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29 October 2014
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Anne Robinson on Princess Diana in Radio Times

As the BBC prepares to embark on its massive 'Great Britons' television project, Anne Robinson, who hosts the first programme in the six-week BBC2 series that aims to find the most influential British person of all time, reveals exclusively in next week's Radio Times that she is dumbfounded by certain nominees already put forward by the public.

Of Diana, Princess of Wales' inclusion, Robinson says: "To regard her as a great Briton seems to be absurd. It's interesting how easily she manipulated public opinion. Every time her popularity dropped, she hit another hospice. I cheered her at times because it was rather wonderful to see her make a dog's dinner of the dignity of the royal family."

"I don't do royalty as a matter of principle, ever since the Duke of Edinburgh asked me to help him give out the awards (Duke of Edinburgh Awards) and I said I'd only do it if he came and did a couple of Weakest Links." Not surprisingly, the Duke turned her down.

Asked also about the lack of Asian or black Britons in the list, Robinson replies: "You can't say how disgraceful it is that there are so few blacks or Asians, without reminding everybody that it reflects history."

More than 30,000 BBC viewers voted by phone and internet last year to produce the top 100 list of their great Britons. High-profile supporters of the individuals occupying the top ten places will now champion their candidates in twice weekly hour-long programmes. Jeremy Clarkson and Andrew Marr are just two of the personalities who will be trying to persuade us that their Briton deserves to be voted number one.

The exact identities of the ten individuals short-listed for overall glory will be revealed by Robinson next Sunday and public voting will continue throughout the series.

Robinson assembled her own top ten especially for Radio Times. Her list, which omits men and monarchs, sees Jane Austen, author of 'Pride and Prejudice', take the top spot - with Margaret Thatcher coming a close second. Other great Britons on Robinson's list include Enid Blyton and Elizabeth David.

This interview is taken from the 19 -25 October issue of Radio Times, on sale on Tuesday 15 October.



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