Tony Robinson, famed for playing downtrodden Baldrick and scrabbling in mud for many years, has admitted he was "a little gobsmacked" after being given a knighthood.
He joked that he would be rescuing "damsels in distress" and slaughtering dragons if the need arose in light of his new title.
Robinson, 66, is best known to TV viewers for his performances in four series of Blackadder and getting stuck into archaeological digs in Time Team. But his award - his first inclusion in the honours list - has been made in recognition of his public and political service, and he said he would use his knighthood to continue his work.
He said: "I'm thrilled, flattered and a little gobsmacked to have received this recognition from my country. I'll use my new title with abandon to highlight the causes I believe in, particularly the importance of culture, the arts and heritage in our society, and the plight of the infirm elderly and their carers. I also pledge that from this day on I'll slaughter all unruly dragons, and rescue any damsels in distress who request my help."
Throughout the 1980s Robinson was famed for his portrayal of turnip-loving manservant Baldrick, with varying degrees of idiocy, naive genius and frequent claims of "I have a cunning plan", to the derision of Rowan Atkinson's Blackadder.
But alongside his roles on screen, Robinson has had a lengthy association with politics, first as a local Labour activist and later in a senior position at actors' union Equity, acting as vice president and helping to transform its fortunes. He then took a place on the Labour Party's National Executive Committee in 2000.
He later became the public face of archaeology through Channel 4's Time Team, but after around 250 digs, the station announced it was axing the series last year as a result of falling ratings.
Meanwhile, Blackadder co-star Atkinson said he was surprised when he found out he was being made a CBE. The 58-year-old, who first found fame as part of the team behind Not The Nine O'Clock News, said: "It came as a genuine surprise and is a great honour."
It was his role as the scheming Blackadder that made him a star, but the show had an unsteady start before becoming an audience favourite. The final episode, in which Atkinson's character went over the top in the First World War, is widely regarded as a classic.
It was another of his creations - the bumbling Mr Bean - that made him a truly international star. The show, which is largely silent and shows off Atkinson's skills as an old-fashioned physical comic, has been a massive worldwide hit and inspired films and a cartoon version.