A panel of six, chaired by Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, Tony Hall, has chosen The New Elizabethans who define the past six decades, for a landmark Radio 4 series to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Familiar names from the world of entertainment - such as Simon Cowell, David Attenborough, Billy Connolly, Tony Hancock and David Bowie, sit alongside politicians, Margaret Thatcher, Enoch Powell, Tony Blair, Roy Jenkins and David Trimble. And scientists such as Tim Berners Lee, Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Robert G Edwards rub shoulders with those from the creative arts - David Hockney, Francis Bacon, Roald Dahl, Salmon Rushdie and Elizabeth David. Business men and women include Anita Roddick, Alan Sainsbury, Rupert Murdoch and Fred Goodwin and the world of sport is represented by George Best and Basil D'Oliveira.
James Naughtie will write and present 60 profiles of those whose deeds the panel believe will stand the test of time and who have had the greatest impact on the people of the British Isles during the second Elizabethan period - including The Queen herself. The series will be broadcast at 12.45pm on Radio 4, Monday to Friday from June 11th until September 7th.
James says: "Working through these names is watching the history of our time flowing across a screen. Together, their stories - the connections they make with others and the trends and moments of drama they represent - make up a glittering mosaic of this country in the second half of the 20th century. What a bunch! They touch every corner of our lives, and I'm enjoying trying to capture them in words.
"They catch all the fashions and habits of our time, the great changes and the ups and downs that make us what we are. I hope that listeners to the series will find themselves looking in a mirror."
Gwyneth Williams, Controller, BBC Radio 4, says: “I’m looking forward to hearing James Naughtie’s profiles of these extraordinary individuals who have defined the modern era.”
Tony Hall, Chair of the panel says: “Working with this group of historians has been incredibly stimulating. You realise that the epoch of Queen Elizabeth II is even more exciting and interesting than that of her namesake Elizabeth I. We’re a country of pioneers.”
Tony Hall: Chair: Chief Executive, Royal Opera House
Dominic Sandbrook: Historian and author. His books include Never Had It So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles and White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties. Writes the What If... column for the New Statesman.
Sally Alexander: Professor of Modern History at Goldsmiths; research interests lie in the history of social movements, feminism in particular, London history, the history of psychoanalysis, oral history and subjectivity. Editor of History Workshop Journal since its foundation in 1976.
Bamber Gascoigne: Historian, television presenter and author. In recent years, he has established an online history encyclopaedia, called History World. His latest project is TimeSearch which presents multiple searchable timelines collected from various websites.
Max Hastings: Journalist, editor, historian and author. Former foreign correspondent for the BBC, editor of the Daily Telegraph and the London Evening Standard.
Jon Agar: Senior Lecturer in Science and Technology Studies, University College London. Research interests: History of science and technology; history of computing and information; history of noise; sociology of technology.
Maria Misra: Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Oxford specialising in the politics, culture, and economics of 19th and 20th century imperialism and colonialism. Columnist for the Times Higher Education Supplement.
The New Elizabethans (in order of transmission)
Edmund Hillary b.1919 –2008. New Zealand born mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist.
Elizabeth David b.1913 – 1992. Cookery writer.
Graham Greene b.1904 – 1991. Author, playwright and literary critic.
Michael Young b.1915-2002. Social innovator.
Vladimir Raitz b.1922 – 2010. Co-founder of the Horizon Holiday Group and pioneer of the first mass package holidays abroad via charter flights.
Francis Crick b. 1916-2004. English molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist.
Doris Lessing b.1919. Zimbabwean-British writer awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Alan Sainsbury b.1902 –1 998. Business executive and a leading member of the supermarket Sainsbury family.
Alfred Hitchcock b.1899-1980. Film director and producer.
Laurence Olivier b.1907-1989. Actor and former Artistic Director of the National Theatre.
Benjamin Britten b.1913-1976. Composer, conductor and pianist.
Dorothy Hodgkin b.1910 – 1994. Chemist.
Harold Pinter b.1930-2008. Nobel Prize winning playwright and actor.
Richard Doll b.1912 – 2005. Physiologist who became the foremost epidemiologist of the 20th century.
Tony Hancock b.1924-1968. Comedian and actor.
Philip Larkin b.1922 – 1985. Poet.
Barbara Windsor b.1937. Actress.
Alfred Denning b.1899-1999. Soldier, mathematician, lawyer and judge.
Paul Foot b.1937- 2004. Investigative journalist.
Francis Bacon b.1909 – 1992. Artist.
John Lennon/ Paul McCartney – Musicians – The Beatles.
Margot Fonteyn b.1919-1991. Ballerina.
Peter Hall b.1930. Theatre and film director, founder of RSC.
Cicely Saunders b.1918-2005. Nurse, physician and writer – prominent role in birth of hospice movement.
Basil D'Oliveira b.1931 – 2011. South African-born English cricketer.
George Best b.1946 -2005. Northern Irish footballer who played for Manchester United.
Germaine Greer b.1939. Australian writer, academic, journalist, scholar of early modern English literature and feminist voice of the later 20th century.
Robert G Edwards b.1925. Physiologist and pioneer in reproductive medicine and in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) in particular.
Jack Jones b.1913–2009. Trade union leader and General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers' Union.
Roald Dahl b.1916 – 1990. Novelist, short story writer, poet, fighter pilot and screenwriter.
David Bowie b.1947. Musician.
Talaisai Labalaba Fijian-born SAS member (one of nine SAS who, with men of the Omani forces, defended the fort at Mirbat in Oman in July 1972 from an attack by 250 communist guerrillas which continued for many hours and cost the lives of three SAS.)
Jocelyn Bell Burnell b.1943. Astrophysicist.
Roy Jenkins b.1920-2003. Politician.
Vivienne Westwood b.1941. Fashion designer.
Jayaben Desai b.1933 – 2010. Indian born prominent leader of the strikers in the Grunwick dispute in London in 1976.
Stuart Hall b.1932. Cultural theorist and sociologist.
David Attenborough b.1926. Broadcaster and naturalist.
Margaret Thatcher b.1925. Politician and longest serving PM (1979-1990) of 20th century.
David Hockney b.1937. Artist.
Billy Connolly b.1942. Scottish comedian, musician, presenter and actor.
Ralph Robins Industrialist, former CEO of Rolls Royce.
Amartya Sen b.1933. Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
Salman Rushdie b.1947. British Indian novelist and essayist.
Anita Roddick b.1942 – 2007. Businesswoman, human rights activist and environmental campaigner.
Norman Foster b.1935. Architect.
Charles Saatchi b.1943. Co-founder with his brother Maurice of the global advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi.
Goldie b.1965. Musician, DJ and artist.
John Hume/ David Trimble Joint winners of the 1998 Nobel Peace prize.
Doreen Lawrence b.1953, mother of Stephen Lawrence, teenager murdered in 1998 – campaigner for victims of race crime.
Tim Berners Lee b.1955. Computer scientist, MIT professor and the brains behind the internet.
Diana Princess of Wales b.1961-1997.
Alex Salmond b.1954. Scottish politician currently First Minister for Scotland.
Tony Blair b.1953 Labour Prime Minister from 1997- 2007, the only person to lead Labour to three consecutive victories.
Fred Goodwin b.1958. Scottish chartered accountant and former banker who was chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) between 2001-09.
Rupert Murdoch b.1931. (Australian born) American media mogul, founder and Chairman and CEO of News Corporation.
Simon Cowell b.1959. TV executive, television producer, entrepreneur and television personality.