Wednesday, 23 July 2008

News from Virgin Media

Churchill named ‘Mother of all Brits’

Winston Churchill named ultimate Briton and The Beatles top British export in Virgin Media poll

Wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill has today been given the accolade of the ‘Mother of all Britons’ in a survey of over 2,000 people for Virgin Media Broadband. Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of the nation consider the World War II leader and Nobel Prize winner the ultimate Brit, beating The Queen (18 per cent) and William Shakespeare (10 per cent) who fall in second and third place respectively.

The Virgin Media study, which asked adults across the country to name the mother of all British figures and achievements, was conducted to mark a new advertising campaign for the UK’s largest residential broadband provider entitled ‘The Mother of all Broadband’.

Although Winston Churchill still has resonance in today’s Britain, a surprising number of living Brits fail to make an impression. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, footballer David Beckham and Beatle Sir Paul McCartney didn’t receive any nominations from the 2,367 respondents as the ‘Mother of all Britons’. In fact, the only living Britons to be recognised include the Iron Lady Baroness Thatcher (four per cent), tycoon Sir Alan Sugar (one per cent) and Professor Stephen Hawking (one per cent).

Whilst Sir Paul McCartney is ignored in the poll of ultimate Brits, The Beatles have been named the ‘Mother of all British exports’. One in five (21 per cent) believe the Fab Four are Britain’s greatest ever export, ahead of Scotch whisky (18 per cent), Premier League football (11 per cent) and James Bond (eight per cent).

When it comes to modern day technology, almost 40 per cent of Brits believe that broadband internet has had the biggest impact on our lives, awarding it the ‘Mother of all technological inventions’ and beating off close competition from the mobile phone (25 per cent) and satellite navigation (eight per cent).

As far as British ingenuity is concerned, the research revealed over one in five (21 per cent) believe George Stephenson, inventor of the first steam locomotive engine, is the ‘Mother of all British inventors’, one per cent ahead of Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone. Responsible for some of the most influential inventions of all time, pioneer of the television John Logie Baird (11 per cent), creator of the programmable computer Charles Babbage (nine per cent) and inventor of the electric motor Michael Faraday (nine per cent) make up the top five. English scientist Tim Berners-Lee falls just outside the top five with eight per cent of votes for the most recent invention in the top ten, the worldwide web.

Gareth Jones (formerly known as ‘Gaz Top’), TV presenter of How 2 and Tomorrow’s World commented, “This survey by Virgin Broadband is very reassuring, we Brits clearly have a pretty healthy record as far as creativity and invention is concerned, whether it’s The Beatles, Shakespeare or the steam locomotive. We gave the world TV, the jet engine, the telephone and the World Wide Web, what more do you need....? Whatever it is, I’ll bet we could come up with it – and probably from a garage or a garden shed!”

James Kydd, managing director of brand and marketing at Virgin Media said, “Our research delves into just who and what has made Britain the great nation it is and it’s fantastic to see what Britons consider to be the ‘Mother of all inventions’. At Virgin Media we believe that the nation has the right to have the very best of British – be it world leaders or technology. That’s why Virgin Media uses future-proof fibre optic technology to deliver superfast broadband – what we term the mother of all broadband.”


Notes to Editors


Mother of all Britons

Name Percentage
Sir Winston Churchill 23
The Queen 18
William Shakespeare 10
Isambard Kingdom Brunel 6
Isaac Newton 4
Charles Darwin 3
Alexander Fleming 2
Sir Alan Sugar 1
Professor Stephen Hawking 1
Charles Dickens 1
Top Ten only, additional data available

Mother of all British exports

Export Percentage
The Beatles 21
Scotch whisky 18
Premier League football 11
James Bond 8
Cricket 7
Harry Potter 6
Cheddar cheese 5
Marmite 3
Simon Cowell 1
Amy Winehouse 0

Mother of all modern technological inventions

Invention Percentage
Broadband internet 39
Mobile telephone 25
Satellite navigation 8
Portable laptops 4
Wi-Fi 3
MP3 players 2
PDAs / handheld computers 1
PVRs (personal video recorders) 1
High Definition television 1
Blu-ray disc 0

Mother of all British inventors

Name, Invention Percentage
George Stephenson, first steam locomotive engine 21
Alexander Graham Bell, telephone 20
John Logie Baird, television 11
Charles Babbage, programmable computer 9
Michael Faraday, electric motor 9
Tim Berners-Lee, internet 8
Sir Frank Whittle, jet engine 7
James Dyson, dual cyclone vacuum cleaner 1
Trevor Baylis, clockwork radio 0
Christopher Cockerell, hovercraft 0

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,367 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th and 17th July 2008. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Media contacts
Toby Steele, Frank PR, 020 7693 6999 or
Sophie Smallwood, Frank PR, 020 7693 6999 or

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