LIVERPOOL jazz singer and raconteur George Melly is among a secret list of 300 people who have snubbed the honours system by refusing knight-hoods and other awards, a leaked report has claimed.
David Bowie, celebrity cook Nigella Lawson and comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders were also among those who have apparently refused honours.
Bowie declined a CBE in the Queen's birthday honours of 2000 while Lawson rejected an OBE offered in 2001 for her "services to journalism and to cookery".
French and Saunders turned down OBEs "for services to comedy drama" while Melly, 77, also turned down his honours during Tony Blair's period as Prime Minister.
The information, covering more than 40 years, is in secret Whitehall files leaked to a Sunday newspaper. The reasons for refusing are not recorded.
An inquiry to find the source of the leak is now under way.
Novelist JG Ballard, James Bond leading lady Honor Blackman, novelist Graham Greene, artist David Hockney, writer John le Carré, poet Robert Graves, author Aldous Huxley and writer and journalist Evelyn Waugh are also among the 300 people named.
They are joined by writer J B Priestley, novelist Anthony Powell, children's author Roald Dahl, poet Philip Larkin, as well as actors Trevor Howard and Alastair Sim.
LS Lowry, the painter, appears to have turned down more than anyone - a total of five awards including a knighthood, CBE and OBE. Actor Albert Finney not only rejected a knight-hood in 2000 but the documents show he also turned down a CBE in 1980.
Even film director Alfred Hitchcock refused a CBE in 1962, although he accepted a knighthood shortly before he died, according to the newspaper.
The list was used to warn officials that "refuseniks" should not be approached again because they have already rejected honours.
Very few of those who have refused honours have gone public to explain their position. Rastafarian poet Benjamin Zephaniah was widely criticised after he revealed he rejected an OBE because the medals symbolised colonialism and Britain's association with slavery.