Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The Great and the Good

While Britain chose Churchill (despite the Daily Mail's annual lament that an implausible percentage of the population think he was the nodding dog off the adverts), and Russians (as announced yesterday) opted for Braveheart-esque folk hero Alexander Nevsky, the various global versions of the BBC's Great Britons have turned up some interesting results.

As you might expect, France picked De Gaulle, Germans chose Adenauer (after having been expressly forbidden to nominate Nazis) and South Africa voted for Mandela, but the Portuguese version was won overwhelmingly, and rather disturbingly, by former military dictator Antonio Salazar. Spain's version was servile, selecting the current king above Cervantes and Columbus, and voting both his wife and son into the top 10 for good measure.

As a sign that the public can't always be trusted, Romanians voted Vlad the Impaler into 12th, 2 places behind adolescent gymnast Nadia Comaneci. New Zealand predictably struggled to find 100 people to fill the list, topped by Ernest Rutherford. Russell Crowe ranked 100th, beaten by a pioneer of bungy jumping, a safe sex campaigner and the man who invented jogging.

The last word on these fascinating and bizarre personality contests: In the results for The Greatest American, Thomas Jefferson came 12th. 6 places above him - George W. Bush.

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