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  Great Britons

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The material for this lesson below is taken from the BBC site. They ran a competition to see who were the most popular Britons.

The material could be used with most levels. It lends itself to discussion work, & the practice of comparative & superlative adjectives, plus descriptive vocabulary - see the categories below.

If you have difficulties with the people there are links on most of the top ten names below to biographical information on the BBC site. To go to the index of historical figures

Here are a few ideas for using the materials:

1. Warmer - ask stds to think of a famous person they admire - they then stand up & mingle & introduce themselves as that person.

2. Brainstorm famous people in their country - in an English-speaking country, sit them next to others from different countries for them to explain who the people are.

3. Give out the names & mini-photos of the top ten winners (you'll need to download them from the site) & the stds match them up - this could be very difficult.

4. Go through each person, clarifying their accomplishments - there is a link on each person which will take you to the BBC site for biographical information.

5. You could use snippets of this biographical info as a reading - a matching of name & biog.

4. Stds could put the people in order - 1 >> 10, predicting the results of the competition.

5. Give the competition order & stds discuss why it ended like that.

6. Stds vote on famous people from their country. You could used the categories that were used in the BBC votings: Legacy, Genius, Leadership, Bravery & Compassion.


Stds discuss who should be in the top ten from their country. You could 'pyramid' the discussion - pairs decide & then two pairs together to share info & come to an agreement, then two groups of four together to come to an agreement together again.

Other ideas:

• Usable messages on the message board linked to the BBC pages where listeners give their opinions of the results.

• You could use the whole list 1-100 for speaking practice. Stds could choose a person & describe them with the others guessing who it might be.

• Discuss why some made the list - pop stars etc...

• It could be used for project work - choose people they might find interesting & allocate one to each std who goes away to research that person & comes back to explain them to the class.

The Final Top Ten
Here is the final Top Ten and the percentages of the vote each received.

456,498 (28.1%)
398,526 (24.6%)
3 Diana
225,584 (13.9%)
112,496 (6.9%)
109,919 (6.8%)
84,628 (5.2%)
71,928 (4.4%)
8 Lennon
68,445 (4.2%)
49,171 (3%)
45,053 (2.8%)


Ratings results for Winston Churchill

Legacy 8

Genius 7

Leadership 9

Bravery 8

Compassion 6


The Top 100 Great Britons

30,000 people nominated their Greatest Britons last year, resulting in the Top Ten featured in the series.

On the site, you can click on the links next to the person for more info on the people that didn't quite make the Top Ten.

The definition of a 'Great Briton' for the purposes of the nominations was: anyone who was born in the British Isles, including Ireland; or anyone who lived in the British Isles, including Ireland, and who has played a significant part in the life of the British Isles.

11 Ernest Shackleton
12 Captain James Cook
13 Lord Baden-Powell
14 King Alfred the Great
15 Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
16 Margaret Thatcher (Baroness Thatcher)
17 Michael Crawford
18 Queen Victoria
19 Sir Paul McCartney
20 Sir Alexander Fleming
21 Alan Turing OBE
22 Michael Faraday
23 Owain Glyndwr
24 Queen Elizabeth II
25 Professor Stephen Hawking
26 William Tyndale
27 Emmeline Pankhurst
28 William Wilberforce
29 David Bowie
30 Guy Fawkes
31 Leonard Cheshire (Baron Cheshire of Woodall)
32 Eric Morecambe OBE
33 David Beckham
34 Thomas Paine
35 Boudicca
36 Sir Steve Redgrave
37 Sir Thomas More
38 William Blake
39 John Harrison
40 King Henry VIII
41 Charles Dickens
42 Sir Frank Whittle
43 John Peel
44 John Logie Baird
45 Aneurin Bevan
46 Boy George
47 Sir Douglas Bader
48 William Wallace
49 Sir Francis Drake
50 John Wesley
51 King Arthur
52 Florence Nightingale
53 TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
54 Captain Robert Falcon Scott
55 Enoch Powell
56 Sir Cliff Richard
57 Sir Alexander Graham Bell
58 Freddie Mercury
59 Dame Julie Andrews
60 Edward Elgar
61 Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
62 George Harrison
63 Sir David Attenborough
64 James Connolly
65 George Stephenson
66 Sir Charles (Charlie) Chaplin
67 Tony Blair
68 William Caxton
69 Bobby Moore OBE
70 Jane Austen
71 William Booth
72 King Henry V
73 Aleister Crowley
74 King Robert the Bruce
75 Bob Geldof KBE
76 The Unknown Warrior
77 Robbie Williams
78 Edward Jenner
79 David Lloyd George (1st Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor )
80 Charles Babbage
81 Geoffrey Chaucer
82 King Richard III
83 JK Rowling OBE
84 James Watt
85 Sir Richard Branson
86 Bono
87 John Lydon (Johnny Rotten)
88 Field Marshal Montgomery
89 Donald Campbell
90 King Henry II
91 James Clerk Maxwell
92 JRR Tolkien
93 Sir Walter Raleigh
94 King Edward I
95 Sir Barnes Neville Wallis
96 Richard Burton
97 Tony Benn
98 David Livingstone
99 Professor Tim Berners-Lee
100 Marie Stopes


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