TWO reveals the ten greatest Britons of all time
Queen Elizabeth I makes it but our current Queen doesn't. Winston
Churchill is in but our present Prime Minister doesn't get our vote.
John Lennon hits the right note but Paul McCartney doesn't make
the top ten.
BBC today announced the ten greatest Britons of all time, as voted
for by the British public. They feature in BBC TWO's major new series,
Great Britons which starts on Sunday 20 October at 9.00pm.
roll of honour includes many hugely respected figures from Britain's
past including William Shakespeare, Horatio Nelson and Charles Darwin.
wide-ranging list includes engineers, scientists, royals, writers
and military figures, although a few eyebrows may have been raised
over the inclusion of the more contemporary figures, John Lennon
and Diana, Princess of Wales.
top ten Great Britons, in alphabetical order - together with their
on-screen champions - is as follows:
Kingdom Brunel - Jeremy Clarkson
Winston Churchill - Mo Mowlam
Cromwell - Richard Holmes
Charles Darwin - Andrew
Princess of Wales - Rosie Boycott
Queen Elizabeth I - Michael Portillo
Lennon - Alan Davies
Nelson -Lucy Moore
Newton - Tristram Hunt
Shakespeare - Fiona Shaw
the next five weeks, ten high-profile presenters, including Mo Mowlam,
Michael Portillo and Alan Davies each spend one hour passionately
arguing the case for their chosen Great Briton in the hope of convincing
viewers to vote for their choice.
only one name can come out on top and there'll be no holds barred
as the presenters use their powers of persuasion to the full.
battle of the Britons commences on Tuesday 22 October at 9.00pm
on BBC TWO when Jeremy Clarkson makes an impassioned case for Isambard
Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859).
will be able to vote throughout the series and Peter Snow will be
appearing with regular updates after each biographical film is broadcast.
presenters then come together at the end of the series for one last
chance to convince the voters in a live studio debate and the greatest
Briton of all time as voted for by BBC viewers will be announced,
live, by Anne Robinson.
Root, Controller of BBC TWO, says: "I think the top ten is
a really interesting mix of contenders and we've got some fantastic
presenters all desperate for their Great Briton to win so we're
in for a really exciting competition.
hope people all around the country will be moved by the passion
in their argument and will join in the debate and get voting!"
Briton is defined as anyone who was born in the British Isles, including
Ireland; or anyone who lived in the British Isles, including Ireland,
and who has played a significant part in the life of the British
top 100 was arrived at following a BBC poll last Autumn. The BBC
launched a publicity campaign and ran a series of trails asking
people to nominate their greatest Briton of all time by phone or
through the BBC website.
Over 30,000 people responded and the results were
collated. From this we have the top 100 that will be counted down
in order from 100-11 in the Great Britons launch programme on Sunday
20 October, followed by the announcement of the top ten in alphabetical
How to vote for your Great Briton
can vote for who they believe to be the greatest Briton, from the
top ten, from the end of the launch programme on 20 October.
They can vote by phoning 090 11 22 1066, BBCi on the internet at
or via the BBCi interactive service on digital TV by pressing the
red button during or immediately after each programme or by pressing
the text button at any other time.
Viewers will also be able to rate the Great Britons in a number
of categories including their compassion, bravery and legacy.
Snow will be giving a brief update on how the voting is going at
the end of each programme and viewers can check out the latest voting
and rating results at any time on the website or through interactive
is one vote per programme per computer, phoneline or set top box.
Great Britons on the web - www.bbc.co.uk/greatbritons
well as being able to place your vote and check out the results
so far, the website contains a lot of additional material including
the lowdown on all the top ten, with related links and biographies;
a message board giving viewers and voters the chance to defend their
Great Briton; competitions and a special version of the classic
playground pastime, Great Britons Trumps, where you can compare
scientists, monarchs, pop stars and more!
You'll also be able to send an e-card of your Greatest Briton to
a friend eg "Mine's Shakespeare . . . who's yours?"
A special project has also been set up with UK libraries enabling
library users to vote from special computer terminals in their library.
Great Britons on digital television and digital cable
of these platforms will be able to vote using their remote controls
from the comfort of their sofas.
can vote for their favourite Briton and rate each candidate on five
criteria of greatness.
And using a unique graphics with real time analysis
of all the votes, viewers will be kept in touch with who's winning,
who's losing and how the public rates each of the Great Britons.
Notes to Editors
Great Britons - Diana now
in first place (30.10.02)
Great Britons: over 170,000
vote in the first 48 hours (23.10.02)
TWO reveals the nation's top 100 Greatest Britons of all time
complete list of the top 100