The Great Honour That Is Most Certainly Not Beyond Our Ken...

Belfast Telegraph, 20 June 2012

By Gail Walker
* Thanks Paula

If there's anyone who deserves a knighthood it is our very own Kenneth Branagh.

The new Sir Ken has often faced stern critics who have slated the Belfast-born actor with failing to live up to 'the New Sir Laurence Olivier' tag given to him in the early days of his career, as well as being 'a bit of luvvie'. And this for a man who has produced outstanding work on stage, been involved with memorable screen adaptations of Shakespeare, major television work - and more, showing that you can be true to your own light despite the temptations of fame.

In whatever medium and genre he has been involved, Branagh has never been less than brave in his career choices.

Can you think of a prominent screen actor who so obviously relished directing the box office smash 'Thor'? Or one willing to risk derision - as witnessed by his involvement in the frankly less than acceptable 'The Boat That Rocked'. And for a 'luvvie' Branagh shows astonishly few traits of the condition: never a diva, he always seems a pleasure to interview - courteous, candid, charming. He doesn't backbite and accepts brickbats and praise with equanimity. Last, but by no means least, he has always been proud of his working class Belfast roots without reducing this city to some of hoary, old cliché.

In other words, he has always done himself - and us - proud.

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