BBC 100 Greatest Britons - Revisited

In the wake of the exceptional and entertaining thread by @Joke2000 about the current greatest Britons (congrats to Joke), I thought it would be interesting to revisit the list of 100 Greatest Britons compiled by the BBC, based on public votes, back in 2002.

I’ll drop the list in chunks over coming days, of course you could go and look them up yourself but why spoil the fun? There are some… interesting choices. And don’t worry, the BBC is definitely At It in a few instances.

Bringing up the rear!

  1. Henry II, king (1154–1189). Born in Le Mans, France. Although King of England (as well as many other titles), not actually British.
  2. James Clerk Maxwell, physicist. Developed the theory of electromagnetic radiation.
  3. J. R. R. Tolkien, novelist ( The Hobbit , Lord of the Rings ).
  4. Sir Walter Raleigh, Explorer. Explored in Central America and sent expeditions to North America.
  5. Edward I, king (1272–1307). The “Hammer of the Scots”. Edward turned the longbow into England’s most deadly weapon against the Scottish and French with devastating results, most notably at the Battle of Falkirk.
  6. Sir Barnes Wallis, engineer and inventor. Invented the bouncing bomb, earthquake bomb and geodetic airframe.
  7. Richard Burton, theatre and film actor.
  8. Tony Benn, politician, and diarist.
  9. David Livingstone, explorer. Discovered the origins of the Nile.
  10. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, computer scientist. Inventor of the World Wide Web.
  11. Marie Stopes, eugenicist and campaigner for women’s rights. Pioneer in the field of birth control.


This is a great idea for a thread, I’m not gonna spoil it for myself.


They also did this about 10 years ago

That’s a lot of ploglams


I vaguely remember the top end of this list, looking forward to doing some seething

They’re no Scooch, let’s face it.


There’s still time

Wasn’t the list like … 100% white? Or did I misremember?

Sounds like quite a card


Yes, there are zero black Britons on the list, and I believe only one British Asian entry.

Not as fun as Jokes list tbf.

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Kinell, had hoped I’d misremembered

Was it Zaha Hadid ?

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Nothing ever could be

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You’ll have to wait and see! (No)

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Reckon a Venn diagram of voters for this and for strictly wouldn’t be far off a circle.

Don’t know shit about this guy, but I’m taking a wild guess that “explore” is being used as a euphemism here.



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Mate, he invented chips and cigarettes


just having a wee look around