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24 September 2014
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Victory for Churchill as he wins the battle of the Britons

Winston Churchill was voted the greatest Briton ever in the much-awaited result of the BBC poll which has seen the nation engaged in passionate debate.

In the last six weeks the great debate, which reached its climax in a live studio discussion broadcast on BBC TWO last night (Sunday 24 November), has generated more than one and a half million votes.

The final breakdown of votes is as follows:

Total votes: 1,622,248

1. Churchill 456,498

2. Brunel 398,526

3. Diana 225,584

4. Darwin 112,496

5. Shakespeare 109,919

6. Newton 84,628

7. Elizabeth 71,928

8. Lennon 68,445

9. Nelson 49,171

10 Cromwell 45,053

Speaking after the results were announced Mo Mowlam, who championed Churchill, said: "Churchill was the greatest and I'm absolutely delighted that the public agree with me.

"He was the greatest Briton because he showed the determination and courage to protect Britain from invasion and without his inspiring leadership the outcome of World War II may have been very different. He was the choice of the people."

In second place in the BBC poll was Brunel, who was advocated by Jeremy Clarkson.

Gracious in the face of defeat, he said: "Although it's disappointing, I'd like to thank everyone who voted for Brunel as it's still a tremendous triumph for engineering.

"I reckon an enormous amount of votes from America helped win it for Churchill - Americans have once again interfered in our affairs!"

Not far behind in third place was Diana, Princess of Wales.

Rosie Boycott was happy that Diana had done so well given such auspicious competition: "I'm absolutely thrilled that Diana came so high up the poll. It's an extraordinary triumph of compassion and love over other types of greatness.

"Many people have expressed surprise that Diana is even in the top ten but this is the people's choice, not a list drawn up by boffins."

The series was the idea of Jane Root, Controller of BBC TWO.

She said: "I'm really pleased that this series has so captured the public's imagination and have been delighted by the level of interest and debate generated.

"More than a million and a half votes have been cast and it's become a major talking point, from the pub and the classroom, to the House of Commons.

"I think it's great that figures from our past continue to inspire such a passionate response and I really believe that television plays a fantastic role in keeping them alive for today's audiences."

Andrew Marr's natural selection for Great Briton was Charles Darwin who came fourth in the final result.

He said: "I've watched with enormous personal amusement the hoards of newspapers columnists who've attacked Great Britons and yet have found themselves writing about it again and again: this is what the BBC does best, educating our country in an unpompous, accessible yet serious way."

All profits made from voting up to the final programme will be spent on a work of art to commemorate the greatest Briton as voted for by BBC viewers.

A short list of artists will be drawn up in the next few days and they will be asked to submit their ideas.

All profits made from the final programme will be given to BBC Children In Need.

Notes to Editors

The final tally of results is slightly higher than that given out at the end of the programme last night because it was not possible to collate all the results from Digital Satellite voting in time for the announcement.

It was absolutely clear when making the announcement that these votes would not have affected the final result but we have now added them in for clarity.

Photographs, for media use only, are available via the BBC's digital picture service in Special Folder, Great Britons or from PA.

Great Britons - who is the Greatest of them all? (21.11.02)

BBC TWO reveals the ten greatest Britons of all time (19.10.02)

BBC TWO reveals the nation's top 100 Greatest Britons of all time (21.08.02)



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