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Higgs leads awards in science

Professor Peter Higgs, the retired British physicist, has been recognised in the New Year Honours list. MI5 chief Jonathan Evans has been honoured with a knighthood, while Cherie Blair and gay rights activist Michael Cashman have been awarded a CBE.

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Gay rights activist Michael Cashman awarded CBE

Former EastEnders star Michael Cashman, left, with Paul Cottingham at their civil partnership ceremony in 2006. Credit: PA

Gay rights activist and actor-turned-politician Michael Cashman was awarded a CBE in today's New Year's Honours.

Cashman, 62, is probably best-known for delivering the first gay kiss on British prime-time TV, sparking record numbers of complaints but also many plaudits when his character Colin Russell pecked lover Barry Clark on the forehead in a 1987 episode of EastEnders.

Colin was the first homosexual character in the BBC soap, and his introduction caused huge controversy at a time when gay people were largely represented as camp figures of fun on TV.

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