The history of Britain has seen the rise and fall of many great men. The glorious tales of various kings of British descent are quite popular even today, for their courage to conquer lands outside Britain which were considered forbidden and the vast amount of wealth they had amassed. Even several coins had inscriptions of these great men, such was their influence on the masses. Even contemporary history has seen the emergence of men like Alan Turing who helped his country a great deal during the war torn days by the virtue of his intelligence. However, today, in an era where monarchy is almost extinct, the kind of people who influence the British are a tad too different. These 20 names include people who aren’t just administrators but prominent names from the fields of science, sports and entertainment as well. The names will leave you quite surprised.
1. Boris Johnson
A prominent politician of the United Kingdom, Johnson has become a household name in the nation since 2008, the year he was elected as the Mayor of London. Recently he was even elected to the British Parliament after emerging victorious from a constituency named Uxbridge and South Ruislip. His successful political career implicitly defines his influence over the British masses. In the recent years, national television channels across Britain have spoken about Boris at length during the extensive mayor electoral campaigns. His charisma and unconventional yet interesting personality has earned Boris many admirers across the nation.
2. Sir Paul McCartney
Since the days he was associated with the renowned music band ‘Beatles’, Sir Paul McCartney had attained a demigod status in not just the United Kingdom but several other parts of the world as well. McCartney who has been a heartthrob, especially amongst music lovers, since the 1960’s, is one of the most celebrated musicians in the world today. Millions of copies of his works have been sold across UK and other parts of the world. Many contemporary musicians have mentioned in interviews that McCartney is the reason why they turned towards music and are pursuing it as a career. He has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and was also announced as a ‘Member of the Order Of The British Empire’. McCartney has also won the ‘Grammy’, one of the highest honors in the field of music, a record 21 times.
3. David Beckham
Apart from proving his mettle as a great soccer player Beckham has been the poster boy of the sport. Known for being a great style icon, Beckham’s hairstyles and sense of fashion has been followed by millions across the world, leave alone Britain. David has been honored on more than 20 occasions for his incredible contributions towards soccer. These awards include ‘Britain Sportsman of The Year’ and being a part of the 2008 ‘English Football Hall of Fame’. In a recent edition of the renowned magazine ‘People’ David Beckham was recognized as ‘The Sexiest Man Alive’. Beckham also visited the military troops of his country stationed at Afghanistan in a bid to provide them moral support.
4. Sir Jeremy Heywood
The suffixes that follow Sir Jeremy’s name are KCB and CVO which are two of the highest honors provided to a British citizen. Heywood had also been sworn in for the esteemed designation of ‘Principal Private Secretary To The Prime Minister’ on two occasions. He is also quite famous for being the only ‘Downing Street Permanent Secretary’, a feat which has now found a place in contemporary British history. In 2012, Jeremy was honored with a ‘Knight Commander Of The Order Of The Bath’. On his shoulders, lies a great responsibility towards the citizens of the United Kingdom.
5. Tim Berners Lee
There are not many people across the globe today who aren’t familiar with the terms ‘World Wide Web’. Sir Tim is a computer scientist who is the director of this consortium, which is also known as ‘W3C’. He was recognized by Queen Elizabeth for his astounding achievements in the field of technology and was felicitated with a knighthood in 2004. During the 2012 Olympics held in London, Lee became a recipient of a felicitation for being the ‘Inventor of World Wide Web’. He was honored during the opening ceremony of this grand event. He also received the British ‘Order of Merit’ honor in 2013 for his accomplishments in the field of technology.
6. Lakshmi Mittal
The success story of Industrialist Lakshmi Mittal is quite a subject of fascination for people across the world. It is believed that Mittal is the richest man of Asian descent who resides in Europe. In 2011, the renowned magazine ‘Forbes’ had announced Lakshmi Mittal as the sixth richest man on the planet. The same magazine had compiled a list of 72 individuals who were recognized to be the ‘World’s Most Powerful People’. In this list Lakshmi Mittal secured the 57th spot.
7. Stephen Hawking
Those of you who have watched the recently released blockbuster named ‘The Theory of Everything’ will completely understand how important this man is to Britain and the rest of the world as well. Hawking belongs to a league of great names from the world of science. Apart from his accomplishments as a scientist, Stephen is also known for his opinions on threats plaguing humanity, especially nuclear warfare. Several science societies across the world have honored Hawking and he was also invited by the US space research giant ‘NASA’ to speak at their 50th anniversary.
8. Christopher Nolan
Although he is of half British descent, Nolan is quite a popular figure in the United Kingdom. Born in London, this maverick filmmaker redefined cinema through his path-breaking works and it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he is ardently worshipped by millions of movie buffs across the nation. A source of the ‘British Film Institute’ had named him ‘a persuasively inventive storyteller’. Several magazines have included his name in their compilations of ‘The greatest filmmakers of all time’. Nolan’s success has helped him join the bandwagon of all-time greats which include names such as Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino and Wong Kar Wai.
9. Sir Richard Branson
While speaking of tycoons who have achieved path-breaking success in the field of business, Sir Richard Branson is one of the few names which strike our mind. Branson is the owner of one of the most popular passenger carrier airlines, the world famous ‘Virgin Atlantic’. The overwhelming profits earned through this aviation venture, has catapulted Branson to the status of being one of the wealthiest people on the planet. In 2000, Branson was called over by the royal family of Britain and was honored with knighthood for his ‘services to entrepreneurship’. The magazine ‘Time’ had mentioned him in their list of ‘Top 100 Most Influential People In The World’. Branson has also appeared in magazines such as ‘Forbes’ and ‘GQ’ on several occasions.
10. Prince Harry
Being a member of the British royal family itself speaks volumes about how influential Prince Harry is in the whole of United Kingdom. He is also referred to as ‘His Royal Highness Prince Henry of Wales’. Harry’s lifestyle has been tremendously followed by the youth and the paparazzi with equal enthusiasm.
11. David Cameron
It is not justified if we speak about the influential people of a particular nation and ignore its Prime Minister. Noted tabloids like ‘GQ’ have frequently listed David Cameron in their lists of ‘100 Most Influential Men In Britain’. The Prime Minister has also made waves around the world for his ties with foreign nations and introduction of unconventional economic policies in the interest of his nation. Do we need to say more about this man?
12. Sir Alex Ferguson
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that this name has been inscribed in the hearts of die-hard soccer enthusiasts. Although the globally renowned ‘Manchester United’ soccer club has produced several fine players over the years, Sir Alex Ferguson has been the face of this franchise which boasts of being one of the finest soccer sides at the international level today. He guided the club for almost two decades to several thumping victories, some of which went on to rewrite history. His exit from the football club saddened scores of soccer fans across the world, not just the United Kingdom.
13. Andrew Cooper
Touted as the backbone of the ‘Conservative Party’, Cooper became a well-known figure for being the ‘Director of Strategy’ at the ‘Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street’. Andrew plays a vital role in the governance and advises Prime Minister David Cameron on various matters of political importance. Many people also look up to Cooper as a figure who can sort internal conflicts within the ‘Conservative Party’ and streamline the functioning of this big political outfit.
14. Jeremy Hunt
Hunt is an influential political figure of the United Kingdom, who currently serves as the UK’s ‘Secretary of State for Health’. He has also previously served as the ‘Secretary of State For Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport’. His decisions are really crucial for the ‘Conservative Party’ and in a way also has the ability to make or break the image of the government in the eyes of the public.
15. Guy Ritchie
An institution of cinema himself, Ritchie has been a source of inspiration for many across the world, all thanks to the impeccable movies directed by him. He is well known for being the maker of the two flicks of the famous ‘Sherlock Holmes’ franchise, each of which have managed to grow millions of dollars worldwide. He has also written and directed several other films, notably ‘RocknRolla’, ‘Mean Machine’ and ‘Swept Away’ which have earned abundant acclaim and have also revolutionized cinema in a way.
16. Matthew Freud
Matthew is the founder of the renowned public relations and communications giant ‘Freud Communications’, which the latter founded in 1985. He is also the great grandson of the legendary Sigmund Freud who is not just the pride of Britain but also a scientist well recognized in other parts of the world as well. His firm is currently the 8th biggest public relations initiatives in the whole of Britain, which alone tells a lot about how influential its owner is.
17. Salman Rushdie
Salman Rushdie is undoubtedly one of the gems of modern literature who has inspired millions of readers to view the world from a totally different perspective altogether. He became a global phenomenon through his books like ‘Midnight’s Children’ and ‘Grimus’. ‘The Times’ magazine had mentioned Salman in its compilation of 50 greatest writers produced by Britain over 60 years. Rushdie’s controversial book ‘Satanic Verses’ was a topic of debate across the world even a decade after it was released.
18. Richard Cooper
A discussion about Great Britain today is incomplete without a brief description of the media giant ‘British Broadcast Corporation’, also popularly known as ‘BBC’. Cooper is one of the masterminds of this world famous channel who has been ensuring the smooth functioning of ‘BBC’ since several years. Dubbed as the ‘technology guru’, Cooper has been safeguarding the format in which news is being propagated adheres to the popular medium of information at the time, such as the transformation from merely television to even the internet.
19. Simon Cowell
The television reality show ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ enjoys a fan following of millions and so does its judge Simon Cowell. Many contestants have confessed during the show that their intention was to flatter Cowell, which shows the amount of admiration he has earned from the masses. Cowell scouts for musical talent and has introduced many to the world of entertainment. Simon has appeared in the ‘Time’ magazine’s lists of ‘100 Most Influential People In The World’ on two occasions, during 2004 and 2010. He also found a place in the magazine ‘New Statesman’ as one of the ’50 People Who Matter – 2010’.
Cowell’s presence in a public event aimed at charity, helped in raising funds worth $20 Million. The money thus earned through this event was distributed in support of the defense forces of Israel.
20. Russell Brand
Be it social gatherings or just anywhere he goes, this stand-up comedian makes heads turn due to his popular public image. Though he led a childhood filled with adversities, Brand fought against his challenging circumstances and emerged as a successful radio and television host in his later years. Brand turned into a poster boy of sorts after hosting the famous show ‘Big Brother’s Big Mouth’ in 2004, since which he has been making a lot of waves across the country. He has also worked in a dozen movies which includes the ‘Despicable Me’ blockbuster franchise. Brand has also been felicitated with several honors for his contribution towards the world of media and entertainment. These laurels were bestowed on him during ceremonies such as ‘British Comedy Awards’, ‘33rd Annual Television and Radio Awards’ and ‘GQ Men Of The Year Awards’.