Monday, 8 December 2008


I’m going out of turn with this list in the “7 things” tag. On the “normal” running order as per all the tags I’ve seen so far, the next up in this series should be “7 things I admire in the opposite sex”. However I’m struggling to write this, not I hasten to add because I don’t find many things to admire in the opposite sex, but because most ideas either seem shallow and unworthy, or pretentious and cringe-worthy.

So rather than grind to an abrupt halt this week I’m jumping forward to the “7 celebrities I admire the most”. Even here I’m going to change it to include famous people from the past and the present rather the modern concept of “celebrity”. So here’s my list, set out in order of date of birth.

Sir Isaac Newton (b. 1643)
Newton was a brilliant scientist and mathematician. In 1687 he published what is considered to be the most influential book in the history of science. His work covered a wide range of scientific matters - astronomy, gravity, mechanics, momentum, optics and calculus, which together set out a framework for the next 300 years of study.

Sir Winston Churchill (b 1874)
Although he made a great contribution throughout his political life, Churchill gets into this listing through his leadership during World War II. His oratory of defiance when Britain and its Empire stood alone against the Nazi tyranny inspired his people to carry on in their darkest hour. Who can fail to marvel at both his word craft and power of speech?

Sir Frank Whittle (b.1907)
Whittle was the inventor of the jet turbine that transformed aviation. Without his pioneering invention, which he stubbornly worked on for years with little official support, we would not live in the small world of today. Next week I’m flying off to Hong Kong, travelling nearly 8,000 miles non-stop in 12 ½ hours. Without the jet engine this journey would still be a slow, tedious and uncomfortable.

Benny Hill (b.1924)
In these politically correct times I know I’m going out on a limb here! From the late 1960’s to the late 1980’s Benny’s show brought tears of laughter to my eyes. From the start of the “Yackety Sax” theme tune I knew there would be an hour of clever plays on words, delicious double entendres, attractive young ladies and brilliantly constructed songs. Hill wanted us to laugh at lechery not condone it and the hapless men usually came to a sticky end. His shows were sold to 140 countries and attracted audiences of billions. Yet he died alone and disowned by the new alternative comedians with their socialist pretensions.

Margaret Thatcher (b.1925)
Well you either love her or hate her – I know there is no middle ground. Well I think she has made the greatest contribution to Britain in the last fifty years. She got a nation laid waste by Labour and the Unions in 1979 firmly back on its feet, although the medicine at times was painful. We need to see the likes of her again after another bad spell of Labour mismanagement!

Sir Richard Branson (b.1950)
A serial entrepreneur, a marketing guru, and a person with the common touch. I flew on one of the very first Virgin Atlantic flights from Heathrow to Newark, NJ. A breath of fresh air with so many innovative ideas compared to staid old British Airways. I’m looking forward to renewing my aquaintance with a Virgin flat bed next week and know that without the likes of Richard Branson the travel experience would be still stuck in the 1970’s. He may get some stick over Virgin Trains but in everything he does he tries to put the customer first.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee (b.1955)
Berners-Lee is a computer pioneer who invented the World Wide Web. It is difficult to imagine the world today without the internet. He took out no patents and receives no royalties. He has made it his mission to keep the internet free of outside interference and the technology available to all. A modern British hero.

So that’s my list. Not without contention for sure but all in their various fields are worthy of being “famous people I admire” for the reasons I set out above. I’m sure you have your own opinions of these people and look forward to hearing them.


Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

Great answers. I'm especially grateful to Sir Winston Churchill and Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

Trixie said...

I'm so with you on Richard Branson, I think he is a genius and would love to be as successful as him! Saying that, I have flown Virgin Blue in Oz, and didn't really like it..the crew dress like the wiggles and are just as animated.

Carol said...

Interesting selection and I agree with you on all of them except one...and I bet you can guess which one :-)

C x

Troy said...

Debs - yes we all have a debt of gratitude to Churchill but I'm guessing you are coming from the Jersey angle?

Trixie - even 10% as successful would be a great start wouldn't it?

Carol - I've narrowed it down to Margaret Thatcher and Benny Hill who are the most contentious two. But can't decide further.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Found you. We have a Frank Whittle Way here in Derby. New to this lark. Explain to me the tagging thing if you get time, please. Will put you on my list of blogs I read if you don't mind. is that the same thing.
Will be back

Ladybird World Mother said...

Benny Hill has had me weeping with laughter on many occasions. Love your famous people.
Brave to put Maggie on your list, but kind of agree with you.

Troy said...

Ken - welcome to my blog and thanks for leaving a comment on my Tractor Boy Troy blog (the first one!). Hope my e-mail regarding this tagging milarkey made sense.

LWM - yes Benny Hill used to be so popular until the media PC brigade deemed him sexist. I have great collection of Mrs. Thatcher memorabilia including hand signed books but no DNA sample so can't make a new one.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi - Troy all good choices! Some of the a bit contentious but why not? Good luck with the Hong Kong trip...I imagine you are looking forward to it! :)

Troy said...

Hadriana - so we are unanimous! The phrase "Great minds think alike" comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

The farmer loved Benny Hill. It was the humour and scantily clad lasses that I think he liked most.

Have to say, I do admire Churchill too. I went to Blenheim Palace a long time ago then onto Churchill's grave at a nearby church yard, I think known as St. Mary's. Very interesting.

CJ xx

Unknown said...

Oh I am so glad you're still ploughing through this meme, as I can see what I have to do next! I am going to tackle the 'opposite sex' one this week - wish me luck.

Some very interesting choices here, I was never a Benny Hill fan, but am of both Maggie and Sir Richard.

DJ Kirkby said...

For what its worth, I think this is an admirable list and put mine to shame. Mine feels so shallow in comparison.

Troy said...

CJ - the farmer has good taste, in humour and in ladies!

Sarah - I think "ploughing" sums it up well. I look forward (as always) to reading yours.

DJ - thanks for your comment. I did cheat really by changing mine from celebrities to famous people. Your list was a fine choice of modern celebrities.