed. Especially since I opened the brown envelope expecting it to be a speeding ticket."

Speed was a key theme of his most recent hit Rush, the biographical drama based on the lives of Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda, starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl.

His career success took off with the first of his Blair trilogy, television film The Deal, which saw Michael Sheen and David Morrissey as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown make a pact that would allow Blair a clear run in the 1994 Labour leadership campaign.

Sheen reprised his role in The Queen, for which Mirren won her first Oscar and for which Morgan was Oscar-nominated for best original screenplay.

Renowned US critic Roger Ebert called The Queen "a spellbinding story" and praised Morgan's writing as "intense, focused, literate, observant", making the audience privy to the intimate, behind the scenes working of the UK's most powerful families.

His triptych was completed by 2009's The Special Relationship, where Sheen starred opposite Dennis Quaid's Bill Clinton.

Sheen also collaborated on Morgan's first play Frost/Nixon, opening to rave reviews at the Donmar Warehouse in 2006, and that was turned into a film with the same cast in 2008.

Morgan's knack for turning history into box-office gold is evident in his other hits The Last King Of Scotland, The Other Boleyn Girl and The Damned United.

The story of Bristol landlord Christopher Jefferies, ravaged by the media when he was arrested by police investigating the murder of his 25-year-old tenant, Joanna Yeates, became one of Morgan's biggest successes in 2014.

The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies won two British Academy Television Awards - for best mini series and for best actor for Jason Watkins's portrayal of Jefferies - with Morgan lauded for his sensitive handling of the case.

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