Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century

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Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century
Directed byJames Morgan
Presented byNick Robinson (live final)
Claudia Winkleman (live final)
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes8
Production
Executive producer(s)David Glover
Cate Hall
Francesca Maudslay
Producer(s)Emma Jay
Production location(s)Indigo at The O2 (live final)
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)72 Films
Release
Original networkBBC Two
Original release8 January 2019 (2019-01-08) –
present
External links
Website

Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century (also referred to as simply Icons) is a 2019 BBC television series, aired on BBC Two, which pits the greatest people of the 20th Century against each other in a competition.

Premise[edit]

Each episode contains 4 'Icons' in a particular field, with a presenter or "advocate" leading the audience through each of the four choices.[1] The audience then has one vote in which they can choose their favourite Icon, whom would go through to the final, or in the case of the final, be their winner.

Results[edit]

Heat One – Leaders[edit]

Broadcast – 8 January 2019
Advocate – Sir Trevor McDonald[2]

Icon Occupation Chosen For Status
Nelson Mandela Former President of South Africa Overcoming imprisonment and leading South Africa out of apartheid Winner
Margaret Thatcher Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Becoming the first Woman Prime Minister Runner-up
Winston Churchill Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Leading Britain to victory in World War II Runner-up
Franklin D. Roosevelt Former President of the United States Successfully leading The United States despite paraplegia from poliomyelitis Runner-up

Heat Two – Explorers[edit]

Broadcast – 9 January 2019
Advocate – Dermot O'Leary[3]

Icon Occupation Chosen For Status
Ernest Shackleton Exploration Leading a particularly challenging South Pole expedition Winner
Jane Goodall Primatologist Leading the way in primate exploration and eco-awareness Runner-up
Neil Armstrong Astronaut Being the first man on the moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission Runner-up
Gertrude Bell Writer and Traveller Being the first woman to map and travel across the Arabian Peninsula Runner-up

Heat Three – Scientists[edit]

Broadcast – 14 January 2019
Advocate – Chris Packham[4]

Icon Occupation Chosen For Status
Alan Turing Codebreaker Deciphering the Enigma machine and aiding an allied victory in World War II Winner
Marie Curie Radiologist Discovering Radium and becoming the first female recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics and Chemistry Runner-up
Albert Einstein Physicist Penning the theory of relativity and the equation of mass–energy equivalence Runner-up
Tu Youyou Chemist Inventing the malaria vaccine in a time of Chinese social turmoil Runner-up

Heat Four – Entertainers[edit]

Broadcast – 15 January 2019
Advocate – Kathleen Turner[5]

Icon Occupation Chosen For Status
David Bowie Musician and actor Breaking boundaries as a cutting edge, pansexual musician Winner
Charlie Chaplin Actor Becoming the world's first global Movie Star Runner-up
Marilyn Monroe Actress and model Defining her era through her modelling and acting work Runner-up
Billie Holiday Singer-songwriter Successfully changing the world of jazz despite segregation Runner-up

Heat Five – Activists[edit]

Broadcast – 21 January 2019
Advocate – Sanjeev Bhaskar[6]

Icon Occupation Chosen For Status
Martin Luther King Jr. civil rights campaigner Successfully ending racial segregation in the United States through nonviolence Winner
Helen Keller Author and activist Used her status as a successful author to fight for peace despite being deafblind Runner-up
Emmeline Pankhurst Women's rights campaigner Successfully led the suffragette movement and got women the right to vote Runner-up
Mahatma Gandhi Leader of the Indian independence movement Successfully led the Indian independence movement through nonviolence Runner-up

Heat Six – Sports Stars[edit]

Broadcast – 22 January 2019
Advocate – Clare Balding[7]

Icon Occupation Chosen For Status
Muhammad Ali Boxer His outstanding contribution to boxing and his anti-Vietnam war stance despite repercussions Winner
Tanni Grey-Thompson Paralympian and Baroness Her outstanding contribution to Paralympic sports and disability rights campaigning in the House of Lords Runner-up
Billie Jean King Tennis player Her outstanding contribution to tennis and her campaigning for women's rights within the sport Runner-up
Pelé Footballer His outstanding contribution to football Runner-up

Heat Seven – Artists and Writers[edit]

Broadcast – 29 January 2019
Advocate – Lily Cole[8]

Icon Occupation Chosen For Status
Pablo Picasso Artist His outstanding contribution to painting and standing up in the face of war – in the case of Guernica. Winner
Alfred Hitchcock Filmmaker Changing the world of directing and inventing the horror genre Runner-up
Virginia Woolf Writer Modernising writing despite mental illness Runner-up
Andy Warhol Artist His outstanding contribution to the Pop art movement Runner-up

Episode Eight – The Final[edit]

This episode was broadcast live from Indigo at The O2, hosted by Nick Robinson and Claudia Winkleman on 5 February 2019.

Icon Category Occupation Chosen For Status
Nelson Mandela Leaders Former President of South Africa Overcoming imprisonment and leading South Africa out of apartheid Finalist
Ernest Shackleton Explorers Explorer Leading a particularly challenging South Pole expedition Finalist
Alan Turing Scientists Codebreaker Deciphering the Enigma machine and aiding an allied victory in World War II Winner
David Bowie Entertainers Musician and actor Breaking boundaries as a cutting edge, pansexual musician Finalist
Martin Luther King Jr. Activists Civil Rights Campaigner Successfully ending segregation in the United States through nonviolence Finalist
Muhammad Ali Sports Stars Boxer His outstanding contribution to boxing and his anti-Vietnam war stance despite repercussions Finalist
Pablo Picasso Artists and Writers Artist His outstanding contribution to painting and standing up in the face of war – in the case of Guernica. Finalist

Controversy[edit]

The Icons series attracted controversy after some people were left unhappy with those selected to represent each category. The Entertainers category sparked particular debate through the omission of Elvis Presley and The Beatles,[9] while Diana, Princess of Wales and John F. Kennedy also received support.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBC Two – Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century – Meet the Advocates". BBC. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  2. ^ "BBC Two – Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century – Sir Trevor McDonald". BBC. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  3. ^ "BBC Two – Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century – Dermot O'Leary". BBC. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  4. ^ "BBC Two – Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century – Chris Packham". BBC. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  5. ^ "BBC Two – Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century – Kathleen Turner". BBC. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  6. ^ "BBC Two – Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century – Sanjeev Bhaskar". BBC. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  7. ^ "BBC Two – Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century – Clare Balding". BBC. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  8. ^ "BBC Two – Icons: The Greatest Person of the 20th Century – Lily Cole". BBC. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  9. ^ Harp, Justin (15 January 2019). "BBC's Icons sparks huge debate by leaving out some legends". Digital Spy. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  10. ^ Sherwin, Adam (28 December 2018). "BBC Icons: No Michael Jackson, Princess Diana, Elvis or Beatles in top 20th Century figure TV vote". inews.co.uk. Retrieved 27 January 2019.

External links[edit]