Brits call for Beckham, Diana and Dench on new bank notes

David Beckham, Freddie Mercury, Dame Judi Dench, Sir David Attenborough and Princess Diana declared the people’s choices to one day feature on updated currency.

  • Two thirds (66%) of people unfamiliar with historical people currently featured on bank notes
  • Nearly a quarter of the nation (23%) chose Katie Price as the person they would least like to see on a new banknote
  • Women would most like to be locked in a bank vault with Helen Mirren and David Beckham
  • Men would most like to be locked in a vault with Sir David Attenborough and Cheryl Cole

To mark the start of brand new week-long live game-show, The Bank Job, starting Jan 2 and with a life changing amount of money up for grabs, Channel 4 gave the nation the opportunity to have their say on which iconic Brits from the worlds of sport, music, film, TV and society they would most like to one day see printed onto new banknotes.

The poll of over 2,000 people across the UK identified some of the UK’s most admired, respected and best loved heroes, heroines, role-models and high achievers as those most deserving of the honour. The top polling people in each category were:

  • Sport – David Beckham
  • Music – Freddie Mercury
  • Film – Dame Judi Dench
  • Television – Sir David Attenborough
  • Society – Princess Diana

However, it was a slightly different story with some of the choices when it came to the sexes. While women chose Dame Judi Dench as the film star they would most like to see on a banknote, men opted for star of the Italian Job and The Dark Knight, Michael Caine. And although David Beckham was women’s choice to be immortalised on money from a selection of sporting greats, hero of England squad management, Sir Bobby Robson, was felt most deserving by British men. And while Princess Diana was the favourite of women and the nation as a whole for the most deserving person from UK society, Stephen Hawking was the choice of the UK’s male population.

With so many recognisable and high achieving personalities identified by the British public as deserving of such an incredible honour, there is an interesting contrast with regards to the historical characters presently featured on our currency. When asked to identify what Elizabeth Fry, currently featured on £5 notes, was famous for from a simple choice of three possible answers, nearly two thirds (63%) of Brits did not know. Two thirds (66%) of the UK population were also unable to correctly identify John Houblon as a former Governor of the Bank of England, despite his presence on £50 notes. And two thirds (66%) of people were unaware that Charles Darwin could be found on £10 notes.

In a look at some of 2011’s characters less celebrated by the media, when asked which person Brits would least like to see pressed onto a new banknote, Katie Price ran away with the vote, with nearly a quarter (23%) of the British population against the idea. The Prime Minister David Cameron was voted fourth in a list of people Brits would least like to see on a banknote, four places higher than Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. While opinionated host TV host Piers Morgan and embattled footballer Ryan Giggs came a joint tenth in the popularity stakes.

With contestants on The Bank Job competing to escape the Channel 4 vault with as much money as possible, the nation were also give the opportunity to choose which British celebrity they would most like to be locked in a bank vault with. Helen Mirren was the female celebrity chosen by women, closely followed by Adele in second place and Davina McCall in third, with men placing Cheryl Cole at the top of the list, followed by Kelly Brooke.

When it came to the celebrity man that women would most like to be locked in a bank vault with, David Beckham emerged as favourite, closely followed by Sir David Attenborough and Michael McIntyre, while men opted for David Attenborough first, followed by Billy Connolly and Eddie Izzard in second and third respectively.

The top ten celebrities across all five categories in response to the question “Which person would you most like to see on a new banknote?’ are as follows:

Sport Personality (All UK adults)

  • David Beckham
  • Sir Bobby Robson
  • Sir Steve Redgrave
  • Sir Alex Ferguson
  • Chris Hoy
  • Nigel Mansell
  • Rebecca Adlington
  • Seb Coe
  • Andy Murray
  • Sir Matthew Pinsent

Musician (All UK adults)

  • Freddie Mercury
  • John Lennon
  • Paul McCartney
  • Elton John
  • Gary Barlow
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Chris Martin
  • Adele
  • Robbie Williams
  • Susan Boyle

TV Personality (All UK adults)

  • Sir David Attenborough
  • Eric Morecambe
  • Sir David Jason
  • Sir Bruce Forsyth
  • John Cleese
  • Ant & Dec
  • Stephen Fry
  • Michael McIntyre
  • Harry Hill
  • Sir Trevor McDonald

Film Personality (All UK adults)

  • Dame Judi Dench
  • Sean Connery
  • Michael Caine
  • Sir Ian McKellen
  • Helen Mirren
  • Helena Bonham-Carter
  • Kate Winslet
  • Keira Knightly
  • Daniel Radcliffe
  • Robert Pattinson

Society Personality (All UK adults)

  • Princess Diana
  • Stephen Hawking
  • Prince William
  • JK Rowling
  • Richard Branson
  • Kate Middleton
  • Pippa Middleton
  • Prince Harry
  • Ken Livingstone
  • Boris Johnson

Follow The Bank Job:

The Bank Job TX details:

  • Mon 2 to Thu 5 Jan at 10pm on Channel 4
  • Fri 6 Jan at 9pm on Channel 4
  • Sat 7 Jan at TBC on Channel 4a

Chris "MUG5" Maguire is a multimedia futurist that specializes in all things multimedia. From Record Production to Film Making Chris has worked with hi-end clients the world over. Chris is the Editor in Chief of both &

  • No freaking way. Imagine Boyle on a tenner.

    • Wanna see it? I made that Beckham one in 10 minutes, sure I could whip up a Boyle one.

      • Oh god, please dont! Actually, that would be pretty funny.