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BBC Two screened a series in 2002 placing one hundred Britons in order of greatness.

The top ten Britons in the BBC poll were:

1 Winston Churchill
2 Isambard Kingdom Brunel
3 Diana Princess of Wales
4 Charles Darwin
5 William Shakespeare
6 Isaac Newton
7 Queen Elizabeth I
8 John Lennon
9 Horatio Nelson
10 Oliver Cromwell

Each of the top ten Brits were the subject of a one-hour programme. Presenters included Jeremy Clarkson (who chose Brunel), Rosie Boycott, Michael Portillo and Andrew Marr.

A poll for the top ten greatest Britons was held throughout the series and the results announced in a programme hosted by Anne Robinson on 24th November.

The 100 had been selected by a BBC poll that elicited 30,000 votes in November and December 2001. BBC viewers came up with about 800 names in total.

Royals, pop stars and military figures featured highly in the list. Poets, artists and women were under-represented. It was understood that Churchill topped the poll that the BBC had conducted before the TV series began, followed by Shakespeare and Nelson.

Elizabeth I was among 14 royals, but was the only monarch to make it into the top 10. Scientists were represented by Alexander Fleming (20), Alan Turing, the cracker of the Enigma code (21) and Michael Faraday (22) all below Michael Crawford (17). Edward Jenner, the pioneer of vaccination and the inventor of the smallpox vaccination, and who is probably responsible for saving more lives than anyone else in history, was even further down the list.

The list of 100 included John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, a 1970s pop group. The footballer David Beckham was included for his celebrity status rather than his sporting prowess. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, was included at number 99. John Logie Baird, the inventor of the first TV, was at number 44 - one below John Peel, a DJ.

The BBC's definition of a great Briton was "anyone who was born in the British Isles, including Ireland, or who has lived in the British Isles, including Ireland, and has played a significant part in the life of the British Isles". This definition enabled the inclusion of the U2 singer Bono and Bob Geldof.

There was no place for Keats, Yeats, Wordsworth and Byron. There are three Beatles but no Rolling Stone.

Prime ministers on the list included Winston Churchill, the Duke of Wellington, Tony Blair and David Lloyd George. Margaret Thatcher was in the list at 16. Other politicians included Tony Benn, Enoch Powell were Aneurin Bevan. William Gladstone was not on the list.

Only 13 women were nominated. They included Queen Elizabeth II and the late Queen Mother. There was no place for Queen Mary I, the Bronte sisters, nor Mary, Queen of Scots. Emmeline Pankhurst and the historical rebel Boudicca were in the top 50. Diana Princess of Wales was in the top ten.

Freddie Mercury was the only person in the list with an Asian or African family background.

"It's not necessarily the 100 people we would have predicted, but that's part of the joy of it," said David Mortimer, a BBC executive producer.

Jane Root, head of BBC Two, said she hoped the list would prompt "plenty of debate". She added: "Just from talking to people, I've got a real sense of how passionately they feel about the subject."

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