View Full Version : Greatest Briton

22nd Oct 2002, 22:10
How good was Jeremy Clarkson's program on Brunel!

The line that ended with "or staring up at the departure boards wondering if you train has been built yet" had me rolling around - vintage Clarkson. Perhaps Top Gear will get better.

He's got me convinced, nearly. I'm just waiting to see how the program on Elizabeth I does justice to her contribution before casting my vote.

What do others think about the 10 Ten Greatest Britons?

Also was John Cleese in the Top 100? I missed the first few GBs.

tony draper
22nd Oct 2002, 22:33
Yeh I was going to go for Darwin or Newton, leaning toward Brunnel now.
Good prog, we dont make men like Brunel now. :(

Boss Raptor
22nd Oct 2002, 22:41
I.K. Brunel - just watched the prog...staggering...

Hope Mr. Clarkson around to do my obituary, but he's older than me...

Memo: must order big hat... :p

tony draper
22nd Oct 2002, 22:46
I did read a biography on IKB years ago but I had forgoten just how much he accomplished. ;)

22nd Oct 2002, 23:08
To paraphrase Clarkson : others dreamed, Brunel did.

He was a man who left lasting achievments. His brilliance is there for people to see 150+ years after his death. His method of thinking guides engineers now.

Guess where I went to university.

Yup, Brunel, Uxbridge. :D

Diana, one of the greatest Britons. Yukkk.

John Lennon; a good songster yes, a person who should rank amongst the greatest Britons NO.

Winston Churchill; a great war leader yes, as a person who formed Britain. No.

tony draper
22nd Oct 2002, 23:23
Anybody care to wager it will not be Pri Di, as somebody has already mentioned it tends to be the luvies and soap watchers that vote in these things.
For once in me life I am tempted to vote on one of these things, don't think it will make much difference though. ;)

22nd Oct 2002, 23:40
God, if Pri Di wins I will emigrate.........:mad: :mad:

tony draper
22nd Oct 2002, 23:55
If she does I think for once the silent minority may raise there voices.

Hersham Boy
23rd Oct 2002, 08:59
Agreed re. the Brun-meister... some serious vision going on there. Makes you proud to be a Brit.

Also on this subject, in whose universe does Michael "Ooh, Betty" Crawford come higher up the list than, say, Paul McCartney?! Am I missing somthing about the man?


Anthony Carn
23rd Oct 2002, 10:49
I don't disagree that Brunel deserves to be in the top section of a list of famous Britons.

The Clarkson programme was Clarkson at his very best, too.

But, please, I beg, consider if your opinions would change if one of the many Churchill documentaries/series was to be screened as well. Are the BBC going to favour all candidates equally?

There is no doubt in my mind that Churchill is THE greatest Briton. His faults are well documented and, yes, he was the (lucky?) right man in the right place at the right time; How lucky WE were, though, that he WAS there !

Brunel changed Great Britain for ever.

Churchill saved it ! :)

23rd Oct 2002, 11:12
There was a second programme about Brunel on last night as part of Newsnight (?) but without the Clarkson style. I only saw some of it and must say that Brunel's achievements seemed equally impressive without Jeremy's skillful presentation.

Surely, one of the measures of greatness must be based on the test of time. Will history books of the future refer to people as having made a significant contribution to the history of Britain?

For most of the top 10 the answer to this question is self evident. For Diana and John Lenon I am personally doubtful if they would pass this test although I do think some of JL's music/words will pass and may well be considered to be "great" with the passage of time. It is undeniable that they have both made a contribution within a relatively narrow field (Royal Family or music) but, in the greater scheme of things, I do not think so.

Excluding these two, I am currently finding the choice very difficult.

23rd Oct 2002, 11:29
I agree the choice is very difficult (with the exception of that Spencer woman and the hippy from Liverpool). I am currently swaying between Darwin and Brunel.

If I could vote for anyone in the top 100 then its easy. The Unknown Soldier.

Select Zone Five
23rd Oct 2002, 12:00
I suspect the greatest Briton may well be anonymous.

"The true measure of a hero is when a man lays down his life with the knowledge that those he saves...will never know" :rolleyes:

I vote with Man-on-the-fence

23rd Oct 2002, 14:04
Sorry all, the last great Briton was.....Arthur!!

After him, everyone were Angles,Saxons etc yes?

But if we are going to count them....Sir Isaac Newton for mine.

Capt Homesick
23rd Oct 2002, 15:31
Of the 10 available, I would certainly opt for Brunel- if I'd beean asked to nominate a candidate, I might have suggested James Watt.

23rd Oct 2002, 16:16
Sir Marc Brunel, Isambards father was very arguably a much better engineer than Isambard himself.

Personally, my list would have Captain Cook, Lord Nelson, Michael Faraday, Sir Marc Brunel and Frank Whittle (did he get a Sir? - I can't remember)

23rd Oct 2002, 16:36
Have to agree about Clarkson's Brunel piece - I was almost shocked at how articulate, well-written, well thought-out and well-presented is was...I had a foreign friend over for dinner last night and she too was impressed.

Without ever having heard of IKB - she said 'your country sometimes hides its achievements from the rest of the world - this man was amazing'. Personally, I'm still swaying slightly towards Churchill ,though (apart, that is from his over-indulgence of De Gaulle during WW2:mad: ). Then number three I think should be Diana*.

WxJx :cool:
*This last bit is a lie.

23rd Oct 2002, 16:51
Zone 5

Thanks, good to know that I am not alone:cool:


Newton!! One apple lands on his head and he thinks he's Einstein :D :D

Pax Vobiscum
23rd Oct 2002, 16:52
Jeremy Clarkson has certainly gone up in my estimation - a great programme last night.

But hang on - wasn't Brunel half-French, and Churchill was half-septic ... looks like it'll have to be Darwin then ;)

PS You can vote without giving the B*ggers Broadcasting Communism your 15p by using the web site BBC - Great Britons - Vote (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/programmes/greatbritons/web/index.shtml)

tony draper
23rd Oct 2002, 17:45
Thanks Pax , have submited me vote.
It is as I suspected, the prog is infected with that lowest form of humanity the luvie.
After your vote ,your asked to state how compassionate you
think your selection was, among other things.
What a load of touchy feely bollix.
I'm supprised they didn't ask if you thought your selected great was homophobic.
Feckin BBC idiots.

23rd Oct 2002, 17:51
Nope Drapes - they asked you to rate Brunel in those categories - which if he was your choice is just fine and dandy - if he wasn't then your ratings were a bit squiffy

Send Clowns
23rd Oct 2002, 18:38
A difficult choice between Brunel, Darwin and Newton, and I agree about Diana and Lennon. Perhaps shows my technocratic, scientific leaning. Rear-Adm Lord Nelson I am glad was in the top ten, having toasted his immortal memory many times in the Royal Navy, but he would lose out to the thinkers. Cromwell left some great legacies, but he was to nasty and viscious a religious bigot and tyrrant to be a top-ten contender in my view.

Diana - a woman who did some good things (her holding AIDS patients was very important for public understanding of the disease) but could be equally spoilt and selfish, or get involved in political issues she did not understand well. Now all the top ten showed their arrogance and self opinion at one time or another, but the only argument in Diana's favour is her character, so character flaws are more critical for her.

Wish Faraday had been higher, and Beckham is just another anomally due to currency, though he is an extremely good player and a decent man. Steve Redgrave is arguably our greatest sportsmen, but as one of his teammates said on Sunday's programme that should not put him in the top 100 Britons ever. I agree about Michael Crawford's position being totally bizarre.

I suspect some voters equate "Greatness" with "Oooh, I liked him when I saw him on the telly".

Finally what on Earth is Tony Benn, a washed-up poilitician still pushing a failed political philosophy doing in the top 100?

tony draper
23rd Oct 2002, 18:46
Well if it wasn't for Tony Benn we probably wouldn't have Concorde. ;)

23rd Oct 2002, 23:01
Oh, Brunel by a mile!!!

Well done Jeremy Clarkson as well, especially the bit with the basket.

By a bizarre turn of fate, I was watching the programme whilst ensconsed in the Clifton Gorge Hotel in Bristol. When it had finished, I went outside and looked at the Clifton Suspension Bridge. And marvelled.

This morning, I cast the demands of paid employment to one side and went to have a good look at the SS Great Britain. And marvelled again.

Finally, my homeward journey took me through the Severn Tunnel. Is there no end to the man's talents or to his impact on our world today?

Churchill was a great man, but, in the harsh light of day, only as great as Roosevelt allowed him to be.

IKB lived by, and is remembered for, his sheer natural genius.

Only Nelson can rival him, IMHO.

24th Oct 2002, 00:22
Well, IKB for me so far.

Clarkson has his detractors (I'm a huge fan myself), so it was interesting to see him run without his some his usual tools e.g. unforgiving derision.

As for the other nominees, ummmm. I'll wait to be convinced.

And Tony Benn in the top 100? Well probably not the greatest, but hey - as the only politician who really challenged Ali G, and saw the funny side afterwards - reeeeeeeeeeeespect. Wikkid. And we like Concorde. :)

24th Oct 2002, 14:22
Brunel has to be up there. But from my point of view the greatest should be someone who has had the greatest and lasting influence on the world as a whole. On that point both Darwin and Shakespeare score heavily. Both would easily make it into the top ten greatest people in the world ever.

On the whole I tend towards Shakespeare, in part because of his continuing influence even after all these years.

Brunel despite all his achievments had little enough influence outside Britain.

Grim Reaper 14
24th Oct 2002, 16:14
Ronnie Corbett

tony draper
24th Oct 2002, 17:06
Agreed Basil, I think the way it has been done is flawed.
Re Darwin, as said in a earlier post I have in the past read biographies of most of the people in the top ten, with the exception of Princess Di and John Lennon who do not belong there anyway in my book, they were just showbiz..
A prog last nght on bbc2 about Darwin did reminded me the man was a bit of a moral coward.
It seems to me he was persuaded to publish because it looked like Wallace was going to pip him at the post.
I think Wallace has been poorly served by history.

Anthony Carn
2nd Nov 2002, 12:30
Has anyone else given up voting ?

I'm willing to accept that this could be a case of "If you don't agree with me, then I'm not playing", but, for crying out loud, Princess Di ? What a strange, superficially minded nation we must be !


tony draper
2nd Nov 2002, 12:36
I didn't realise you could vote for the same person more than once,
According to that irritating nerk Snow you can vote every time one of the programs is on, unless I have misunderstood it.
I agree I will be furious if bludy Di wins.

Anthony Carn
2nd Nov 2002, 14:08

Under History, click Great Britons

Click How to Vote

Says :

Who can I vote for -> any of the top ten

When can I vote -> once per platform between programmes

I've voted every time for the same person with no hiccoughs, but tell me if I'm incorrect, someone please. It IS quite ambiguous/badly laid out !


Anthony Carn
22nd Nov 2002, 07:38
Annoying (IMHO) voting shambles about to come to a close. Final result on Sunday, which I'll avoid !

However, the programme I've been waiting for is on tonight -- 22 Nov. time 2100 on BBC2 -- CHURCHILL !

Hmm ! Perhaps I should have headed this post "Advertisement Feature" -- apologies (but only small ones). :p

22nd Nov 2002, 08:26
Gawd almighty:rolleyes:

Just had a quick squize over the list. Boy George, Diana, David Bowie! Forsooth. If these are included in the top 100 Britons, I'm damn glad I left for other shores many moons ago.

The list could be endless, without including popular icons. People who have REALLY contributed. The result is going to be somewhat interesting methinks.:(

22nd Nov 2002, 21:32
My God! Anyone would expect Clarkson to be one of the "Greatest Britons" the way you all sing his praises.

Didn't you ever read him in Fast Lane - immature, xenophobic, and prone to using profanity whenever he thought it would impress the teenage readership.

Mind you, I am of Lancashire extraction (my greatest Briton being Dixie Dean) and Clarkson of course is from Doncaster- therefore being one who (metaphorically) bats for the other side.

22nd Nov 2002, 21:41
Er -

I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but isn't this show designed as entertainment?

If you want a serious answer to the question, you will find a public library in most towns and villages in this country. Then you can read scores of opinions and make up your own mind.

After all, you wouldn't want to be part of the dumbing-down process.

Would you?


tony draper
22nd Nov 2002, 21:58
Some of the cases for the greatest Briton have been very poorly presented, most of them downright boring.
I include the one I am watching at the moment Churchill, being presented by Mo Molem, a lady I normaly like.
I admit to a liking for Clarkson , and I have to say his presentation of the case for Brunnel being the greatest Brit, was the best by far.
I suspect people who had never even heard of Brunnel are voting for him,because of Clarksons program, not that that should suprise us in this day and age, presentaton is everything.

Anthony Carn
23rd Nov 2002, 08:28
Dissapointing Churchill programme (sorry, Mo). Enjoyed, as always, listening to the speeches (or painfully short clips from), but amazed that they left out his "Goodnight" message of Oct 40 to the defeated French -- one of his best !

Wish they'd repeat some of the Churchill documentary series form the 60's etc; I'll ask when I write in to complain about the voting shambles.

You could sell me an hour-long video of that Spitfire just flying around without any commentary -- beautiful ! :)

23rd Nov 2002, 10:26
it makes me wonder who it is that have actually nominated these people in the first place.
having Boy George in the top 100 is a bit like saying Joe Dolce's "Shuddap yer face" is one of the best songs of all time.
:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: