Shaun the Sheep voted top BBC character

Shaun the Sheep with lasso and sheriff's hat Not just one of the herd: Shaun the Sheep

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Shaun the Sheep is top of the heap, according to a poll that asked people to nominate their favourite BBC children's character of the last 70 years.

The stop-animation character that first appeared in a 1995 Wallace and Gromit film called A Close Shave saw off competition from 1980s favourite Postman Pat and Bob the Builder.

Shaun the Sheep, made by Aardman Animations, first became a CBBC show in 2007. Shaun will also star in his own movie, made by Aardman's Nick Park next year.

BBC History manager Robert Seatter told Ariel: 'Shaun the Sheep is a worthy winner of our BBC Children's character poll, part of a BBC farmyard tradition that goes right back to Larry the Lamb.

'Save-the-day Shaun combines the quirkily British with the very universal, captures the imaginations of children and adults alike, and has all the hallmarks of Aardman Animations' inventive brio.'

Over 40,000 people took part in the poll, run in conjunction by the Radio Times and the BFI. Voters were asked to nominate their favourite BBC character from the last seven decades and also to choose an overall winner from a shortlist of 50.

Postman Pat came second, with 60-year-old puppets Sooty and Sweep taking third in overall popularity.

The stars of the Magic Roundabout topped the 1960s poll, Paddington Bear was the favourite 1970s character and Bob the Builder - which took fifth in overall popularity - was chosen the 1990s winner.

Radio Times editor Ben Preston said: 'The huge response to our poll shows how dearly we cherish our television memories of childhood. Every generation has a favourite which lingers for a lifetime.

'Our winner, Shaun the Sheep, will be remembered in 50 years' time, just as the children of the '80s voted for Postman Pat, and Sooty and Sweep remain hugely popular almost 60 years after they were first broadcast.'

The poll was inspired by an exhibition celebrating BBC children's broadcasting over the last 90 years. Here's One We Made Earlier will run at the Lowry in Salford from 19 July to 12 October. See here for more details.

Top 10 BBC children's characters as voted for in Radio Times:

1. Shaun the Sheep (2007)

2. Postman Pat (1981)

3. Sooty and Sweep (1955)

4. The Magic Roundabout (1965)

5. Bob the Builder (1998)

6. Paddington Bear (1975)

7. Camberwick Green (1966), Trumpton (1967), Chigley (1969)

8. Pingu (1986)

9. Willo the Wisp (1981)

10. The Wombles (1973)

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