Greatest Britons

In 2002, the BBC conducted a poll to find out whom the British public considered the greatest British people in history. You can read the Wikipedia article about it here and see the full list of the top 100, in order, here.

On Friday 18th May 2012, the QuizQuizQuiz Friday Quiz asked for people to name any 5 of the top 10. (If you want to be on the mailing list for the Friday Quiz, sign up here). We’ve taken a look at the results from our quiz, and compared them to the BBC survey. At the bottom of this post I’ve pasted the results, showing those who were mentioned more than once in the responses on the Friday Quiz.

Bearing in mind that we weren’t asking people to list their 5 Greatest Britons, we were asking them to try and remember any 5 of the top 10 from the BBC poll, here are a few observations:

  • Stephen Fry came 17th in our list, but was unranked back in 2002.
  • The Queen came 7th in our list, but only 24th in 2002.
  • Sir Christopher Wren came 24th in our list, but was unranked in the BBC poll (which is pretty extraordinary, considering some of the people who were in the top 100 on the BBC list like Tony Blair and Robbie Williams).
  • Scooby-Doo, Albert Einstein and Christopher Columbus were on our list, but not on the BBC list, but none of them are/were British so that seems reasonable – I imagine they would all have been in the list otherwise.

Here is the list from our Friday Quiz:

QQQ Rank Name BBC Poll
1 Winston Churchill 1
2 Isambard Kingdom Brunel 2
3 William Shakespeare 5
4 Isaac Newton 6
5 Charles Darwin 4
6 Princess Diana 3
7 The Queen 24
8 Lord Nelson 9
8 Margaret Thatcher 16
10 Queen Victoria 18
11 Charles Dickens 41
12 Elizabeth I 7
12 David Beckham 33
14 John Lennon 8
15 Oliver Cromwell 10
15 Richard Branson 85
17 Stephen Fry unranked
17 Florence Nightingale 52
17 Alexander Graham Bell 57
17 Henry VIII 40
21 George Stephenson 65
21 Stephen Hawking 25
21 Bobby Moore 69
24 The Unknown Warrior 76
24 Steven Redgrave 36
24 Walter Raleigh 93
24 Francis Drake 49
24 Alexander Fleming 20
24 Jane Austen 70
24 David Attenborough 63
24 Christopher Wren unranked
24 Albert Einstein not British
33 Robbie Williams 77
33 Neville Chamberlain unranked
33 Tom Jones unranked
33 Scooby Do not British
33 Richard Hammond unranked
33 Christopher Columbus not British
33 Alan Turing 21
33 Francis Crick unranked
33 Boudica 35
33 Bob Geldof 75
33 John Logie Baird 44
33 John Peel 43
33 Robert Baden Powell 13
33 Del Boy unranked
33 WG Grace unranked
33 JK Rowling 83
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