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Who’s who in greatest Britons poll

SCOTS JK Rowling and Robert the Bruce were named as two of the 100 greatest Britons of all time today - in a poll which also also honours Robbie Williams while missing out poet William Wordsworth. Other Scots listed in the national survey include penicillin pioneer Alexander Fleming, TV inventor John Logie Baird, African explorer David Livingston and Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone.

Royals, scientists and soldiers dominate the list compiled in a national poll, while most of those still living are from the world of music.

Veteran radio DJ John Peel made it - but artist John Constable and poet Wordsworth have failed to make the grade in the search.

The Top Ten of the top 100 will be disclosed over the coming weeks as enthusiastic supporters try to convince viewers of their worth in a series of programmes on BBC2.

The list was unveiled today to launch the station’s autumn season and gives a fascinating insight into what people value in their "greats."

The right-wing politician Enoch Powell, whose famous "rivers of blood" speech polarised opinions, makes it, but Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson is not on the list.

Diana, Princess of Wales, whose death touched the world, is in the 100, but she is not accompanied by her former husband the Prince of Wales.

David Attenborough is the only TV presenter and Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Michael Crawford the only actors. Legends of the stage and screen John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier and Alec Guinness go unmentioned.

While Britons are renowned for their sense of humour, Goons Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe have been snubbed. Eric Morecambe and Charlie Chaplin are the only comedy greats.

Three of the Beatles make it into the top 100, but Ringo Starr failed to drum up enough support. Aleister Crowley, once seen as the most evil man alive and a figure featured on the band’s Sgt Pepper sleeve, has somehow been chosen.

John Lydon makes it on to the list of national treasures, alongside the royals that he mocked when as Johnny Rotten, frontman for the Sex Pistols, he sang God Save The Queen.

A fifth of the 100 are from the world of science, engineering and invention, such as William Caxton, responsible for the printing press, and Barnes Wallace, who invented the bouncing bomb.

Yet there is a major absence of visual artists. No Constable, Turner or Moore. Poetry is also overlooked, yet Harry Potter creator Ms Rowling and Chaucer are there as champions of the written word.

Royal entries include the Queen and the Queen Mother. They make up 14 of the names if Boudicca and Scottish king Robert the Bruce are included.

Military heroes and leaders are popular, with Winston Churchill, the Duke of Wellington, Horatio Nelson, Owain Glyndwr, Lawrence of Arabia and Field Marshal Montgomery listed. Poignantly the Unknown Soldier is there too.

Only 22 are still alive and only two of those are sports stars - David Beckham and five-time Olympic hero Sir Steve Redgrave.

Organisers of the poll allowed people from the British Isles, and hence Irish star Bono - real name Paul Hewson - from U2 is listed.

The Top Ten will be announced by Anne Robinson this autumn in BBC2’s Great Britons, a series in which viewers will again have a chance to vote for their all-time great after seeing films about the short-listed few fronted by figures such as Jeremy Clarkson, Rosie Boycott and Andrew Marr.

Over 30,000 people responded to the poll, conducted last year. The top 100, revealed today in alphabetical order, shows the British public has very exacting standards: scientists, soldiers and royals are the most likely to be considered "great".

BBC2 controller Jane Root said: "I think there are a few surprises in the Top 100 and it will be fascinating to see who has made it into the Top Ten.

"I’m sure this series will arouse enthusiastic debate in offices and homes all around the country. Just from talking to people I’ve got a real sense of how passionately they feel about the subject and who they feel is worthy of the title of Great Briton."

An exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery will accompany the series.

The Hot Hundred of the top Brits

Alfred the Great. Andrews, Julie. (King) Arthur. Attenborough, David. Austen, Jane.

Babbage, Charles. (Lord) Baden Powell. Bader, Douglas. Beckham, David. Bell, Alexander Graham. Benn, Tony. Berners Lee, Tim. Bevan, Aneurin. Blair, Tony. Blake, William. Booth, William. Boudicca. Bowie, David. Branson, Sir Richard. Bruce, Robert. Brunel, Isambard Kingdom. Burton, Richard.

Campbell, Donald. Caxton, William. Chaplin, Charlie. Chaucer, Geoffrey. Cheshire, Leonard. Churchill, Winston. Connelly, James. Cook, Captain James. Crawford, Michael. Cromwell, Oliver.

Darwin, Charles. Diana, Princess of Wales. Dickens, Charles. Drake, Francis.

Edward I. Elgar, Edward. Elizabeth I. Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

Faraday, Michael. Fawkes, Guy. Fleming, Alexander.

Geldof, Bob. Glyndwr, Owain.

Harrison, George. Harrison, John. Hawking, Stephen. Henry II. Henry V. Henry VIII. Hewson, Paul (Bono).

Jenner, Edward.

Lawrence, TE. Lennon, John. Livingstone, David. Lloyd George, David. Logie Baird, John. Lydon, John (Johnny Rotten).

Maxwell, James Clerk. McCartney, Sir Paul. Mercury, Freddie. Montgomery. Moore, Bobby. More, Thomas. Morecambe, Eric.

Nelson, Horatio. Newton, Isaac. Nightingale, Florence.

O’Dowd, George (Boy George).

Paine, Thomas. Pankhurst, Emmeline. Peel, John. Powell, Enoch.

Raleigh, Walter. Redgrave, Sir Steve. Richard III. Richard, Sir Cliff. Rowling, JK.

Scott, Captain Robert Falcon. Shackleton, Ernest. Shakespeare, William. Stephenson, George. Stopes, Marie.

Thatcher, Margaret. Tindale, William. Tolkien, JRR, Turing, Alan.

(Queen) Victoria.

Wallace, William. Wallis, Barnes. Watt, James. (Duke of) Wellington. Wesley, John. Whittle, Frank. Wilberforce, William.

 
 
 

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