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William a fan of Gavin And Stacey


Actress Sheridan Smith will collect her OBE from the Duke of Cambridge in an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace

Actress Sheridan Smith will collect her OBE from the Duke of Cambridge in an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace

Actress Sheridan Smith will collect her OBE from the Duke of Cambridge in an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace

The Duke of Cambridge has revealed he was a fan of the hit show Gavin And Stacey as he presented one of its stars Sheridan Smith with an OBE.

The celebrated actress was honoured for a varied career that has included appearances in popular TV sitcoms, West End musicals and serious dramas that have earned her a Bafta and two Olivier Awards.

Smith was overcome with emotion during the Buckingham Palace ceremony which left her shaking and said the OBE was something she would "absolutely treasure".

The actress played down her achievements during her brief chat with William, she said: "I did say I don't feel as worthy as so many of the recipients, but thank you so much, it's a huge honour.

"He said he'd seen some of my work, which is amazing, and was a fan of Gavin And Stacey.

"And I congratulated him on his wonderful children and he shook my hand and I was shaking - it's all a bit of a blur. It was a huge honour and I will absolutely treasure this, I can't quite believe it.

"I just do my acting, it's what I love doing, I never ever expected to get an OBE so this is absolutely indescribable."

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The 33-year-old actress started in showbusiness early, joining her parents' country and western duo on stage as they gigged in pubs and clubs around her native Lincolnshire.

Smith got her first real break in the business when she moved to London aged 16 for a part in the stage show Bugsy Malone.

Early TV success included minor parts in The Royle Family and Gavin And Stacey, as well as a more long-running role playing Janet in Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps.

Her career really took off in 2011 when her performance in the musical Legally Blonde won her an Olivier Award.

More stage success - and another Olivier - followed for her performance in the revival of Terrence Rattigan's Flare Path and she took on weighty roles in Hedda Gabler and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

On the small screen, she won plaudits and a Bafta for her performance as the eponymous Mrs Biggs and also played Cilla Black in an ITV biopic.

Her portrayal of the Liverpudlian singer was so successful that it sent her version of Anyone Who Had A Heart into the Top 40.

The actress' recent role as cancer blogger Lisa Lynch in the BBC1 drama The C Word has also earned her praise and she was sporting short dark hair - a result of having shaved her head for the part.

Smith said the characters she had played were all great opportunities which had led her to the OBE.

She said: "I love being able to try different roles and I think it's good to challenge yourself. To me I feel so lucky, I keep pinching myself every role I get, I've got that working mentality where every job's a bonus.

"I've just plodded along, I've done a lot of comedy, then some dramas have come my way and some musical theatre and some straight plays.

"I just feel very lucky that I've been given those opportunities and if I hadn't been given those opportunities I certainly wouldn't be collecting an OBE today."

Also recognised during the investiture ceremony was award-winning stage and set designer Esmeralda Devlin, who was also awarded an OBE.

She has created elaborate sets for artists like Lady Gaga, Muse, Jay-Z and Kanye West, worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and English National Opera, and created the setting for the 2012 Olympic closing ceremony.

She has just completed a stage design for U2's new world tour and is finishing the set for a production of Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

The designer said: "I've just returned from Vancouver, where we've just opened the U2 tour and I will got straight back into final preparations for Benedict Cumberbatch's production Hamlet, and as soon as I've had a glass of champagne I will be returning to my studio to complete the last details.

"I believe Prince William is a music fan so he was talking about the Olympic closing ceremony and he was fascinated to see the U2 concert."

Speaking about Hamlet, she added: "We've been working on it for about a year and are still putting the finishing details to it.

"Funnily we're working out the exact heights of some of the architectural details, so I was in the Palace, standing next to bits of architrave and moulding, measuring them against my shoulder as a final piece of detail to feed into the design."

Also recognised during the Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony was David Collier, who stepped down as chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board last summer after a successful 10-year spell, and who received an OBE.

During that time England won four Ashes series - including Down Under for the first time in almost a quarter of a century in 2010/11 - and the women's team also had four memorable Ashes victories.

England also went to the top of the International Cricket Council Test rankings in 2012, again for the first time, but have since slipped dramatically from that position.

There was also a first win in an ICC global tournament on Mr Collier's watch, at the 2010 World Twenty20 in the West Indies. Off the pitch, Mr Collier played a key role in the lucrative sale of live television rights to a subscription-based broadcaster.

Recalling the highlights of his tenure, Mr Collier said: "Well, I think obviously winning eight Ashes series in those 10 years, winning the world T20 in Barbados, becoming the number one side in the world.

"But (also) the progress we have made in women's and disabilities cricket and the rise in participation.

"So that was all thanks to a very strong team in place at Lord's and to take us to the top on the field and the top off the field in terms of some of the financial performances I think is great credit to the team at Lord's."

Asked to comment on the continuing row over cricketer Kevin Pietersen and the decision not to include him in the England side, he replied: "That is something for the new team now to deal with, I just wish them well in dealing with that."

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