Set in a churchyard and handcrafted by a master blacksmith, it is a typically British version of the Hollywood walk of fame. One hundred and two stars of stage and screen are to be honored tomorrow when an “avenue of the stars” is opened in the grounds of St Paul’s church, Covent Garden.
Actors, comedians, musicians, and newsreaders including Dame Judi Dench, Alan Bennett, Michael Caine, Sir Ian McKellen, Robbie Williams, John Cleese and Sir Trevor McDonald will be given a five-pointed silver star set in the pavement.
The ceremonial opening of the walkway will feature on ITV as part of the channel’s 50th birthday celebrations and will include Cleese and Ricky Gervais meeting for the first time to present each other with the award in California, where both are currently working.
Unlike other countries’ walks of fame, London’s also honors deceased greats, including Cary Grant, Dirk Bogarde, Tony Hancock and Errol Flynn.
But as with any award, the choice is not without controversy. Selected by a panel of experts from the entertainment industry, including Michael Grade, there are only two black recipients of a star: McDonald and Lenny Henry, who pointed out the fact in his acceptance speech.
Organisers promise to add more stars over the coming years – but no wobbly handprints, in case litigious fans trip up.